Antifas: Attention, un extrémisme peut en cacher un autre ! (It is time to confront the violent extremism on the left by treating black-clad Antifa protesters as a gang, says Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin)

1 octobre, 2020

Antifa face off against white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA

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Les fascistes de demain s’appelleront eux-mêmes antifascistes. Winston Churchill (?)
A riot is the language of the unheard. ​I hope we can avoid riots because riots are self-defeating and socially destructive. Martin Luther King
On se demande souvent quelle idéologie va remplacer le socialisme. Mais elle est déjà là, sous nos yeux : c’est l’antiracisme (…) Comme toutes les idéologies, celle de l’antiracisme se propose non de servir ceux qu’elle prétend délivrer, mais d’asservir ceux qu’elle vise à enrôler (…) Agissant par la terreur et non par la raison, cet antiracisme fabrique plus de racistes qu’il n’en guérit […] L’antiracisme idéologique, qu’il faut soigneusement distinguer de l’antiracisme effectif et sincère, attise les divisions entre les humains au nom de leur fraternité proclamée.  Jean-François Revel (1999)
Ce qui s’appelle tour à tour Antifa et Black Blocks est une unique nébuleuse d’anarchistes ; d’usage, des gosses de riches en révolte pubertaire. Gauchistes à 20 ans, ils combattent fictivement un fascisme onirique – et à 40 ans, dirigent les boîtes de com’ ou médias du système. Ces casseurs sont connus. A Paris et autour (92, 93, 94) opère la DRPP, Direction du renseignement de la préfecture de police, très affutée sur son territoire. L’auteur est formel : la DRPP connaît un par un les deux ou trois cents pires Black blocks et peut les cueillir au nid avant toute émeute (dans les beaux quartiers ou des squats…) puis les isoler quelques heures ; les codes en vigueur le permettent. En prime, ces milieux anarchistes grouillent d’indicateurs. En Ile-de-France, la PP connaît ainsi les préparatifs d’une émeute. Enfin, l’Europe du renseignement existe : quand trente émeutiers allemands, belges ou italiens, vont à Paris se joindre à la « fête », un signalement est fourni. Ces alertes donnent des itinéraires, l’immatriculation des véhicules, etc. (les « indics », toujours…). Là, un barrage filtrant règle le problème. Ainsi, L’Intérieur peut, sinon neutraliser une émeute – du moins, en limiter à 90% les dégâts. Exemple : avant l’élection présidentielle, les Black blocks veulent attaquer une réunion du Front national au Zénith le 17 avril 2017. Comme d’usage prévenue, la police agit et l’affaire avorte. Cela, elle le peut toujours – même en mars 2019. (…) Ce qui est advenu samedi 16 mars sur les Champs-Elysées n’a rien à voir avec la population française, et fort marginalement, avec les Gilets jaunes eux-mêmes. Bien plutôt, la Mairie de Paris et les gouvernements Hollande-Macron doivent s’en prendre à eux-mêmes. Depuis dix ans, ils considèrent les Antifa comme de preux hérauts de la démocratie – certes un tantinet excités mais n’est-ce pas, il faut que jeunesse se passe. Ici règne la connivence : ces anarchistes sont leurs fils ou les copains de ceux-ci. Certes moins gravement, c’est le cas de figure Maison-Blanche – Moudjahidine afghans. Utiles pour combattre l’Union soviétique en Afghanistan – mais l’URSS disparue, ils ne rentrent pas docilement à la niche – ils suscitent Oussama ben Laden. Ici pareil, les Antifa chouchous-Bobos sont en même temps des Black Block. Là, catastrophe ! On ne sait que dire, on se borne à gémir sur la violence qui doit cesser et à édicter des lois futiles. Car bien sûr, chacun sait qu’au rayon répression ferme, le chien Hollande-Macron n’a pas de crocs. Et comment se montrer féroce envers ses propres enfants ? Il y a des exemples récents de cela ; des noms, des faits. Si un Antifa est par hasard arrêté, il est peu après relâché en douce. (…) L’impéritie de ce gouvernement, son ignorance des élémentaires normes du maintien de l’ordre éclatent au grand jour. Et l’isolement de M. Macron, tout autant. M. Castaner d’abord. Dans le petit milieu politiciens-médias, là où se recrutent confidents, amants et associés, on sait que le ministre de l’Intérieur est un farceur, occupant ce poste car M. Macron n’avait nul candidat fiable à y mettre. Alors que la France vit sa pire crise de violence sociale en un siècle, M. Castaner fait la noce en boîte de nuit, où – je cite la presse people, il « embrasse une inconnue sur la bouche « . Ebahis, toutes les racailles, narcos et Antifa soupirent d’aise. On connaît le proverbe « Quand le chat n’est pas là, les souris dansent ». On a vu le bal samedi 16 mars sur les Champs-Elysées. M. Macron, lui, skie. A mesure où la situation s’aggrave ; à mesure où, certains jours, la France frôle la guerre civile ; M. Macron renforce son contrôle – chaque jour plus tatillon – sur les médias, notamment l’information des radios-télévisions, tenues à la laisse courte. Le président croit ainsi visiblement que l’actuel chaos est affaire de communication. Or bien sûr, c’est tout sauf ça. Une telle erreur de diagnostic n’augure rien de bon pour la suite de son quinquennat. Xavier Raufer
Vous savez, le respect de la loi n’est pas une catégorie pertinente pour moi, ce qui compte c’est la justice et la pureté, ce n’est pas la loi. (…) La personne la plus condamnée de France, c’est le préfet de police de Paris, qui a 135 condamnations au tribunal administratif pour des manœuvres dilatoires sur la question de la demande d’asile, donc je ne crois pas que les gouvernants obéissent beaucoup à la loi. Je ne vois pas pourquoi nous on devrait le faire. (…)  C’est l’analyse sociologique. C’est-à-dire que vous pouvez établir dans le monde social qu’il y a un certain nombre de mécanismes qui produisent de la persécution ou la mise à mort prématurée d’un certain nombre de populations. Si jamais vous produisez une action qui lève ces systèmes de persécution, qui soulagent les corps de la souffrance, vous produisez une action qui est juste et qui est pure. Et si à l’inverse vous prenez des mesures qui renforcent l’exposition des corps à la persécution, alors vous êtes impur et vous êtes injuste. (…) C’est objectif, tout le monde le sait. Tout le monde sait très bien ce que c’est qu’un corps qui souffre, tout le monde sait très bien qu’il y a des clochards dans la rue. Quand Macron dit qu’il n’y a pas de pénibilité du travail, il le sait qu’il y a de la pénibilité. (…) Quand il dit qu’il n’y a pas de violences policières et qu’on voit les vidéos du Burger King pendant les gilets jaunes (…). Il voit très bien qu’en niant ces réalités, il active des systèmes de pouvoir de dénégation qui permettent de perpétuer des systèmes de persécution. (…) Moi je pense que le but de la gauche, c’est de produire des fractures, des gens intolérables et des débats intolérables dans le monde social. Il faut savoir qu’il y a des paradigmes irréconciliables. Moi, je suis contre le paradigme du débat, contre le paradigme de la discussion. Je pense que nous perdons notre temps lorsque nous allons sur des chaînes d’info débattre avec des gens qui sont de toute façon pas convaincables. En fait, nous ratifions la possibilité qu’il fasse partie de l’espace du débat. Je pense que la politique est de l’ordre de l’antagonisme et de la lutte et j’assume totalement le fait qu’il faille reproduire un certain nombre de censures dans l’espace public, pour rétablir un espace où les opinions justes prennent le pouvoir sur les opinions injustes. (…) Plus que la censure – parce que je ne suis pas favorable à l’appareil d’Etat -, je suis favorable à une forme de mépris que la gauche doit avoir pour les opinions de droite. Quand vous avez sur une chaîne d’info en continu des débats d’extrême droite ou semi racistes, tout le monde sait que c’est fait pour ça, et tout le monde va se mettre à réagir ça. (…) On se met à être contaminé dans nos espaces de gauche par ces prises de parole complètement délirantes plutôt que les laisser tranquilles dans leur coin à faire le silence, les renvoyer à leur insignifiance. Geoffroy de Lagasnerie
Beaucoup de gens ici font profil bas. Je connais au moins 25 personnes dans la rue qui sont des partisans de Trump, mais qui sortent pas leurs pancartes. C’est une bataille constante et lorsque vous avez des pancartes, il y a un facteur d’intimidation. Ma femme et ma fille de 3 ans sont sorties et des gars sont passés en voiture et ont baissé leur vitre et leur ont crié des obscénités. C’est dégoûtant mais c’est juste le genre de trucs merdiques qui se passent. Ma fille a été isolée des enfants des voisins. L’été dernier, ils jouaient tous ensemble. Cet été, ils ne vont pas jouer avec elle. C’est méchant. Je ne peux pas l’expliquer mais c’est le comportement que nous constatons. Tom Moran (Scranton, Pennsylvania)
Dans un monde turbulent sous la menace de prédateurs comme le président chinois Xi Jinping, sur qui comptez-vous pour défendre l’Amérique ? Un pitbull agressif prêt à faire n’importe quoi pour gagner, ou un faiblard souriant qui lance des insultes de cour de récréation ? Ce point de vue est probablement derrière le fait que 66% des téléspectateurs hispanophones de Telemundo ont jugé Trump vainqueur du débat, le résultat inverse de sondages similaires sur CNN et CBS News. Après tout, si vous avez vécu sous une dictature socialiste ou la tyrannie de gangs tueurs, vous appréciez un leader costaud pour vous protéger. Les Américains ont voté pour Trump en 2016 précisément parce que c’est un pitbull, un barbare, un franc-tireur qu’ils ont engagé pour combattre la gauche corrompue, drainer le marécage, ramener leurs emplois de Chine et défendre le drapeau, la famille et le bon sens. (…) Ils n’ont que faire de sa « présidentialité » tant qu’il se bat pour eux. Miranda Devine
We’re a drinking club with a patriot problem. As Proud Boys, I think our main objective is to defend the West. Enrique Tarrio
I am not taking this as a direct endorsement from the President. He did an excellent job and was asked a VERY pointed question. The question was in reference to WHITE SUPREMACY…which we are not. Enrique Tarrio
Gotta say: the Proud Boys aren’t white supremacists. Enrique Tarrio, their overall leader, is a Black Cuban dude. The Proud Boys explicitly say they’re not racist. They are an openly right-leaning group and they’ll openly fight you — they don’t deny any of this — but saying they’re white supremacist: If you’re talking about a group of people more than 10% people of color and headed by an Afro-Latino guy, that doesn’t make sense. Wilfred Reilly (Kentucky State University)
Unbelievable. Every person in America knows these riots are being orchestrated by black lives matter and Antifa. Chris Wallace asks the President to condemn white supremacists but did not think to ask Joe Biden to condemn Antifa or BLM. Candice Owens
C’est une idée, pas une organisation. Joe Biden
Presque tout ce que je vois vient de l’aile gauche, pas de l’aile droite. (…) Proud Boys, restez en retrait et à l’écart de tout ça. Mais je vais vous dire (…) quelqu’un doit faire quelque chose contre les antifas et la gauche parce que ce n’est pas un problème de droite. Président Trump
I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, you’ll have to give me a definition, because I really don’t know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work. (…) I’ve always denounced any form of that (…) Any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — and Joe Biden has to say something about Antifa. It’s not a philosophy. These are people that hit people over the head with baseball bats. He’s got to come out and he’s got to be strong, and he’s got to condemn Antifa. And it’s very important that he does that. Président Trump
We look at Antifa as more of an ideology or a movement than an organization. To be clear, we do have quite a number of properly predicated domestic terrorism investigations into violent anarchist extremists, any number of whom self-identify with the Antifa movement. And that’s part of this broader group of domestic violent extremists that I’m talking about, but it’s just one part of it. We also have the racially motivated violence extremists, the militia types, and others. (…) Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a group or an organization, it’s a movement or an ideology, maybe one way of thinking of it, and we have quite a number and I’ve said this consistently since my first time appearing before this committee, we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists. Some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa (…) we have seen individuals, I think I’ve mentioned this in response to one of the earlier questions, identified with the Antifa movement, coalescing regionally into what you might describe as small groups, or nodes. And we are actively investigating the potential violence from those regional nodes, if you will. (…) I want to be clear that by describing it as an ideology or movement, I by no means mean to minimize the seriousness of the violence and criminality that is going on across the country. Some of which is attributable to that people inspired by, or who self-identify with that ideology and movement. We’re focused on that violence on that criminality. And some of it is extremely serious. Christopher Wray (FBI Director)
The FBI tried to characterize the potential threat from individuals within that group. The bureau doesn’t designate groups but does investigate violent conspiracies. We do not intend and did not intend to designate the group as extremist. I can see where Clark County representatives came to that conclusion. That was not our intention. That’s not what we do. We will not open a case if someone belongs to antifa or even the Proud Boys. There has to be a credible allegation or a threat of violence before someone opens a case. Renn Cannon (Oregon FBI)
As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America. And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.  (…) Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. President Trump (Aug. 14, 2017)
Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And, and, and, and if you reported it accurately, you would say. (…) Excuse me, ([the neonazis] didn’t put themselves down as neo — and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name. … It’s fine, you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too. (…) There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: There are two sides to a story. President Trump (Aug. 15, 2017)
The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need.  President Trump (Aug. 5, 2019)
Only three things happened, for me, tonight: Number one, Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. Number two, the president of the United States refused to condemn white supremacy. Number three, the commander-in-chief refused to condemn white supremacy on the global stage, in front of my children, in front of everybody’s families. And he was given the opportunity multiple times to condemn white supremacy, and he gave a wink and a nod to a racist, Nazi, murderous organization that is now celebrating online, that is now saying “We have a go-ahead.” Look at what they’re saying, look at what the Proud Boys are doing right now online, because the president of the United States refused to condemn white supremacy. Van Jones (CNN)
We are not sure if the socialist, communist, democratic or even anarchist utopia is possible. Rather, some insurrectionary anarchists believe that the meaning of being an anarchist lies in the struggle itself and what that struggle reveals. The Ex-Worker
Black people get shot for doing ordinary law-abiding things. They don’t have the luxury of anarchy. Andrè Taylor
Establishment media still continues to overlook trending Anarchist black bloc tactics especially in DC, Portland & Seattle with satellite activity in Denver, Sacramento and San Diego. (…) But (…) They’re real – but localized without a major event to capitalize on. Insurrectionary Anarchist ideology & rhetoric however has permeated into the social justice movement with blazing efficiency. Jeremy Lee Quinn (Sep 17, 2020)
As for Anarchism, there are several schools of thought in Anarchism. Consider these 3 in the US. Mainstream Anarchism​ (left wing) intersects with music, film, art & comics in pop culture and holds intellectual reverence to its historic ideals aligning on the left with Antifascism. Insurrectionary Anarchism​​ (fringe left)​ maintains a strong presence in the Northwest and via ​ CrimethInc​ holds itself to instigating revolutionary absolutes ie. abolish all police & prisons. Employs black bloc tactics to disrupt the system. National Anarchism​​(fringe right)​ is a racist iteration of the political philosophy that was a minor presence over the last decade in Idaho & the San Francisco Bay Area where “entryism” was espoused, the technique of infiltrating another group to convert its followers. (…) The comfort narrative from the mainstream has been that a right wing iteration has been responsible for provoking chaos. We have found no evidence of this on the ground. The Proud Boys are referenced most often. They are anti – Anarchist (commonly labeled Antifa) but not white supremacists, nor is there evidence that they have worked under the cover of protests. Rather, it is the Anarchist – Antifascists consistently showing up at rightwing rallies which results in confrontations with the Proud Boys. Thus, our current situation appears to involve the first two categories. Media outlets since the end of May have gravitated towards a benign pop culture interpretation of anarchism. Meanwhile in the streets, the more extreme version has been developing with strident fanaticism, especially in the Pacific Northwest. (…) Anarchists at their core seek ultimately to abolish hierarchy and in these last months we have seen them welcome synonymous Antifascist minded groups and autonomous rioters under their umbrella. The most dogmatic Anarchism opposes reform of any kind. It’s the entire system the Anarchist wishes to bring down, whether it is Capitalist or Communist. (…) All of this is irrelevant to the Anarchist. “We don’t care who is fucking shit up, as long as they’re fucking shit up,” a self identifying Anarchist wrote online after following an inquiry about possible right wing infiltrators at BLM protests in Minnesota. Anarchy it would seem is the point, as is the anonymity of all. (…) That fanaticism takes a different form in Portland where kids ages 15-25 have been recruited by the Youth Liberation Front and maintained a pattern of harassment and aggression against both Law enforcement and Nationalist or Patriot identifying citizens. At their most coherent, they are acting in the name of Antifascism against those they believe to be white supremacists. The Northwest YLF brought “Direct Action” to a fever pitch in Portland at the Federal Courthouse. The government responded with an iron first. As in Minneapolis, activists were eager to expose the nation’s militaristic itch. (…) Shellshocked confusion from the DHS is understandable. To those who have not followed the rise of modern Anarchism in street art, films, graphic novels, activism & counter culture – including its online integration with protest culture internationally- these mostly young men dressed in cartoonish masks & ninja outfits must seem alien. It started in Germany during a recession in the late 80s. The black bloc was born, an Anarchic method of anonymizing oneself at protests so acts of dissent might be committed free from criminality. The practice migrated to Seattle at the WTO riots of 1999. By the late2000s black bloc tactics would be permeating sub culturally across the nation. The Anarchist movement is preached worldwide via ​“Crimethinc. The Ex-Worker”​, a collective formed by 1996. They published a modern Anarchist Cookbook “Recipe for Disasters” and other works by 2003. They joined twitter in 2008. At Occupy Wall Street in 2011, the masks came out. Alan Moore, the English Anarchist and comic book auteur (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) ​was involved with the publication of “Occupy Comics” romanticizing the Anarchist struggle in the wake of the New York action. Then came Ferguson. At the 2014 Ferguson riots, Anarchists took to the streets within the Community. CrimethInc will always have plausible deniability of direct involvement. They are the messengers of an idea they insist, which can never be defeated now that it is out in the ether. In their view they are mere scribes of the struggle which dates back to the 1800s. In agile doublespeak, CrimethInc dispels “outside agitator” myths at riots under the rationale that Anarchists are a part of any community movement fighting oppression rather than outsiders looking in. (…) New alliances were made May 26th 2020, the first day of the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis. What we still see on Twitter is only a snapshot. Direct messaging and private online Discord, Signal or Telegram app chats make it easy these days for like-minded collectives to share techniques, ideas and intentions privately. Purists to the portrayal of a 100% street revolution will argue techniques are applied organically with parallel thinking, rather than widespread coordination. Crimethinc would later post observations in a post mortem Minneapolis including a breakdown of the most effective “ballistics” and use of “peaceful protesters as shields.” CrimethInc often also extols tactics of looting and burning down businesses to divert police resources in ​“The Siege of the Third Precinct in Minneapolis, an Account & Analysis.”​ In this excerpt CrimethInc gives a rare direct address to rebels about using end to end encryption apps like Telegram. (…) It is significant to note that Anarchist methods could not be employed without a population of active participants reaching critical mass. On May 26th, that mass began to form. (…) May 27th Second day of Minneapolis protests: Anarchist website  ​CrimethInc ​begins tweeting blackbloc dress code tips for protesters. Several that day participate in riot actions breaking windows at the 3rd precinct dressed in all black. Several men carry umbrellas, a suggested accessory to shield rioters from overhead cameras. (…) In weeks to come more advanced tactics such as “ballistics” and using “peaceful protesters” as shields are shared via CrimethInc with its following. (…) A riot is the language of the unheard” ​begins to be passed around on social media omitting King’s conclusion in the clip ​“I hope we can avoid riots because riots are self-defeating and socially destructive. Jeremy Lee Quinn
The ability to continue to spread and to eventually bring more violence, including a violent insurgency, relies on the ability to hide in plain sight — to be confused with legitimate protests, and for media and the public to minimize the threat. Pamela Paresky (Rutgers university)
On the last Sunday in May, Jeremy Lee Quinn, a furloughed photographer in Santa Monica, Calif., was snapping photos of suburban moms kneeling at a Black Lives Matter protest when a friend alerted him to a more dramatic subject: looting at a shoe store about a mile away. He arrived to find young people pouring out of the store, shoeboxes under their arms. But there was something odd about the scene. A group of men, dressed entirely in black, milled around nearby, like supervisors. One wore a creepy rubber Halloween mask. The next day, Mr. Quinn took pictures of another store being looted. Again, he noticed something strange. A white man, clad in black, had broken the window with a crowbar, but walked away without taking a thing. Mr. Quinn began studying footage of looting from around the country and saw the same black outfits and, in some cases, the same masks. He decided to go to a protest dressed like that himself, to figure out what was really going on. He expected to find white supremacists who wanted to help re-elect President Trump by stoking fear of Black (sic) people. What he discovered instead were true believers in “insurrectionary anarchism.” (…) Mr. Quinn (…) has spent the past four months marching with “black bloc” anarchists in half a dozen cities across the country, chronicling the experience on his website, Public Report. He says he respects the idealistic goal of a hierarchy-free society that anarchists embrace, but grew increasingly uncomfortable with the tactics used by some anarchists, which he feared would set off a backlash that could help get President Trump re-elected. In Portland, Ore., he marched with people who shot fireworks at the federal court building. In Washington, he marched with protesters who harassed diners. (…) While talking heads on television routinely described it as a spontaneous eruption of anger at racial injustice, it was strategically planned, facilitated and advertised on social media by anarchists who believed that their actions advanced the cause of racial justice. In some cities, they were a fringe element, quickly expelled by peaceful organizers. But in Washington, Portland and Seattle they have attracted a “cultlike energy,” Mr. Quinn told me. Don’t take just Mr. Quinn’s word for it. Take the word of the anarchists themselves, who lay out the strategy in Crimethinc, an anarchist publication: Black-clad figures break windows, set fires, vandalize police cars, then melt back into the crowd of peaceful protesters. When the police respond by brutalizing innocent demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets and rough arrests, the public’s disdain for law enforcement grows. It’s Asymmetric Warfare 101. An anarchist podcast called “The Ex-Worker” explains that while some anarchists believe in pacifist civil disobedience inspired by Mohandas Gandhi, others advocate using crimes like arson and shoplifting to wear down the capitalist system. (…) If that is not enough to convince you that there’s a method to the madness, check out the new report by Rutgers researchers that documents the “systematic, online mobilization of violence that was planned, coordinated (in real time) and celebrated by explicitly violent anarcho-socialist networks that rode on the coattails of peaceful protest,” according to its co-author Pamela Paresky. She said some anarchist social media accounts had grown 300-fold since May, to hundreds of thousands of followers. (…) the scale of destruction caught the media’s attention in a way that peaceful protests hadn’t. How many articles would I have written about a peaceful march? How many months would Mr. Quinn have spent investigating suburban moms kneeling? That’s on us. While I feared that the looting and arson would derail the urgent demands for racial justice and bring condemnation, I was wrong, at least in the short term. Support for Black Lives Matter soared. Corporations opened their wallets. (…) But as the protests continue, support has flagged. The percentage of people who say they support the Black Lives Matter movement has dropped from 67 percent in June to 55 percent, according to a recent Pew poll. “Insurrectionary anarchy” brings diminishing returns, especially as anarchists complicate life for those working within the system to halt police violence. (…)That’s the thing about “insurrectionary anarchists.” They make fickle allies. If they help you get into power, they will try to oust you the following day, since power is what they are against. Many of them don’t even vote. They are experts at unraveling an old order but considerably less skilled at building a new one. That’s why, even after more than 100 days of protest in Portland, activists do not agree on a set of common policy goals. Even some anarchists admit as much. “We are not sure if the socialist, communist, democratic or even anarchist utopia is possible,” a voice on “The Ex-Worker” podcast intones. “Rather, some insurrectionary anarchists believe that the meaning of being an anarchist lies in the struggle itself and what that struggle reveals.” In other words, it’s not really about George Floyd or Black lives, but insurrection for insurrection’s sake. Farah Stockman
Pendant toutes les années du mitterrandisme, nous n’avons jamais été face à une menace fasciste, donc tout antifascisme n’était que du théâtre. Nous avons été face à un parti, le Front National, qui était un parti d’extrême droite, un parti populiste aussi, à sa façon, mais nous n’avons jamais été dans une situation de menace fasciste, et même pas face à un parti fasciste.D’abord le procès en fascisme à l’égard de Nicolas Sarkozy est à la fois absurde et scandaleux. Je suis profondément attaché à l’identité nationale et je crois même ressentir et savoir ce qu’elle est, en tout cas pour moi. L’identité nationale, c’est notre bien commun, c’est une langue, c’est une histoire, c’est une mémoire, ce qui n’est pas exactement la même chose, c’est une culture, c’est-à-dire une littérature, des arts, une, la philo, les philosophies. Et puis c’est une organisation politique avec ses principes et ses lois. Quand on vit en France, j’ajouterai : l’identité nationale, c’est aussi un art de vivre, peut-être, que cette identité nationale. Je crois profondément que les nations existent, existent encore, et en France, ce qui est frappant, c’est que nous sommes à la fois attachés à la multiplicité des expressions qui font notre nation, et à la singularité de notre propre nation. Et donc ce que je me dis, c’est que s’il y a aujourd’hui une crise de l’identité, crise de l’identité à travers notamment des institutions qui l’exprimaient, la représentaient, c’est peut-être parce qu’il y a une crise de la tradition, une crise de la transmission. Il faut que nous rappelions les éléments essentiels de notre identité nationale parce que si nous doutons de notre identité nationale, nous aurons évidemment beaucoup plus de mal à intégrer. Lionel Jospin (France Culture, 29.09.07)
Car la consigne (« Qu’ils s’en aillent tous ») ne visera pas seulement ce président, roi des accointances, et ses ministres, ce conseil d’administration gouvernemental de la clique du Fouquet’s ! Elle concernera toute l’oligarchie bénéficiaire du gâchis actuel. « Qu’ils s’en aillent tous ! » : les patrons hors de prix, les sorciers du fric qui transforment tout ce qui est humain en marchandise, les émigrés fiscaux, les financiers dont les exigences cancérisent les entreprises. Qu’ils s’en aillent aussi, les griots du prétendu « déclin de la France » avec leurs salles refrains qui injectent le poison de la résignation. Et pendant que j’y suis, « Qu’ils s’en aillent tous » aussi ces antihéros du sport, gorgés d’argent, planqués du fisc, blindés d’ingratitude. Du balai ! Ouste ! De l’air ! Jean-Luc Mélenchon (extrait du livre)
Quand Mélenchon titre son livre Chassez-les tous (sic), c’est d’une violence extraordinaire. Mais lui est invité partout.  Jean-Marie Aphatie
C’est une chose complètement acceptée. Certains antifa ne partagent pas ces codes-là, mais dans le noyau dur du mouvement, ils s’habillent de la même façon et avec les mêmes marques que le camp d’en face. Parce que les racines de leurs mouvements sont les mêmes: les skinheads. Les deux ont divergé entre redskins et skins d’extrême-droite, mais l’origine est la même. (…) depuis que les antifa se revendiquent plus ouvertement skinheads, et se rasent même la tête, ce sont les mêmes au niveau du look. Avec les mêmes bombers, les mêmes Dr Martens, les mêmes origines culturelles, et la même fascination pour la baston. Ce sont les frères ouverts contre les frères fermés, en somme. (…) c’est un grand classique. Les boutiques qui vendent des fringues «rock» au sens très large du terme sont peu nombreuses, donc c’est un lieu de croisement. Dans le XVe arrondissement parisien, une boutique qui distribue ces marques est surtout visitée par les skinheads d’extrême droite, mais peut l’être par l’autre bord aussi. Il y a déjà eu plusieurs bastons autour de la boutique, surtout entre 1990 et 1995. (…) pratiquement tous les skins et les antifas qui portent ces marques s’habillent là-bas. Ils ont généralement peu de moyens, et comme les prix de ces marques sont élevés, ils attendent ces réductions pour se fournir. Depuis deux, trois ans, il y a des tensions lors de ces ventes, des individus des deux bords s’y croisent, il y a des regards. On peut presque dire que ce drame était inéluctable. Marc-Aurèle Vecchione
Dans les années 60, les mods anglais, incarnés par les Kinks ou les Who, s’emparent des vêtements bourgeois destinés aux élites (celles qui jouent au tennis, notamment) : le polo Fred Perry, le blouson Harrington ou les chemises Ben Sherman. Avec la fin des mods à l’aube des années 70, l’image de ces maisons se trouble : les skinheads, nés en réaction au mouvement hippie, se les approprient. Parmi eux, certains sont apolitiques, d’autres d’extrême gauche, beaucoup sont fascistes. Si bien que dans les années 70 et 80, le vestiaire en descendance mods est davantage associé aux militants extrémistes qu’à la musique. La succession d’artistes anglo-saxons s’affichant en Fred Perry (les Pogues, époque punk ; les Specials, version ska ; les Blur et Oasis, à l’ère brit-pop, ou les Strokes et Franz Ferdinand, plus rock), n’a pas suffi à dissiper l’image ambiguë de la marque. Aujourd’hui, Fred Perry ne communique pas sur sa stratégie marketing, mais les activités de ces dix dernières années montrent sa volonté de se distinguer en tant que maison de mode versée dans la créativité, et la musique. (…) Autre signe d’une volonté d’assainissement de son image : Fred Perry inaugure en 2008 sa première boutique française à Paris, dans le quartier du Marais. Une enseigne proprette, à côté de Zadig & Voltaire, Maje et Sandro, où règne une ambiance bien différente des petites boutiques multimarques à l’ambiance un peu tendue, spécialisées dans les griffes qu’aiment certains militants d’extrême droite, comme Ben Sherman ou Lonsdale. Si Fred Perry et Ben Sherman ont pu compenser de troubles associations politiques par une cool attitude, la marque anglaise Lonsdale a été clairement associée aux groupuscules d’extrême droite. Les néonazis l’auraient «récupérée» à cause des lettres «NSDA» au cœur du mot «Lonsdale» (NSDA pour Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, le parti nazi). Au milieu des années 2000, la griffe a ainsi été bannie dans plusieurs établissements scolaires en Allemagne, et surtout aux Pays-Bas, ou l’expression «jeunesse Lonsdale» était apparue pour évoquer la résurgence néonazie dans le pays. Plusieurs points de vente, trop marqués politiquement, ont dû être fermés, et les campagnes de communication de la marque martèlent désormais le slogan «Lonsdale loves all colours». Libération
La tragique mort de Clément Méric réveille une image que la marque anglaise avait réussi à faire un peu oublier. Il faudra qu’elle redouble d’effort pour éloigner ces clients aussi fidèles que gênants. Un peu comme Lacoste avait tenté de le faire en son temps avec les rappeurs des cités. Huffington post
Antifa (…) est le nom collectif utilisé par différents groupes autonomes et souvent informels se réclamant de l’antifascisme. Les groupes Antifa sont connus pour leur recours à l’action directe pour s’opposer à l’extrême droite, pouvant aller jusqu’à la destruction de biens matériels et la violence physique lorsqu’ils le jugent nécessaire. La plupart de ces groupes sont anti-gouvernement et anti-capitalistes, et appartiennent à des mouvances d’extrême gauche anarchistes, communistes ou socialistes. Ils mettent l’accent notamment sur la lutte directe contre l’extrême droite et les mouvements prônant la suprématie de la race blanche. Le terme Antifa tient son origine de l’Action antifasciste, un nom employé par des mouvements politiques européens des années 1920 et 1930 qui ont lutté contre les fascistes en Allemagne, en Italie et en Espagne. En réponse à l’importance du néonazisme après la chute du Mur de Berlin, des manifestants antifascistes ont réapparu en Allemagne. Peter Beinart, un journaliste américain, écrit que « à la fin des années 1980 aux États-Unis, des fans de punk appartenant à des mouvances de gauche leur ont emboîté le pas mais sous le nom d’Anti-Racist Action (« Action antiraciste »), pensant que les Américains seraient plus familiers avec la lutte contre le racisme qu’avec celle contre le fascisme ». Le militantisme antifasciste remonte aux années 1920, années durant lesquelles les anti-fascistes ont été impliqués dans des batailles de rue contre les Chemises noires de Benito Mussolini ou celles brunes d’Adolf Hitler, l’Union britannique des fascistes d’Oswald Mosley et des organisations américaines pro-nazies telles que les Amis de la Nouvelle-Allemagne. Bien qu’il n’existe pas de réelle connexion entre les organisations antifascistes, on peut remonter la généalogie de l’Antifa américaine jusqu’à l’Allemagne de Weimar, où fut créé en 1932 le premier groupe décrit comme « antifa », Antifaschistische Aktion, avec la participation du Parti communiste d’Allemagne. Le logo aux deux drapeaux d’Antifaschistische Aktion est le symbole le plus couramment utilisé par l’Antifa américaine, avec le cercle antifasciste aux trois flèches du mouvement social-démocrate Front de fer (créé en 1931 puis dirigé par les sociaux-démocrates). L’Anti-Racist Action, née des mouvements punk et d’une partie du mouvement skinhead de la fin des années 1980, est le précurseur direct de beaucoup, sinon de la plupart des mouvements antifa américains actuels. D’autres groupes antifa ont cependant d’autres ascendances, comme les Baldies de Minneapolis, dans le Minnesota, un groupe formé en 1987, avec l’intention de combattre le néonazisme. Le mouvement Antifa est constitué de groupes autonomes, et n’a donc pas d’organisation formelle. Ces groupes forment des réseaux de soutien, comme le NYC Antifa, ou fonctionnent de façon indépendante. L’organisation de manifestations se fait généralement via les médias sociaux, des sites web et des listes de diffusion. Bien que le nombre d’affiliés aux mouvements Antifa ne puisse être estimé avec précision, le mouvement a pris plus d’ampleur depuis l’élection de Donald Trump : environ 200 groupes, de taille et niveau d’engagement variables, existent actuellement aux États-Unis. Dans une interview accordée à la chaîne de télévision CNN en août 2017, un membre de Rose City Antifa (un groupe de Portland, dans l’Oregon), explique que « les membres de notre groupe viennent de toute la gauche : nous avons des anarchistes, nous avons des socialistes, nous avons même des libéraux et des sociaux-démocrates ». Bien que les militants Antifa puissent pratiquer l’entraide, comme ils le firent après l’ouragan Harvey, ils ont surtout été associés aux démonstrations de violence à l’encontre de la police et des personnes dont les opinions politiques sont jugées nauséabondes. Ils sont généralement perçus comme n’hésitant pas à recourir à des démonstrations de force. Un manuel publié sur It’s Going Down, un site anarchiste, met pourtant en garde contre « ceux qui ont seulement envie de se battre ». Il note en outre que « se confronter physiquement aux fascistes est un aspect nécessaire de la lutte anti-fasciste, mais ce n’est pas le seul ni même nécessairement le plus important ». Selon Peter Beinart, les militants Antifa « luttent contre le suprémacisme blanc, non en essayant de changer la politique du gouvernement, mais par l’action directe. Ils essaient d’identifier publiquement les suprémacistes pour les faire licencier ou leur faire perdre leur logement », en plus de « perturber leurs rassemblements, y compris par la force ». Les groupes Antifa ont participé activement aux protestations et manifestations contre l’élection de Donald Trump en 2016. Ils ont également participé aux manifestations de février 2017 à Berkeley contre le porte-parole de l’alt-right Milo Yiannopoulos. Ces manifestations ont attiré l’attention du public, les médias ayant rapporté que les Antifa ont « lancé des cocktails Molotov et brisé des fenêtres » et causé 100 000 $ de dommages. Le 15 juin 2017, des membres d’Antifa se sont joints aux manifestants de l’Evergreen State College, qui s’opposaient à un événement organisé par le Patriot Prayer, un mouvement de droite libérale suspecté de liens avec le suprémacisme blanc. Lors des contre-manifestations au rassemblement « Unir la droite » de Charlottesville en août 2017, les Antifa ont « certainement utilisé des battes et des marqueurs à air comprimé contre les manifestants suprémacistes ». Selon un Antifa interrogé par la journaliste Adele Stan, les battes utilisées par les manifestants antifascistes sont justifiées par la présence de « goon squads » (sortes de groupes mercenaires) dans l’autre camp. Lors de cet événement, des Antifa ont protégé Cornel West et divers membres du clergé de l’attaque de suprémacistes. Cornel West a plus tard déclaré qu’il estimait que les Antifa lui avaient « sauvé la vie ». Selon un militant d’extrême droite, les manifestants Antifa n’étaient pas cantonnés au périmètre qui leur avait été alloué par la ville, mais arpentaient les rues et ont bloqué le passage aux manifestants d’extrême-droite avant de lancer une attaque sur eux avec des masses, des sprays au poivre, des briques, des bâtons et du liquide sale. À Berkeley, le 27 août 2017, une centaine de manifestants Antifa auraient rejoint les 2 000 à 4 000 contre-manifestants présents pour s’opposer à ce qui a été décrit comme une « poignée » de manifestants de l’alt-right et de supporters du président Trump, réunis pour un rally « Say No to Marxism » (« Non au marxisme ») qui avait été annulé pour des raisons de sécurité. Il est décrit que certains militants Antifa ont donné des coups de pied à des manifestants non armés et ont menacé de casser les caméras des journalistes. Le maire de Berkeley Jesse Arreguin a suggéré de classer les Antifa de la ville comme « gang ». Lors de nouvelles contre-manifestations en opposition au rassemblement « Unir la droite » à Charlottesville en août 2018, des Antifas ont invectivé et attaqué des journalistes et des policiers, leur lançant notamment des œufs et des bouteilles d’eau, et en tirant des feux d’artifice dans leur direction. Des journalistes rapportent aussi que des Antifa les ont harcelés pour les empêcher de filmer. Selon la National Public Radio, « ceux qui parlent au nom du mouvement Antifa reconnaissent qu’ils ont parfois des battes et des massues » et leur « méthode repose sur la confrontation ». CNN affirme que les Antifa sont « connus pour causer des dégradations matérielles lors des manifestations ». Scott Crow, un membre de longue date d’un groupe Antifa et impliqué dans l’organisation du mouvement selon CNN, fait valoir que la destruction de la propriété n’est pas une forme de violence. Selon Brian Levin, directeur du Centre pour l’Étude de la Haine et de l’Extrémisme à l’Université d’État de Californie de San Bernardino, les Antifa ont recours à la violence car « ils croient que les élites contrôlent le gouvernement et les médias. Ils ont donc besoin de s’opposer frontalement à ceux qu’ils considèrent comme racistes ». Selon Mark Bray, maître de conférences à l’Institut de recherche sur le genre de Dartmouth et auteur d’Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (Antifa: Le Manuel des antifascistes), les adhérents au mouvement sont pour la plupart socialistes, anarchistes ou communistes et « refusent de faire appel à la police ou à l’État pour freiner l’avancée du suprémacisme blanc. Ils préconisent à la place l’opposition populaire au fascisme telle que nous avons pu le voir à Charlottesville ». En rapport avec cet ouvrage, Carlos Lozada a déclaré que les groupes Antifa ne respectent pas la liberté d’expression. Selon Bray, l’atteinte à la liberté d’expression « est justifiée par son rôle dans la lutte politique contre le fascisme ». Selon Scott Crow, cette justification se fonde sur le principe de l’action directe : « L’incitation à la haine ne relève pas de la liberté d’expression. Si vous mettez en danger des personnes avec ce que vous dites et les actes que vos paroles impliquent, alors vous n’avez pas le droit de le dire. C’est pour cela que nous allons au conflit, pour les faire taire, parce que nous croyons que les nazis et les fascistes de tout poil ne devraient pas avoir droit à la parole ». En juin 2017, la mouvance Antifa a été rattachée à l’anarchisme par le Département de la sécurité intérieure du New Jersey, qui avec le FBI a classé leurs activités comme terrorisme domestique. Le FBI et le DSI ont également reconnu être incapables d’infiltrer « l’organisation diffuse et décentralisée » de ces groupes. À la suite des violences de Berkeley le 27 août 2017, les actions des Antifa ont fait l’objet de critiques de la part de Républicains, de Démocrates et des commentateurs politiques des médias américains: la chef de l’opposition Nancy Pelosi condamne la violence des militants Antifa à Berkeley dans un communiqué de presse, l’animatrice de talk-show conservatrice et contributrice à Fox News Laura Ingraham a proposé de déclarer le mouvement Antifa comme organisation terroriste, Trevor Noah, humoriste et animateur de The Daily Show, a qualifié l’Antifa de « vegan ISIS » (« Daesh végétalien »). En août 2017, une pétition appelant à ce que les Antifa soient classés par le Pentagone comme une organisation terroriste a été lancée via la plate-forme de la Maison-Blanche We The People. Elle a recueilli plus de 100 000 signatures en trois jours, et par conséquent – en vertu de la politique définie par l’administration Obama – aurait dû recevoir un examen officiel et une réponse par la Maison-Blanche. Avec plus de 300 000 signatures à la fin du mois d’août, c’était la troisième pétition la plus signée de la plate-forme. Toutefois, cette politique n’a pas été poursuivie par l’administration Trump, qui n’a répondu à aucune des pétitions de la plate-forme. L’auteur de la pétition, connu sous le pseudonyme de Microchip, a expliqué à Politico que le but de celle-ci n’était pas nécessairement de provoquer une quelconque action concrète de la part du gouvernement, mais simplement de pousser les conservateurs à la partager et à en débattre. En mai 2020, en réaction aux manifestations faisant suite à la mort de George Floyd, Donald Trump annonce sur Twitter que les États-Unis « désigneront Antifa comme une organisation terroriste ». (…) Les anti-antifas sont les opposants à l’Action Antifasciste. Il ne s’agit pas du nom d’une quelconque organisation. Les anti-antifas sont souvent composés de militants d’extrême droite radicaux tels des néofascistes, néonazis, skinhead d’extrême droite, ainsi que de suprémacistes blancs et noirs. Wikipedia
This whole event should be seen through the context of what it is…an information war. A number of people who go to these protests are looking for fights or to document them. they’re all livestreaming. When tensions boil over, it’s meant to be ammunition for a culture war. Charlie Warzel (Jun 30, 2019)
It’s not ‘both sides-ing’ to note that both parties…& many of the ppl who cover them (journalists, provacateurs, activists) know what’s going on. They know the risks & they know how it can be weaponized. Which is why talking about this like it’s a 20th century protest is stupid. Charlie Warzel
But we know, as filmmakers long have, that footage doesn’t convey the objective reality of a situation; it reveals certain things and obscures others. Moreover, the meaning of filmed events is entirely open to contestation. The mere fact that Ngo was assaulted doesn’t say what the meaning of that assault is, or what the broader context is that’s necessary to understand it. The result is a never-ending stream of Rorschach test controversies pushed on social media, in which either the meaning of events on film or even the very facts of what’s being depicted are litigated endlessly and tied to our right-versus-left culture war. All forms of antifa violence are problematic,” the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish anti-hate group, writes in its primer on the group. “That said, it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose.” The guide continues: Antifa reject racism but use unacceptable tactics. White supremacists use even more extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate, to intimidate ethnic minorities, and undermine democratic norms. Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years; they have murdered hundreds of people in this country over the last ten years alone. To date, there have not been any known antifa-related murders. Anti-fascism originated in response to early European fascism, and when Mussolini’s Blackshirts and Hitler’s Brownshirts were ascendant in Europe, various socialist, communist, and anarchist parties and groups emerged to confront them. When I talk about anti-fascism in the book and when we talk about it today, it’s really a matter of tracing the sort of historical lineage of revolutionary anti-fascist movements that came from below, from the people, and not from the state. The sort of militant anti-fascism that antifa represents reemerged in postwar Europe in Britain, where fascists had broad rights to organize and demonstrate. You started to see these groups spring up in the 1940s and ’50s and ’60s and ’70s. You saw similar movements in Germany in the ’80s around the time the Berlin Wall falls, when a wave of neo-Nazism rolled across the country targeting immigrants. There, as elsewhere, leftist groups emerged as tools of self-defense. The whole point was to stare down these fascist groups in the street and stop them by force if necessary. These groups in the ’80s adopted the name antifa, and it eventually spread to the United States in the late ’80s and into the ’90s. Originally, it was known as the Anti-Racist Action Network. That kind of faded in the mid-2000s; the recent wave we’re seeing in the US developed out of it, but has taken on more of the name and the kind of aesthetics of the European movement. (…) The basic principle of antifa is “no platform for fascism.” If you ask them, they’ll tell you that they believe you have to deny any and all platforms to fascism, no matter how big or small the threat. The original fascist groups that later seized power in Europe started out very small. You cannot, they argue, treat these groups lightly. You need to take them with the utmost seriousness, and the way to prevent them from growing is to prevent them from having even the first step toward becoming normalized in society. (…) Much of what they do does not involve physical confrontation. They also focus on using public opinion to expose white supremacists and raise the social and professional costs of their participation in these groups. They want to see these people fired from their jobs, denounced by their families, marginalized by their communities. But yes, part of what they do is physical confrontation. They view self-defense as necessary in terms of defending communities against white supremacists. They also see this as a preventative action. They look at the history of fascism in Europe and say, “we have to eradicate this problem before it gets any bigger, before it’s too late.” Sometimes that involves physical confrontation or blocking their marches or whatever the case may be. It’s also important to remember that these are self-described revolutionaries. They’re anarchists and communists who are way outside the traditional conservative-liberal spectrum. They’re not interested in and don’t feel constrained by conventional norms. (…) The other thing that’s worth clarifying is that anti-fascist groups don’t only organize against textbook fascists. There is, first of all, a lot of debate about what constitutes fascism. And it’s a legitimate question to ask — where does one draw the line, and how does one see this kind of organizing? Of course, there is no central command for a group like antifa. There is no antifa board of directors telling people where that line is, and so of course different groups will assess different threats as they see fit. But I suppose the question you’re raising has to do with the slippery-slope argument, which is that if you start calling everyone a fascist and depriving them of a platform, where does it end? One of the arguments I make in the book is that while analytically that’s a conversation worth having, I don’t know of any empirical examples of anti-fascists successfully stopping a neo-Nazi group and then moving on to other groups that are not racist but merely to the right. What tends to happen is they disband once they’ve successfully marginalized or eliminated the local right-wing extremist threat, and then return to what they normally do — organizing unions, doing environmental activism, etc. (…) Whenever we look at the question of causation in history, you can never isolate one variable and make grand or definitive conclusions. So I don’t want to overstate any of the causal claims being made here. But Norway is an interesting example. In the ’90s, they had a pretty violent neo-Nazi skinhead movement, and the street-level anti-fascist groups there seemed to play a significant role in marginalizing the threat. By the end of ’90s it was pretty much defunct, and subsequently there hasn’t been a serious fascist [movement] in Norway. Another example you can look at is popular responses to the National Front [a far-right political party formed in Britain in 1967] in the late ’70s in Britain. The National Front was pretty huge, and the Anti-Nazi League, through both a combination of militant anti-fascist tactics and also some more popular organizing and electoral strategies, managed to successfully deflate the National Front momentum. One of the most famous moments of that era was the Battle of Lewisham in 1977 where the members of this largely immigrant community physically blocked a big National Front march and that sort of stopped their aggressive efforts to target that community. (…) First, they argue that in Europe you can see that parliamentary democracy did not always stop the advance of fascism and Nazism — and in the cases of both Germany and Italy, Hitler and Mussolini were appointed and gained their power largely through democratic means. When Hitler took his final control through the [1933] Enabling Act, it was approved by parliament. They also say that rational discourse is insufficient on its own because a lot of good arguments were made and a lot of debates were had but ultimately that was insufficient during that period, and so the view that good ideas always prevail over bad ideas isn’t very convincing. Their other key point, which probably isn’t made enough, is that these are revolutionary leftists. They’re not concerned about the fact that fascism targets liberalism. These are self-described revolutionaries. They have no allegiance to liberal democracy, which they believe has failed the marginalized communities they’re defending. They’re anarchists and communists who are way outside the traditional conservative-liberal spectrum. (…) anti-fascists will concede that most of the time nonviolence is certainly the way to go. Most antifa members believe it’s far easier to use nonviolent methods than it is to show up and use direct action methods. But they argue that history shows that it’s dangerous to take violence and self-defense off the table. (…) I think the people who showed up in Charlottesville to square off against self-identified neo-Nazis did the world a service, and I applaud them. But when I see antifa showing up at places like UC Berkeley and setting fire to cars and throwing rocks through windows in order to prevent someone like Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, I think they’ve gone way too far. Milo isn’t a Nazi, and he isn’t an actual threat. He’s a traveling clown looking to offend social justice warriors. I think that reasonable people can disagree about this. I can’t speak for the individuals who committed these political actions, but the general defense is that the rationale for shutting down someone like Milo has to do with the fact that his kind of commentary emboldens actual fascists. The Berkeley administrators issued a statement in advance that they feared he was going to out undocumented students on campus, and previously he had targeted a transgender student at the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin. Antifa regards this as an instigation to violence, and so they feel justified in shutting it down. Again, though, this is much easier to understand when you remember that antifa isn’t concerned with free speech or other liberal democratic values. (…) For the most part, these are pan-leftist groups composed of leftists of different stripes. They all seem to have different views of what they think the ideal social order looks like. Some of them are Marxists, some are Leninists, some are social democrats or anarchists. But they cohere around a response to what they perceive as a common threat. (…) As I said before, anti-fascists don’t have any allegiance to liberalism, so that’s not the question that they are focused on. The question is also how much of a threat do we think white supremacists or neo-Nazis pose, both in a literal or immediate sense but also in terms of their ability to influence broader discourses or even the Trump administration. I believe that for people who are feeling the worst repercussions of this, they are already experiencing a kind of illiberalism in terms of their lack of access to the kinds of freedoms that liberalism promotes and tries to aspire to; and so for me, that’s more of a focus, in terms of trying to mitigate those kinds of problems, than the fears of people who, prior to Trump, thought that everything was fine in the US. (…) The first thing to point out is that being part of one of these groups is a huge time commitment, and the vetting process that these groups have for bringing in new people is very strenuous. You have to really commit — it’s basically like a second job. This limits the number of people that are going to be willing to put their time into it. I don’t think the antifa movement is going to explode as much as some do. But I do think that antifa can influence where leftist politics in America is going. They are aggressive, loud, and fiercely committed. They’re having a wider influence on the radical left in this country, particularly on campuses and with other groups like Black Lives Matter. But I don’t want to overstate antifa’s role in these shifts. (…) they don’t care about the Democratic Party. (…) Will a lot of people see antifa and their methods as a poor reflection of the left? Absolutely. But I also think that these are not people who were going to vote Democrat anyway. If you read the news or pay attention to what’s happening, you know that Nancy Pelosi has nothing to do with antifa. This group loathes the Democratic Party, and they don’t hide that. So anyone who blames the Democrats for antifa is likely already disposed to vote Republican anyway. Mark Bray
I think we should classify them as a gang. They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia, and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach. I think we are going to have to think ‘big picture’ about what is the strategy for how we are going to deal with these violent elements on the left as well. We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin
Under California law, a gang is defined as an organization of at least three persons, with a common name, or identifying mark or symbol, which engages in criminal activity. Criminals who commit offenses for gangs can face tougher sentences in the state. Newsweek

Attention, un extrémisme peut en cacher un autre !

Alors qu’au lendemain d’un premier débat présidentiel américain …

Nos médias nous bassinent d’articles à charge sur un groupuscule nationaliste américain …

Fondé il y a quatre ans à New York par un hipster canado-britannique et cofondateur du magazine « Vice », un certain Gavin McInnes, mais dirigé aujourd’hui par un Afro-cubain

Auquel aurait prétendument apporté son soutien un président américain …

Qui a par ailleurs maintes fois dénoncé le racisme des néonazis et suprémacistes blancs …

Et qu’après des semaines de confinement, de casse et d’émeutes – et de refus de l’aide fédérale dont elle se plaint aujourd’hui de ne pas avoir reçu – la plus grande ville américaine se retrouve au bord du gouffre financier

Pendant que chez nous sur une radio publique, un sociologue appelle ouvertement à la censure des pensées « injustes et impures »

Comment ne pas voir ….

Sans compter l’extrême corruption d’une presse qui depuis quatre ans non seulement instruit et conduit à charge uniquement un véritable procès de Moscou permanent pour délégitimer par tous les moyens, faux dossiers du FBI compris, l’élu des « deplorables …

Mais se prépare avec une élection par correspondance (avec le vote-harvesting) – où certains états ont déjà prévu de comptabiliser les envois jusqu’à deux semaines après le vote officiel ! – à torpiller la prochaine élection et, si le président sortant arrive à passer toutes ces embûches, la totalité de son prochain mandat …

L’incroyable hypocrisie de la gauche et des médias en général là-bas comme ici

Qui font totalement l’impasse sur les violences, nettement plus coûteuses en termes de dégâts matériels, générées par l’extrême gauche des antifas et BLM …

Quand à l’instar d’un Biden, bien loin de la condamnation que le modérateur du débat s’est bien gardé de lui demander, ils ne les réduisent pas à une « idée » …

De la part de groupuscules qui comme le suggérait il y a trois ans le maire de Berkeley …

Ont toutes les caractéristiques d’un gang …

D’où aussi le risque comme semblent l’indiquer sa remontée dans les sondages des minorités noires et hispaniques

De renforcer « l‘éléphant nécessaire dans le magasin de porcelaine poussiéreux de la politique » qu’a depuis le début été Trump ?

BERKELEY (CBS SF) — Mayor of Berkeley Jesse Arreguin on Monday said it is time to confront the violent extremism on the left by treating black-clad Antifa protesters as a gang.

A large number of masked Antifa activists were seen jumping the barriers at a largely peaceful demonstration in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Civic Center Park on Sunday.

Some began attacking Trump supporters at the rally.

“I think we should classify them as a gang,” said Arreguin. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

Arreguin said that while he does not support the far right, it was time to draw the line on the left as well, especially on the black-clad activists who showed up in force and took over both the protests and the park, and played a part in Sunday’s violent clashes.

“I think we are going to have to think ‘big picture’ about what is the strategy for how we are going to deal with these violent elements on the left as well,” said the mayor.

The mayor said it was also time for the non-violent protesters to take a stand.

“We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover,” said Arreguin.

On Monday, protest organizers defended Antifa’s presence.

“White supremacists and fascists are not welcome. And if the state is not going to protect us — and if they do not — then we are going to protect ourselves and welcome those who stand with us,” said Sara Kershner with the National Lawyers Guild.

KPIX 5 news crews observed that most of the conservative demonstrators in the park were Trump supporters who repeatedly denounced Nazis and racists.

And while it didn’t look good, the mayor also praised Berkeley police for holding back and ceding the park to the anarchists when the group jumped the barriers.

“Black Bloc was trying to provoke the police,” said Arreguin. “I think some of the more conservative protesters had already left or had been escorted out.”

When asked what he would say to a Trump supporter who was chased down the street, the mayor replied, “It’s unacceptable. Anyone who was injured… it’s completely unacceptable and we are going to be looking at video and identifying people.”

In the wake of Charlottesville and Sunday’s troubles in Berkeley, the mayor also called on UC Berkeley to call off next month’s Free Speech Week featuring Milo Yiannopoulos.

It was an appearance by Yiannopoulos in February that triggered a riot in Sproul Plaza on campus.

“I believe that is the right thing to do,” said Arreguin. “And if they don’t do that, then they need to work with the city and potentially assist the city through resources to be able to adequately police what we know is going to be a large protest that will spill out onto the city streets.”

Voir aussi:

“Insurrectionary anarchists” have been protesting for racial justice all summer. Some Black leaders wish they would go home.

Ms. Stockman is a member of the editorial board.

The New York Times

On the last Sunday in May, Jeremy Lee Quinn, a furloughed photographer in Santa Monica, Calif., was snapping photos of suburban moms kneeling at a Black Lives Matter protest when a friend alerted him to a more dramatic subject: looting at a shoe store about a mile away.

He arrived to find young people pouring out of the store, shoeboxes under their arms. But there was something odd about the scene. A group of men, dressed entirely in black, milled around nearby, like supervisors. One wore a creepy rubber Halloween mask.

The next day, Mr. Quinn took pictures of another store being looted. Again, he noticed something strange. A white man, clad in black, had broken the window with a crowbar, but walked away without taking a thing.

Mr. Quinn began studying footage of looting from around the country and saw the same black outfits and, in some cases, the same masks. He decided to go to a protest dressed like that himself, to figure out what was really going on. He expected to find white supremacists who wanted to help re-elect President Trump by stoking fear of Black people. What he discovered instead were true believers in “insurrectionary anarchism.”

To better understand them, Mr. Quinn, a 40-something theater student who worked at Univision until the pandemic, has spent the past four months marching with “black bloc” anarchists in half a dozen cities across the country, chronicling the experience on his website, Public Report.

He says he respects the idealistic goal of a hierarchy-free society that anarchists embrace, but grew increasingly uncomfortable with the tactics used by some anarchists, which he feared would set off a backlash that could help get President Trump re-elected. In Portland, Ore., he marched with people who shot fireworks at the federal court building. In Washington, he marched with protesters who harassed diners.

Mr. Quinn discovered a thorny truth about the mayhem that unfolded in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. It wasn’t mayhem at all.

While talking heads on television routinely described it as a spontaneous eruption of anger at racial injustice, it was strategically planned, facilitated and advertised on social media by anarchists who believed that their actions advanced the cause of racial justice. In some cities, they were a fringe element, quickly expelled by peaceful organizers. But in Washington, Portland and Seattle they have attracted a “cultlike energy,” Mr. Quinn told me.

Don’t take just Mr. Quinn’s word for it. Take the word of the anarchists themselves, who lay out the strategy in Crimethinc, an anarchist publication: Black-clad figures break windows, set fires, vandalize police cars, then melt back into the crowd of peaceful protesters. When the police respond by brutalizing innocent demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets and rough arrests, the public’s disdain for law enforcement grows. It’s Asymmetric Warfare 101.

An anarchist podcast called “The Ex-Worker” explains that while some anarchists believe in pacifist civil disobedience inspired by Mohandas Gandhi, others advocate using crimes like arson and shoplifting to wear down the capitalist system. According to “The Ex-Worker,” the term “insurrectionary anarchist” dates back at least to the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, when opponents of the fascist leader Francisco Franco took “direct action” against his regime, including assassinating policemen and robbing banks.

If that is not enough to convince you that there’s a method to the madness, check out the new report by Rutgers researchers that documents the “systematic, online mobilization of violence that was planned, coordinated (in real time) and celebrated by explicitly violent anarcho-socialist networks that rode on the coattails of peaceful protest,” according to its co-author Pamela Paresky. She said some anarchist social media accounts had grown 300-fold since May, to hundreds of thousands of followers.

“The ability to continue to spread and to eventually bring more violence, including a violent insurgency, relies on the ability to hide in plain sight — to be confused with legitimate protests, and for media and the public to minimize the threat,” Dr. Paresky told me.

Her report will almost certainly catch the attention of conservative media and William Barr’s Department of Justice, which recently declared New York, Portland and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions,” a widely mocked designation accompanied by the threat of withholding federal funds.

There’s an even thornier truth that few people seem to want to talk about: Anarchy got results.

Don’t get me wrong. My heart broke for the people in Minneapolis who lost buildings to arson and looting. Migizi, a Native American nonprofit in Minneapolis, raised more than $1 million to buy and renovate a place where Native American teenagers could learn about their culture — only to watch it go up in flames, alongside dozens of others, including a police station. It can take years to build a building — and only one night to burn it down.

And yet, I had to admit that the scale of destruction caught the media’s attention in a way that peaceful protests hadn’t. How many articles would I have written about a peaceful march? How many months would Mr. Quinn have spent investigating suburban moms kneeling? That’s on us.

While I feared that the looting and arson would derail the urgent demands for racial justice and bring condemnation, I was wrong, at least in the short term. Support for Black Lives Matter soared. Corporations opened their wallets. It was as if the nation rallied behind peaceful Black organizers after it saw the alternative, like whites who flocked to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after they got a glimpse of Malcolm X.

But as the protests continue, support has flagged. The percentage of people who say they support the Black Lives Matter movement has dropped from 67 percent in June to 55 percent, according to a recent Pew poll.

“Insurrectionary anarchy” brings diminishing returns, especially as anarchists complicate life for those working within the system to halt police violence.

In Louisville, Ky., Attica Scott, a Black state representative who sponsored a police reform bill, was arrested last week and charged with felony rioting after someone threw a road flare inside a library.

In Portland, Jo Ann Hardesty, an activist turned city councilor, has pushed for the creation of a pilot program of unarmed street responders to handle mental illness and homelessness, a practical step to help protect populations that experience violence at the hands of police. Yet Ms. Hardesty is shouted down at protests by anarchists who want to abolish the police, not merely reform or defund them.

“As a Black woman who has been working on this for 30 years, to have young white activists who have just discovered that Black lives matter yelling at me that I’m not doing enough for Black people — it’s kind of ironic, is what it is,” Ms. Hardesty told me.

In Seattle, Andrè Taylor, a Black man who lost his brother to police violence in 2016, helped change state law that made it nearly impossible to prosecute officers for killing civilians. But he has been branded a “pig cop” by young anarchists because his nonprofit organization receives funds from the city, and because he cooperates with the police.

“When they say, ‘You are working with the police,’ I say, ‘I have worked with police and I will continue to work for reform,’” Mr. Taylor told me. “Remember, I lost a brother.”

Black people get shot for doing ordinary law-abiding things. They don’t have the luxury of anarchy, he told me.

That’s the thing about “insurrectionary anarchists.” They make fickle allies. If they help you get into power, they will try to oust you the following day, since power is what they are against. Many of them don’t even vote. They are experts at unraveling an old order but considerably less skilled at building a new one. That’s why, even after more than 100 days of protest in Portland, activists do not agree on a set of common policy goals.

Even some anarchists admit as much.

“We are not sure if the socialist, communist, democratic or even anarchist utopia is possible,” a voice on “The Ex-Worker” podcast intones. “Rather, some insurrectionary anarchists believe that the meaning of being an anarchist lies in the struggle itself and what that struggle reveals.”

In other words, it’s not really about George Floyd or Black lives, but insurrection for insurrection’s sake.

 

Since 1907, Portland, Oregon, has hosted an annual Rose Festival. Since 2007, the festival had included a parade down 82nd Avenue. Since 2013, the Republican Party of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, had taken part. This April, all of that changed.

In the days leading up to the planned parade, a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.” The alliance said it didn’t object to the Multnomah GOP itself, but to “fascists” who planned to infiltrate its ranks. Yet it also denounced marchers with “Trump flags” and “red maga hats” who could “normalize support for an orange man who bragged about sexually harassing women and who is waging a war of hate, racism and prejudice.” A second group, Oregon Students Empowered, created a Facebook page called “Shut down fascism! No nazis in Portland!”

Next, the parade’s organizers received an anonymous email warning that if “Trump supporters” and others who promote “hateful rhetoric” marched, “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade … and drag and push those people out.” When Portland police said they lacked the resources to provide adequate security, the organizers canceled the parade. It was a sign of things to come.

For progressives, Donald Trump is not just another Republican president. Seventy-six percent of Democrats, according to a Suffolk poll from last September, consider him a racist. Last March, according to a YouGov survey, 71 percent of Democrats agreed that his campaign contained “fascist undertones.” All of which raises a question that is likely to bedevil progressives for years to come: If you believe the president of the United States is leading a racist, fascist movement that threatens the rights, if not the lives, of vulnerable minorities, how far are you willing to go to stop it?In Washington, D.C., the response to that question centers on how members of Congress can oppose Trump’s agenda, on how Democrats can retake the House of Representatives, and on how and when to push for impeachment. But in the country at large, some militant leftists are offering a very different answer. On Inauguration Day, a masked activist punched the white-supremacist leader Richard Spencer. In February, protesters violently disrupted UC Berkeley’s plans to host a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart.com editor. In March, protesters pushed and shoved the controversial conservative political scientist Charles Murray when he spoke at Middlebury College, in Vermont.As far-flung as these incidents were, they have something crucial in common. Like the organizations that opposed the Multnomah County Republican Party’s participation in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, these activists appear to be linked to a movement called “antifa,” which is short for antifascist or Anti-Fascist Action. The movement’s secrecy makes definitively cataloging its activities difficult, but this much is certain: Antifa’s power is growing. And how the rest of the activist left responds will help define its moral character in the Trump age.

Antifa traces its roots to the 1920s and ’30s, when militant leftists battled fascists in the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. When fascism withered after World War II, antifa did too. But in the ’70s and ’80s, neo-Nazi skinheads began to infiltrate Britain’s punk scene. After the Berlin Wall fell, neo-Nazism also gained prominence in Germany. In response, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists and punk fans, revived the tradition of street-level antifascism.

In the late ’80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than fascism. According to Mark Bray, the author of the forthcoming Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ’90s, trying to ensure that neo-Nazis did not recruit their fans. In 2002, they disrupted a speech by the head of the World Church of the Creator, a white-supremacist group in Pennsylvania; 25 people were arrested in the resulting brawl.

By the 2000s, as the internet facilitated more transatlantic dialogue, some American activists had adopted the name antifa. But even on the militant left, the movement didn’t occupy the spotlight. To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.) Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.”Those responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.”The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators—at least some of whom were associated with antifa—punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings.”Antifascists call such actions defensive. Hate speech against vulnerable minorities, they argue, leads to violence against vulnerable minorities. But Trump supporters and white nationalists see antifa’s attacks as an assault on their right to freely assemble, which they in turn seek to reassert. The result is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s. A few weeks after the attacks in San Jose, for instance, a white-supremacist leader announced that he would host a march in Sacramento to protest the attacks at Trump rallies. Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento called for a counterdemonstration; in the end, at least 10 people were stabbed.
A similar cycle has played out at UC Berkeley. In February, masked antifascists broke store windows and hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at police during a rally against the planned speech by Yiannopoulos. After the university canceled the speech out of what it called “concern for public safety,” white nationalists announced a “March on Berkeley” in support of “free speech.” At that rally, a 41-year-old man named Kyle Chapman, who was wearing a baseball helmet, ski goggles, shin guards, and a mask, smashed an antifa activist over the head with a wooden post. Suddenly, Trump supporters had a viral video of their own. A far-right crowdfunding site soon raised more than $80,000 for Chapman’s legal defense. (In January, the same site had offered a substantial reward for the identity of the antifascist who had punched Spencer.) A politicized fight culture is emerging, fueled by cheerleaders on both sides. As James Anderson, an editor at It’s Going Down, told Vice, “This shit is fun.”

Portland offers perhaps the clearest glimpse of where all of this can lead. The Pacific Northwest has long attracted white supremacists, who have seen it as a haven from America’s multiracial East and South. In 1857, Oregon (then a federal territory) banned African Americans from living there. By the 1920s, it boasted the highest Ku Klux Klan membership rate of any state.

In 1988, neo-Nazis in Portland killed an Ethiopian immigrant with a baseball bat. Shortly thereafter, notes Alex Reid Ross, a lecturer at Portland State University and the author of Against the Fascist Creep, anti-Nazi skinheads formed a chapter of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice. Before long, the city also had an Anti-Racist Action group.

Now, in the Trump era, Portland has become a bastion of antifascist militancy. Masked protesters smashed store windows during multiday demonstrations following Trump’s election. In early April, antifa activists threw smoke bombs into a “Rally for Trump and Freedom” in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington. A local paper said the ensuing melee resembled a mosh pit.

When antifascists forced the cancellation of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, Trump supporters responded with a “March for Free Speech.” Among those who attended was Jeremy Christian, a burly ex-con draped in an American flag, who uttered racial slurs and made Nazi salutes. A few weeks later, on May 25, a man believed to be Christian was filmed calling antifa “a bunch of punk bitches.”

The next day, Christian boarded a light-rail train and began yelling that “colored people” were ruining the city. He fixed his attention on two teenage girls, one African American and the other wearing a hijab, and told them “to go back to Saudi Arabia” or “kill themselves.” As the girls retreated to the back of the train, three men interposed themselves between Christian and his targets. “Please,” one said, “get off this train.” Christian stabbed all three. One bled to death on the train. One was declared dead at a local hospital. One survived.

The cycle continued. Nine days after the attack, on June 4, Trump supporters hosted another Portland rally, this one featuring Chapman, who had gained fame with his assault on the antifascist in Berkeley. Antifa activists threw bricks until the police dispersed them with stun grenades and tear gas.What’s eroding in Portland is the quality Max Weber considered essential to a functioning state: a monopoly on legitimate violence. As members of a largely anarchist movement, antifascists don’t want the government to stop white supremacists from gathering. They want to do so themselves, rendering the government impotent. With help from other left-wing activists, they’re already having some success at disrupting government. Demonstrators have interrupted so many city-council meetings that in February, the council met behind locked doors. In February and March, activists protesting police violence and the city’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline hounded Mayor Ted Wheeler so persistently at his home that he took refuge in a hotel. The fateful email to parade organizers warned, “The police cannot stop us from shutting down roads.”All of this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech. Joey Gibson, a Trump supporter who organized the June 4 Portland rally, told me that his “biggest pet peeve is when mayors have police stand down … They don’t want conservatives to be coming together and speaking.” To provide security at the rally, Gibson brought in a far-right militia called the Oath Keepers. In late June, James Buchal, the chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, announced that it too would use militia members for security, because “volunteers don’t feel safe on the streets of Portland.”Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don’t even disclose their names.Antifa’s perceived legitimacy is inversely correlated with the government’s. Which is why, in the Trump era, the movement is growing like never before. As the president derides and subverts liberal-democratic norms, progressives face a choice. They can recommit to the rules of fair play, and try to limit the president’s corrosive effect, though they will often fail. Or they can, in revulsion or fear or righteous rage, try to deny racists and Trump supporters their political rights. From Middlebury to Berkeley to Portland, the latter approach is on the rise, especially among young people.Revulsion, fear, and rage are understandable. But one thing is clear. The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.
Peter Beinart is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York.

Voir également:

Black professor insists ‘Proud Boys aren’t white supremacists’ as Trump takes flak
Valerie Richardson
The Washington Times
September 30, 2020

It turns out not everybody believes the Proud Boys are white supremacists, including a prominent Black professor at a historically Black university.

Wilfred Reilly, associate professor of political science at Kentucky State University, said Wednesday that “the Proud Boys aren’t white supremacists,” describing the right-wing group’s beliefs as “Western chauvinist” and noting that their international chairman, Enrique Tarrio, is Black.

“Gotta say: the Proud Boys aren’t white supremacists,” tweeted Mr. Reilly, author of “Hate Crime Hoax.”

Mr. Reilly said that about 10% to 20% of Proud Boys activists are people of color, a diverse racial composition that is “extremely well-known in law enforcement,” based on his research.

Enrique Tarrio, their overall leader, is a Black Cuban dude. The Proud Boys explicitly say they’re not racist,” Mr. Reilly told The Washington Times. “They are an openly right-leaning group and they’ll openly fight you — they don’t deny any of this — but saying they’re White supremacist: If you’re talking about a group of people more than 10% people of color and headed by an Afro-Latino guy, that doesn’t make sense.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer accused Mr. Trump of refusing to condemn white supremacy, tweeting, “He told white supremacists to ‘stand back and stand by.’ President Trump is a national disgrace, and Americans will not stand for it.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden told reporters Wednesday: “My message to the Proud Boys and every other White supremacist group is: cease and desist. That’s not who we are.”

White House spokeswoman Alysa Farah pushed back on the criticism, saying, “I don’t think there’s anything to clarify. He’s told them to stand back.”

Black Trump supporter Melissa Tate also challenged the “white supremacist” label, posting a video in which she and Beverly Beatty said that the Proud Boys helped provide security for them at a Christian prayer event.

“STOP THE LIES,” tweeted Ms. Tate, who has 440,700 followers. “Proud Boys are NOT White Supremacist. They are Christian men many of them hispanic & some black.”

Voir de même:
In his Tuesday press conference, Donald Trump talked at length about what he called “the alt left.” White supremacists, he claimed, weren’t the only people in Charlottesville last weekend that deserved condemnation. “You had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he declared. “Nobody wants to say that.”I can say with great confidence that Trump’s final sentence is untrue. I can do so because the September issue of The Atlantic contains an essay of mine entitled “The Rise of the Violent Left,” which discusses the very phenomenon that Trump claims “nobody wants” to discuss. Trump is right that, in Charlottesville and beyond, the violence of some leftist activists constitutes a real problem. Where he’s wrong is in suggesting that it’s a problem in any way comparable to white supremacism.What Trump calls “the alt left” (I’ll explain why that’s a bad term later) is actually antifa, which is short for anti-fascist. The movement traces its roots to the militant leftists who in the 1920s and 1930s brawled with fascists on the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. It revived in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, when anti-racist punks in Britain and Germany mobilized to defeat neo-Nazi skinheads who were infiltrating the music scene. Via punk, groups calling themselves anti-racist action—and later, anti-fascist action or antifa—sprung up in the United States. They have seen explosive growth in the Trump era for an obvious reason: There’s more open white supremacism to mobilize against.
As members of a largely anarchist movement, antifa activists generally combat white supremacism not by trying to change government policy but through direct action. They try to publicly identify white supremacists and get them fired from their jobs and evicted from their apartments. And they disrupt white-supremacist rallies, including by force.As I argued in my essay, some of their tactics are genuinely troubling. They’re troubling tactically because conservatives use antifa’s violence to justify—or at least distract from—the violence of white supremacists, as Trump did in his press conference. They’re troubling strategically because they allow white supremacists to depict themselves as victims being denied the right to freely assemble. And they’re troubling morally because antifa activists really do infringe upon that right. By using violence, they reject the moral legacy of the civil-rights movement’s fight against white supremacy. And by seeking to deny racists the ability to assemble, they reject the moral legacy of the ACLU, which in 1977 went to the Supreme Court to defend the right of neo-Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois.Antifa activists are sincere. They genuinely believe that their actions protect vulnerable people from harm. Cornel West claims they did so in Charlottesville. But for all of antifa’s supposed anti-authoritarianism, there’s something fundamentally authoritarian about its claim that its activists—who no one elected—can decide whose views are too odious to be publicly expressed. That kind of undemocratic, illegitimate power corrupts. It leads to what happened this April in Portland, Oregon, where antifa activists threatened to disrupt the city’s Rose Festival parade if people wearing “red maga hats” marched alongside the local Republican Party. Because of antifa, Republican officials in Portland claim they can’t even conduct voter registration in the city without being physically threatened or harassed.So, yes, antifa is not a figment of the conservative imagination. It’s a moral problem that liberals need to confront.But saying it’s a problem is vastly different than implying, as Trump did, that it’s a problem equal to white supremacism. Using the phrase “alt-left” suggests a moral equivalence that simply doesn’t exist.For starters, while antifa perpetrates violence, it doesn’t perpetrate it on anything like the scale that white nationalists do. It’s no coincidence that it was a Nazi sympathizer—and not an antifa activist—who committed murder in Charlottesville. According to the Anti-Defamation League, right-wing extremists committed 74 percent of the 372 politically motivated murders recorded in the United States between 2007 and 2016. Left-wing extremists committed less than 2 percent.Second, antifa activists don’t wield anything like the alt-right’s power. White, Christian supremacy has been government policy in the United States for much of American history. Anarchism has not. That’s why there are no statues of Mikhail Bakunin in America’s parks and government buildings. Antifa boasts no equivalent to Steve Bannon, who called his old publication, Breitbart, “the platform for the alt-right,” and now works in the White House. It boasts no equivalent to Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who bears the middle name of a Confederate general and the first name of the Confederacy’s president, and who allegedly called the NAACP “un-American.” It boasts no equivalent to Alex Jones, who Donald Trump praised as “amazing.” Even if antifa’s vision of society were as noxious as the “alt-right’s,” it has vastly less power to make that vision a reality.
And antifa’s vision is not as noxious. Antifa activists do not celebrate regimes that committed genocide and enforced slavery. They’re mostly anarchists. Anarchism may not be a particularly practical ideology. But it’s not an ideology that depicts the members of a particular race or religion as subhuman.If Donald Trump really wants to undermine antifa, he should do his best to stamp out the bigotry that antifa—counterproductively—mobilizes against. Taking down Confederate statues in places like Charlottesville would be a good start.

Peter Beinart is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York.

“They have no allegiance to liberal democracy”: An expert on antifa explains the group

The left-wing group is back in the news. An expert explains where they come from and what they want.

As protests against the killing of George Floyd rage across the country, the left-wing group “antifa” (short for anti-fascist) is back in the news. Although antifa’s role remains unclear, President Trump (and others) are blaming them for helping to incite violence. Antifa became a national story back in 2017 when it collided with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. Shortly after that incident, I reached out to Mark Bray, a historian at Dartmouth College and author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. We discussed the group’s origins, aims, and tactics. You can read our full exchange, which feels newly relevant, below.


When Donald Trump used the phrase “alt-left” to describe the anti-neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville last year, most people had no idea what he meant. I’m actually not sure he knew what he meant.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’? Do they have any assemblage of guilt?” Trump said during a rambling press conference.

If the alt-left exists, it’s probably best represented by “antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) — a loose network of left-wing activists who physically resist people they consider fascists. These are often the scruffy, bandana-clad people who show up at alt-right rallies or speaking events in order to shut them down before they happen, and they openly embrace violence as a justifiable means to that end.

Antifa is not a monolithic organization, nor does it have anything like a hierarchical leadership structure. It’s an umbrella group that shares a number of causes, the most important of which is resisting white nationalist movements. Adherents are mostly socialists, anarchists, and communists who, according to Mark Bray, a historian at Dartmouth College and author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, “reject turning to the police or the state to halt the advance of white supremacy. Instead they advocate popular opposition to fascism as we witnessed in Charlottesville.”

I reached out to Bray to discuss the group and its burgeoning impact on American politics. He’s sympathetic to antifa’s cause and makes no effort to hide that. He describes the book as “an unabashedly partisan call to arms that aims to equip a new generation of anti-fascists with the history and theory necessary to defeat the resurgent far right.”

In this interview, we talk about the ethics of “militant anti-fascism,” why groups like antifa don’t care if they hurt the Democratic Party, and why resisting fascism in a liberal democracy poses a unique challenge to conventional political norms.

Our conversation, lightly edited for clarity, follows.

The roots of antifa

Sean Illing

What is “antifa”? Where did it come from?

Mark Bray

Anti-fascism originated in response to early European fascism, and when Mussolini’s Blackshirts and Hitler’s Brownshirts were ascendant in Europe, various socialist, communist, and anarchist parties and groups emerged to confront them. When I talk about anti-fascism in the book and when we talk about it today, it’s really a matter of tracing the sort of historical lineage of revolutionary anti-fascist movements that came from below, from the people, and not from the state.

The sort of militant anti-fascism that antifa represents reemerged in postwar Europe in Britain, where fascists had broad rights to organize and demonstrate. You started to see these groups spring up in the 1940s and ’50s and ’60s and ’70s. You saw similar movements in Germany in the ’80s around the time the Berlin Wall falls, when a wave of neo-Nazism rolled across the country targeting immigrants. There, as elsewhere, leftist groups emerged as tools of self-defense. The whole point was to stare down these fascist groups in the street and stop them by force if necessary.

These groups in the ’80s adopted the name antifa, and it eventually spread to the United States in the late ’80s and into the ’90s. Originally, it was known as the Anti-Racist Action Network. That kind of faded in the mid-2000s; the recent wave we’re seeing in the US developed out of it, but has taken on more of the name and the kind of aesthetics of the European movement.

Sean Illing

And this is largely a response to Trump?

Mark Bray

I think so. The basic principle of antifa is “no platform for fascism.” If you ask them, they’ll tell you that they believe you have to deny any and all platforms to fascism, no matter how big or small the threat. The original fascist groups that later seized power in Europe started out very small. You cannot, they argue, treat these groups lightly. You need to take them with the utmost seriousness, and the way to prevent them from growing is to prevent them from having even the first step toward becoming normalized in society.

Why they embrace violence

Sean Illing

What’s their strategic logic? Why do they think physical violence, as opposed to nonviolent resistance, is both justifiable and effective?

Mark Bray

That’s a very good question. Much of what they do does not involve physical confrontation. They also focus on using public opinion to expose white supremacists and raise the social and professional costs of their participation in these groups. They want to see these people fired from their jobs, denounced by their families, marginalized by their communities.

But yes, part of what they do is physical confrontation. They view self-defense as necessary in terms of defending communities against white supremacists. They also see this as a preventative action. They look at the history of fascism in Europe and say, “we have to eradicate this problem before it gets any bigger, before it’s too late.” Sometimes that involves physical confrontation or blocking their marches or whatever the case may be.

It’s also important to remember that these are self-described revolutionaries. They’re anarchists and communists who are way outside the traditional conservative-liberal spectrum. They’re not interested in and don’t feel constrained by conventional norms.

Sean Illing

You say one of the principles of antifa is “no platform for fascism.” How do they define fascism? Where’s the threshold?

Mark Bray

Good question. The other thing that’s worth clarifying is that anti-fascist groups don’t only organize against textbook fascists. There is, first of all, a lot of debate about what constitutes fascism. And it’s a legitimate question to ask — where does one draw the line, and how does one see this kind of organizing?

Of course, there is no central command for a group like antifa. There is no antifa board of directors telling people where that line is, and so of course different groups will assess different threats as they see fit. But I suppose the question you’re raising has to do with the slippery-slope argument, which is that if you start calling everyone a fascist and depriving them of a platform, where does it end?

One of the arguments I make in the book is that while analytically that’s a conversation worth having, I don’t know of any empirical examples of anti-fascists successfully stopping a neo-Nazi group and then moving on to other groups that are not racist but merely to the right. What tends to happen is they disband once they’ve successfully marginalized or eliminated the local right-wing extremist threat, and then return to what they normally do — organizing unions, doing environmental activism, etc.

Do antifa’s tactics actually work?

Sean Illing

You’re a historian. You’ve looked at the data. Is there evidence that the tactics adopted by antifa work? Are there cases of these sorts of groups successfully undercutting fascist movements?

Mark Bray

Another good question. Whenever we look at the question of causation in history, you can never isolate one variable and make grand or definitive conclusions. So I don’t want to overstate any of the causal claims being made here. But Norway is an interesting example. In the ’90s, they had a pretty violent neo-Nazi skinhead movement, and the street-level anti-fascist groups there seemed to play a significant role in marginalizing the threat. By the end of ’90s it was pretty much defunct, and subsequently there hasn’t been a serious fascist [movement] in Norway.

Another example you can look at is popular responses to the National Front [a far-right political party formed in Britain in 1967] in the late ’70s in Britain. The National Front was pretty huge, and the Anti-Nazi League, through both a combination of militant anti-fascist tactics and also some more popular organizing and electoral strategies, managed to successfully deflate the National Front momentum.

One of the most famous moments of that era was the Battle of Lewisham in 1977 where the members of this largely immigrant community physically blocked a big National Front march and that sort of stopped their aggressive efforts to target that community.

They don’t care about liberal democracy

Sean Illing

So antifa’s logic is that fascism is a rejection of liberal democratic norms, and therefore it can’t be defeated with what we’d consider conventional liberal democratic tactics?

Mark Bray

Well, certainly the latter is correct. They argue a couple of things. First, they argue that in Europe you can see that parliamentary democracy did not always stop the advance of fascism and Nazism — and in the cases of both Germany and Italy, Hitler and Mussolini were appointed and gained their power largely through democratic means. When Hitler took his final control through the [1933] Enabling Act, it was approved by parliament.

They also say that rational discourse is insufficient on its own because a lot of good arguments were made and a lot of debates were had but ultimately that was insufficient during that period, and so the view that good ideas always prevail over bad ideas isn’t very convincing.

They other key point, which probably isn’t made enough, is that these are revolutionary leftists. They’re not concerned about the fact that fascism targets liberalism. These are self-described revolutionaries. They have no allegiance to liberal democracy, which they believe has failed the marginalized communities they’re defending. They’re anarchists and communists who are way outside the traditional conservative-liberal spectrum.

Sean Illing

Scholars of nonviolence will say the worldwide abolition of slavery was achieved almost entirely with nonviolent means (our Civil War being an obvious exception), that great strides in women’s rights were made, that nonviolent revolutions in Eastern Europe, South Africa, Chile, Egypt, the Philippines, and elsewhere were all accomplished without the use of force. What’s different about antifa’s mission? Why do they believe violence is more effective in this context?

Mark Bray

As I said earlier, no single factor in history can explain an outcome. It’s always more complicated than that. Certainly that’s true in terms of the abolition of slavery. In Latin America, for example, a lot of the abolition of slavery happened through gradual emancipation laws, and a lot of those laws were enacted in explicit response to the Haitian Revolution and out of fear that if they didn’t start to adjust, they’d have an uprising on their hands.

This is also true of the civil rights movement, where the threat of race riots and Black Panthers and so forth made a lot of white America more sympathetic to the kinds of things that Martin Luther King and his allies were saying than they might have otherwise been.

The case of Nazism is obviously one of those intractable historical problems for advocates of pacifism. Even the school of strategic nonviolence that puts aside the ethical questions in favor of the strategic questions still fails, in my view, to show how nonviolence might have worked in that situation.

But look, anti-fascists will concede that most of the time nonviolence is certainly the way to go. Most antifa members believe it’s far easier to use nonviolent methods than it is to show up and use direct action methods. But they argue that history shows that it’s dangerous to take violence and self-defense off the table.

Why shut down speech?

Sean Illing

Here’s my problem. I think the people who showed up in Charlottesville to square off against self-identified neo-Nazis did the world a service, and I applaud them. But when I see antifa showing up at places like UC Berkeley and setting fire to cars and throwing rocks through windows in order to prevent someone like Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, I think they’ve gone way too far. Milo isn’t a Nazi, and he isn’t an actual threat. He’s a traveling clown looking to offend social justice warriors.

Mark Bray

I think that reasonable people can disagree about this. I can’t speak for the individuals who committed these political actions, but the general defense is that the rationale for shutting down someone like Milo has to do with the fact that his kind of commentary emboldens actual fascists. The Berkeley administrators issued a statement in advance that they feared he was going to out undocumented students on campus, and previously he had targeted a transgender student at the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin. Antifa regards this as an instigation to violence, and so they feel justified in shutting it down.

Again, though, this is much easier to understand when you remember that antifa isn’t concerned with free speech or other liberal democratic values.

What does antifa actually want?

Sean Illing

Antifa defines itself in purely negative terms, in terms of what they’re against. But what do they want? Do they have any concrete political goals?

Mark Bray

That’s a great question, and one that often gets overlooked. For the most part, these are pan-leftist groups composed of leftists of different stripes. They all seem to have different views of what they think the ideal social order looks like. Some of them are Marxists, some are Leninists, some are social democrats or anarchists. But they cohere around a response to what they perceive as a common threat.

Sean Illing

Do you think people are right to be concerned that this type of illiberalism will only occasion more illiberalism in response to it, and that the result will be a spiral of competing illiberalisms?

Mark Bray

As I said before, anti-fascists don’t have any allegiance to liberalism, so that’s not the question that they are focused on. The question is also how much of a threat do we think white supremacists or neo-Nazis pose, both in a literal or immediate sense but also in terms of their ability to influence broader discourses or even the Trump administration.

I believe that for people who are feeling the worst repercussions of this, they are already experiencing a kind of illiberalism in terms of their lack of access to the kinds of freedoms that liberalism promotes and tries to aspire to; and so for me, that’s more of a focus, in terms of trying to mitigate those kinds of problems, than the fears of people who, prior to Trump, thought that everything was fine in the US.

Sean Illing

Do you anticipate antifa becoming larger and more active? And if so, what does that mean for American politics moving forward?

Mark Bray

The first thing to point out is that being part of one of these groups is a huge time commitment, and the vetting process that these groups have for bringing in new people is very strenuous. You have to really commit — it’s basically like a second job. This limits the number of people that are going to be willing to put their time into it. I don’t think the antifa movement is going to explode as much as some do.

But I do think that antifa can influence where leftist politics in America is going. They are aggressive, loud, and fiercely committed. They’re having a wider influence on the radical left in this country, particularly on campuses and with other groups like Black Lives Matter. But I don’t want to overstate antifa’s role in these shifts.

Sean Illing

Well, that dovetails with my final question, which is: Do you think the influence antifa is having on the American left will ultimately hurt the Democratic Party — and by extension help the Republicans?

Mark Bray

Not to be repetitive here, but they don’t care about the Democratic Party. But it’s still an interesting question to consider. Given the disaster that is the Trump presidency, I just think it would be a colossal failure of the Democratic Party not to win the next presidential election and gain a majority in Congress. If they can’t do that given this craziness, then they need to really rethink what they’re doing.

Will a lot of people see antifa and their methods as a poor reflection of the left? Absolutely. But I also think that these are not people who were going to vote Democrat anyway. If you read the news or pay attention to what’s happening, you know that Nancy Pelosi has nothing to do with antifa. This group loathes the Democratic Party, and they don’t hide that.

So anyone who blames the Democrats for antifa is likely already disposed to vote Republican anyway.

Voir encore:

Who are Antifa?

ADL

Antifa: Definition and History:

The anti-fascist protest movement known as antifa gained new prominence in the United States after the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, in August 2017. In Charlottesville and at many subsequent events held by white supremacists or right-wing extremists, antifa activists have aggressively confronted what they believe to be authoritarian movements and groups. While most counter-protestors tend to be peaceful, there have been several instances where encounters between antifa and the far-right have turned violent.

These violent counter-protesters are often part of “antifa” (short for “antifascist”), a loose collection of groups, networks and individuals who believe in active, aggressive opposition to far right-wing movements. Their ideology is rooted in the assumption that the Nazi party would never have been able to come to power in Germany if people had more aggressively fought them in the streets in the 1920s and 30s. Most antifa come from the anarchist movement or from the far left, though since the 2016 presidential election, some people with more mainstream political backgrounds have also joined their ranks.

These antifa sometimes use a logo with a double flag, usually in black and red. The antifa movement began in the 1960s in Europe, and had reached the US by the end of the 1970s.  Most people who show up to counter or oppose white supremacist public events are peaceful demonstrators, but when antifa show up, as they frequently do, they can increase the chances that an event may turn violent.

Today, antifa activists focus on harassing right wing extremists both online and in real life.  Antifa is not a unified group; it is loose collection of local/regional groups and individuals. Their presence at a protest is intended to intimidate and dissuade racists, but the use of violent measures by some antifa against their adversaries can create a vicious, self-defeating cycle of attacks, counter-attacks and blame. This is why most established civil rights organizations criticize antifa tactics as dangerous and counterproductive.

The current political climate increases the chances of violent confrontations at protests and rallies. Antifa have expanded their definition of fascist/fascism to include not just white supremacists and other extremists, but also many conservatives and supporters of President Trump.  In Berkeley, for example, some antifa were captured on video harassing Trump supporters with no known extremist connections.  Antifa have also falsely characterized some recent right wing rallies as “Nazi” events, even though they were not actually white supremacist in nature.

Another concern is the misapplication of the label “antifa” to include all counter-protesters, rather than limiting it to those who proactively seek physical confrontations with their perceived fascist adversaries.  It is critical to understand how antifa fit within the larger counter-protest efforts. Doing so allows law enforcement to focus their resources on the minority who engage in violence without curtailing the civil rights of the majority of peaceful individuals who just want their voices to be heard.

All forms of antifa violence are problematic. Additionally, violence plays into the “victimhood” narrative of white supremacists and other right-wing extremists and can even be used for recruiting purposes.  Images of these “free speech” protesters being beaten by black-clad and bandana-masked antifa provide right wing extremists with a powerful propaganda tool.

That said, it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose. Antifa reject racism but use unacceptable tactics. White supremacists use even more extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate, to intimidate ethnic minorities, and undermine democratic norms. Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years; they have murdered hundreds of people in this country over the last ten years alone.  To date, there have not been any known antifa-related murders.

Antifa: Scope and Tactics:

Today’s antifa argue they are the on-the-ground defense against individuals they believe are promoting fascism in the United States.  However, antifa, who have many anti-police anarchists in their ranks, can also target law enforcement with both verbal and physical assaults because they believe the police are providing cover for white supremacists.  They will sometimes chant against fascism and against law enforcement in the same breath.

While some antifa use their fists, other violent tactics include throwing projectiles, including bricks, crowbars, homemade slingshots, metal chains, water bottles, and balloons filled with urine and feces.  They have deployed noxious gases, pushed through police barricades, and attempted to exploit any perceived weakness in law enforcement presence.

Away from rallies, they also engage in “doxxing,” exposing their adversaries’ identities, addresses, jobs and other private information. This can lead to their opponents being harassed or losing their jobs, among other consequences. Members of the alt right and other right wing extremists have responded with their own doxxing campaigns, and by perpetuating hateful and violent narratives using fake “antifa” social media accounts.

Because there is no unifying body for antifa, it is impossible to know how many “members” are currently active.  Different localities have antifa populations of different strengths, but antifa are also sometimes willing to travel hundreds of miles to oppose a white supremacist event.

Voir enfin:

The assault on conservative journalist Andy Ngo, explained

An unjustifiable attack — and a subsequent controversy spotlighting the militant left-wing group antifa.

Last Saturday, the far-right Proud Boys group held a rally in Portland, Oregon. Left-wing groups, including the Portland branch of the militant antifa group, put together a counterprotest — whose attendees clashed with the Proud Boys. But the most notable instance of violence had nothing to do with the Proud Boys: It was an attack by counterprotesters on the conservative journalist Andy Ngo that reportedly sent him to the hospital.

In footage captured by Portland-based reporter Jim Ryan, demonstrators douse Ngo in milkshake, punch him, and yell at him. In short, it looks a lot like an unprovoked, unjustified, reprehensible assault on an observer — a journalist — merely because the protesters don’t like him.

But the aftermath of the attack — the narratives both sides have spun out of the basic facts established by the footage — is much trickier to assess.

In the dominant narrative, pushed by the conservative and mainstream media alike, the attack on Ngo is evidence of a serious left-wing violence problem in America. Antifa, they argue, is a group of street thugs that has repeatedly attacked journalists and poses a genuine threat to public safety. The fact that the left tolerates antifa, or even celebrates them, is proof of a serious rot; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has called for an investigation into the events in Portland.

“I pray for full and speedy recovery for journalist Andy Ngo,” writes Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader. “The hate and violence perpetrated by Antifa must be condemned in the strongest possible way by all Americans.”

But according to a second narrative, offered primarily by less well-known left-liberal writers and social media accounts, the mainstream media is getting it all wrong. Ngo is not an innocent victim but a far-right sympathizer who has doxxed antifa members in the past, potentially facilitating their harassment, and provokes them so that he can broadcast the result. The outpouring of sympathy for Ngo, in this account, is actually evidence that the mainstream media is falling for Ngo’s grift — funneling money to his Patreon and legitimizing a right-wing smear campaign against a group that’s working to protect people from the threat of violence from groups like the Proud Boys.

The two main figures in these events are Ngo and antifa.

The publication where Ngo is an editor, Quillette, is widely seen as a major hub of the “intellectual dark web” — a loose collection of anti-political correctness, anti-identity politics, anti-left media figures and reporters. Ngo is the closest thing the intellectual dark web has to a gonzo journalist, someone who goes into allegedly hostile places and documents them for his more than 200,000 Twitter followers to illustrate that the IDW is right about the threat from multiculturalism and the left.

Last year, for example, Ngo went to the UK to chronicle the supposed threat the rising Muslim population posed to British society. The resulting article, “A Visit to Islamic England,” claimed England was being quietly conquered by fundamentalist Islam.

The piece was shredded by actual Brits. Most amusingly, Ngo presented a London sign reading “alcohol restricted zone” as evidence of Islamic dominance in the Whitechapel neighborhood; it was actually a public safety ordinance designed to discourage public acts of drunkenness from patrons of nearby pubs, bars, and strip clubs.

Ngo’s coverage of left-wing protesters is similarly ideological. He views left-wing activists, like Muslim immigrants to the West, as a threat to free and open societies. His reporting plays up acts of vandalism, violence, and hostility to free speech without a comparable focus on the much more frequent and deadly actions of right-wing extremists.

Antifa is a perfect foil for Ngo. The group of typically black-clad activists are radicals who believe the best way to deal with the rise of white supremacy and hate groups in the Trump era is by confronting them on the street. Sometimes, this means organizing demonstrations against them; other times, it means brawling in the streets.

“They view self-defense as necessary in terms of defending communities against white supremacists,” Mark Bray, a Dartmouth historian who studies antifa, told my colleague Sean Illing in a 2017 interview. “They have no allegiance to liberal democracy, which they believe has failed the marginalized communities they’re defending. They’re anarchists and communists who are way outside the traditional conservative-liberal spectrum.”

Antifa does not have a central command structure, and its members are typically anonymous. While not all antifa activities involve physical confrontation, some do have a nasty habit of assaulting people — including journalists, as some reporter friends of mine like Taylor Lorenz, who were attacked while live-streaming in Charlottesville, Virginia, can speak to.

Portland, where Ngo lives, has seen a particularly notable number of brawls between antifa and far-right groups in recent years. Ngo has not only documented antifa activities but published at least one member’s full name alongside a picture — “doxxing” her, in internet parlance, and exposing her to retaliation. Ngo’s work on this front had made him well-known to antifa, and profoundly despised — he claims, for example, that an antifa member assaulted and robbed him at his gym.

In mid-June, he reported advance news of an event on June 29 in Portland by the “Proud Boys” — a far-right group who describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and are a major antifa nemesis. Portland antifa, who organized a counterprotest, issued a statement warning about the event that criticized Ngo by name.

The stage was set for a major confrontation between Ngo and antifa. And when he showed up at their event over the weekend, that’s exactly what happened.

What the right and left narratives of the attack reveal

The attack on Ngo appeared to be taking place at a left-wing counter-rally to the Proud Boys event. It was a march, and while there was at least one scuffle between left-wingers and Proud Boys at one point, the situation where Ngo was filming with his GoPro did not appear violent prior to the attack on him.

The footage is only 30 seconds long, so it doesn’t show whether Ngo was antagonizing the demonstrators in some other way. But if you watch it, Ngo clearly comes across as the victim of an attack:

Ngo was recognized by the crowd, as people yell things like, “Fuck you, Andy Ngo!” He was punched without any attempt to retaliate, covering his face with his hands in a defensive posture. You can see him being hit with a milkshake (a common tactic used against right-wing figures in the UK), egged, and sprayed with silly string.

Footage from the aftermath, taken by Ngo himself, shows his face battered and bloody. According to a statement by Quillette’s editors, the attack produced “a brain hemorrhage that required Ngo’s overnight hospitalization.”

It’s important to reiterate: Beating people up is reprehensible. Whoever punched Ngo, antifa or otherwise, committed a crime.

The right/center and left narratives go beyond that central point to claim Saturday’s events for their team. In the process, they tend to distort the facts, trying to make it fit their worldview when it doesn’t quite conform.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, for example, argued that this was part of a broader pattern of antifa violence — retweeting an interview with Ngo in which he compares antifa to the neo-Nazi who killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in 2017.

But antifa has not committed a single murder, at least that we’re aware of. We don’t yet have proof that the people who assaulted Ngo were antifa members (though it seems likely given their history). And the attack on Ngo seems less like a part of a broader pattern of attacks on journalists than it does part of a specific feud between Portland antifa and Ngo; they didn’t appear to target other journalists at the rally in the same fashion (which doesn’t excuse the attack on Ngo).

The problem with this narrative is not that antifa is blameless. Some of its members clearly have crossed the line. It’s that hyping the threat they pose paints a decentralized group with a broad and simple brush, and contributes to a disproportionate right-wing panic in the process.

Portland police, based on a theory developed by one officer, tweeted that the milkshakes being thrown by protesters may have been mixed with quick-dry cement. There is at best flimsy evidence for this claim, which is hard to believe as a matter of sheer physics (sugar slows the process of concrete setting). There’s also footage of people drinking the milkshakes, which you wouldn’t do if it were a hidden cement vector. But that didn’t stop the quick-dry cement claim from being reported as fact in right-wing outlets, including Fox News.

This is part of a broader narrative, largely sold on the right, designed to paint antifa as an equal-and-opposite number to neo-Nazi groups — Fox’s Laura Ingraham has even proposed labeling antifa as terrorists. The idea is to paint a picture of symmetrical radicalization, one in which both sides have extremist flanks that pose a major threat to civil peace.

But that’s simply inaccurate. As bad as antifa’s transgressions have been, the far right has been worse. There is no antifa equivalent to Heyer’s murder, or the Charleston church shooting, or the attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue. Antifa has no relationship with the Democratic Party nor do its members really support the party; alt-right activists are Trump fans, and at times seem to get tacit support from the White House (again, see Charlottesville). A national focus on antifa can distract from the much greater problem of far-right extremism — as watchdog groups have argued.

“All forms of antifa violence are problematic,” the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish anti-hate group, writes in its primer on the group. “That said, it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose.” The guide continues:

Antifa reject racism but use unacceptable tactics. White supremacists use even more extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate, to intimidate ethnic minorities, and undermine democratic norms. Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years; they have murdered hundreds of people in this country over the last ten years alone. To date, there have not been any known antifa-related murders.

But the left-wing narrative of events where Ngo is the real villain has serious problems too. It’s indicative of a hunger on the left, amid administration horrors like child detention camps and the scary rise in far-right non-state violence, to create a “with us or against us” mentality.

It’s fine to dislike Ngo’s journalism (I do), and to argue that he has intentionally antagonized antifa in order to provoke them. But just because Ngo has filmed Portland leftists, or even doxxed them, doesn’t mean they are justified in using physical force against him.

Antifa members aren’t morally inert forces of nature. They have agency, and they don’t need to respond to Ngo’s antagonism with violence. The fact that some in the group seem to have done so exposes that some who identify as antifa aren’t nearly as purely anti-fascist as they want observers to think. Antifa may oppose the alt-right first and foremost, but members direct their clashes at a broader set of targets than anyone who can fairly be called a “fascist.”

There’s also a strange meme emerging in some antifa-sympathetic quarters that Ngo is somehow “not a journalist.”

This is clearly incorrect. Ngo is a writer and photographer who contributes to journalistic outlets. That’s journalism, even if you don’t like the content.

Street confrontations and the culture war

The divergent interpretations of the Ngo situation, based on limited evidence, reminds me of the Covington Catholic controversy in January.

In that incident, a short viral video showed a group of white teens in “Make America Great Again” hats surrounding a small group of Native American demonstrators, including an elder from the Omaha tribe named Nathan Phillips. One of the kids, identified as Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, stands in Phillips’s face and smirks, unaffected by the drumming. It looks like a straightforward story of privileged racist white kids harassing a peaceful Native protester.

But shortly after the clip went viral, to universal and at times vitriolic condemnation, a pushback began in right-of-center media. Some argued that mainstream media and left-wing activists alike were being unfair to the kids, who were actually defending themselves from insults and harassment from a separate group of protesters, members of the fringe Black Israelite movement.

There was far more footage of this incident than the Ngo one, yet it was difficult to be certain which side had a more accurate read of the situation. It’s clear some of the kids were confused by Phillips; it’s equally clear some of the kids were making racist gestures. We don’t know what was in Sandmann’s head when he was standing in front of Phillips.

But the Covington incident dominated American politics for days because both sides saw what they wanted to in the footage. The left, which sees white supremacy as one of its fundamental enemies, was quick — in some cases, too quick — to identify Sandmann and his classmates as villains.

The right’s reaction, in turn, revealed several of its core assumptions that white Christians are persecuted minorities, that overzealous social justice warriors represent an existential threat to a free society, and that the media is on their enemies’ side.

A related dynamic seems to be shaping up in the Ngo case: The right sees proof that the left is radicalizing, a threat to them and their safety, and hypes up the risk they pose. The left sees a hostile journalist trying to gin up sympathy and dollars via his Patreon account, and warns that he’s trying to trick the public into excusing his anti-left propaganda work.

It’s never been easier to capture footage of a confrontation at a rally or other public event. Social media, particularly Twitter, can amplify an ideologically particular interpretation of events before all the evidence is in — allowing a contradictory narrative to form on the other side in response, highlighting its own selective interpretation of what happened.

This is particularly likely to happen at heated events like protests. As the New York Times’s Charlie Warzel points out, Ngo is not the only person who goes to such events with the intent of filming something notable:

But we know, as filmmakers long have, that footage doesn’t convey the objective reality of a situation; it reveals certain things and obscures others. Moreover, the meaning of filmed events is entirely open to contestation. The mere fact that Ngo was assaulted doesn’t say what the meaning of that assault is, or what the broader context is that’s necessary to understand it.

The result is a never-ending stream of Rorschach test controversies pushed on social media, in which either the meaning of events on film or even the very facts of what’s being depicted are litigated endlessly and tied to our right-versus-left culture war.

The attack on Andy Ngo is not the first situation where political factions have used a high-profile video to claim that the other side is the real threat to the public — nor will it be the last.

Voir par ailleurs:

Trump is a pit bull fighting for America: Devine

The New York Post

Quick! Get out the smelling salts for all the faint hearts hyperventilating about President Trump’s “lack of decorum” at Tuesday night’s debate.

Did they really expect him to play by Marquess of Queensberry rules?

Jake Tapper on CNN lamented that a friend’s sixth-grade daughter “burst into tears, had to run to bed” because she was “so appalled” by Trump’s behavior.

Debate reviews by media bien pensants were summarized in a Joe Biden campaign email Wednesday morning, titled, “Trump Blew it, Bigly.”

It quoted columnists at the Washington Post and the New York Times excoriating Trump’s “nihilism,” “norm-busting” and “nasty, unsettling meanness.”

Never-Trumper Max Boot was typical: “Trump showed no respect for time limits, human decency or the truth.”

Frank Bruni’s take at the Times was: “After that fiasco, Biden should refuse to debate Trump again.”

Entertainer Bette Midler took to Twitter to call Trump “a pig” and demand “a kill switch on the microphone or there’s no reason to do this again.”

Bob Woodward told MSNBC that Trump “is assassinating the presidency.”

Mika Brzezinski was apoplectic: “Why in the hell should [Biden] get back on stage with that fool.”

Sure enough, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that future moderators will be given a kill switch to cut candidates’ microphones.

But if Democrats are so certain their man won, why are they so anxious for him not to participate in more debates, and why do they want a kill switch to control the ­debaters?

As for all the sad sacks in the ­media lamenting Trump’s trampling of “norms,” what have they been doing the past four years but trashing norms by promoting rancid lies about the president, lies pursued by the FBI and CIA to strangle his presidency at birth.

In any case, the Democratic candidate supposedly running a “decorum” ticket let loose a string of Tourette’s-style schoolyard insults, calling the president a “liar,” “fool,” “clown,” “racist” and “stupid.”

“Shut up, man,” said Biden.

Trump’s goading succeeded in ripping off Biden’s “nice guy” mask and forcing him to fight in the ­gutter.

Instinctively, or deliberately, the president engaged in a winning fighting strategy deployed by the best national rugby team in the world, New Zealand’s All Blacks. They come out hard in the first phase of the game, using sheer brute violence to probe their opponents’ weaknesses. It’s not pretty but it’s effective if your goal is to win.

So if Biden gives it his best effort in the next two debates rather than using Trump’s lack of decorum as an excuse not to engage, then you’ll see the president calibrating his ­attacks to zero in on Biden’s vulnerabilities.

Sure, the debate was a chaotic mess. But the emotional takeaway was this: In a turbulent world with circling predators like Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom do you want defending America? An aggressive pit bull who will do anything to win, or a smirking milquetoast hurling schoolyard insults.

This view probably is behind the fact that 66 percent of Spanish-speaking viewers of Telemundo judged Trump the winner of the debate, the opposite result of similar insta-polls on CNN and CBS News.

After all, if you’ve lived through a socialist dictatorship or MS-13 tyranny, you appreciate a tough leader to protect you.

Americans voted for Trump in 2016 precisely because he is a pit bull, a barbarian, a gun-slinger they hired to fight the dirty left, drain the swamp, bring back their jobs from China and stand up for the flag, family and common sense.

They don’t care that he doesn’t act “presidential” as long as he fights for them.

Of course, it would have been better for the president to tone down the interruptions and give Biden enough slack to lose his train of thought and say something ridiculous, as he usually does when talking without a teleprompter.

But we should not be surprised by the rancor of the debate.

It reflects the rancor tearing apart this country, pitting neighbor against neighbor, children against parents, friend against friend.

You can see it in the street in Scranton, Pa., where Biden spent his first 10 years.

At first sight, tree-lined North Washington Avenue is an all-Democrat enclave, with a “Biden 2020” or “Scranton Loves Joe” yard sign in front of about every third house.

But that’s not because Trump supporters don’t live on the street. It’s because their signs get stolen.

“A lot of people here are under the radar,” says financial planner Tom Moran, 61, whose Dutch Tudor home down the road from Biden’s childhood home is adorned with a giant Trump flag.

“I know at least 25 people on the street who are Trump supporters, but they don’t have signs up.”

He has lost three signs and neighbors down the road have lost two. The only other Trump sign on the street is tucked safely behind a window.

“It’s been a constant battle and when you have the signs out, there’s an intimidation factor.”

The animosity between Trump’s and Biden’s supporters is like nothing he’s seen before.

“My wife and my 3-year-old daughter have been outside, and guys have driven by and rolled their window down and yelled obscenities. It’s disgusting but it’s just the kind of crappy stuff that’s happening.

“My daughter’s been isolated from the neighbors’ kids. Last summer they were all playing together. This summer they won’t play with her.

“It is mean. I can’t explain it but this is the behavior we’re seeing.”

As we speak, a neighbor walks by with his dog, raises his fist and yells, “Trump all the way. Biden is a loser.”

It’s not the fault of the president or Biden or moderator Chris Wallace that Tuesday’s debate was an acrimonious shambles.

It’s the way the country is right now.

Voir aussi:

‘Will You Shut Up, Man?’

Amazing that just five words from the debate may tip voters who are undecided between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

The Wall Street Journal

A reader emailed me before dawn Wednesday to say that in more than 60 years of presidential debates, he had never seen anything like what happened hours earlier. Yes, it’s true, we’re still in Trump Land, Toto.

One can imagine analysis will arrive from Trump Land that blowing up the debate was Mr. Trump’s plan going in. What other than a thought-out strategy, perhaps to capture the so-called secret Trump voters, could explain the president dynamiting it from start to finish?

Conventional wisdom is that because it was a debacle, the debate didn’t change any minds. But the high percentage of committed party-line voters has been a reality for months. Other than driving turnout from a polarized electorate, these presidential debates are about winning at the margin by pulling over undecided or leaning voters.

This especially includes women, with whom Mr. Trump lately has been underwater and sinking in battleground-state polls. Here’s guessing few women migrated to the Trump column Tuesday evening.

The second, policy-based prong is to drive the perception of Mr. Trump that is freshest in the public’s mind—that he mishandled the coronavirus, the biggest public-health threat of our lifetimes. Set aside how little the reality comports with this charge. Reality is irrelevant to an opposition election strategy.

Polls have put public disapproval of Mr. Trump on the virus at nearly 57%, a high number given that most governors have strong approval ratings on the virus. This is almost entirely a function of the early, ill-run coronavirus news conferences, which consisted mainly of Mr. Trump promoting himself and picking fights with reporters, when the country was tuning in daily for straight information about the emerging crisis. If Mr. Trump loses, those press conferences will be the straw that did it.

Central to the Biden team’s strategy is their recognition that Mr. Trump’s Achilles’ heel is personal criticism. He can’t take it. Ever. His instinct to crack back is hair-trigger.

This worked for him in the 2016 GOP primary debates against Low Energy Jeb, Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco and the rest. It sort of worked because the jammed stage minimized his time on target. Though not to everyone’s taste, his primary debate performances established Mr. Trump in many voters’ minds as the Anti-Politician.

The crack-back compulsion continued with the White House press corps, and in time became less amusing. Instead of opportunities to explain his policies, the exchanges turned into tiresome, predictable cat fights. Goading Mr. Trump became a press routine, like working out at the gym.

Mr. Trump has been called, not without justification, a necessary bull in the dusty china shop of politics. But Tuesday night he looked like a bull on the floor of an arena, tiring and turning first to face picador Chris Wallace and then lurching back at Mr. Biden’s toreador. It got hard to watch.

Mr. Biden proved he isn’t Mel Brooks’s 2,000-year-old man, but he is an aging politician, unable to sustain a normal campaign and struggling to reconcile or explain his party’s abrupt drift to the edge of socialism. But with 47 years in the trenches, Mr. Biden is a political pro, which means being case-hardened against personal criticism.

The debate was 90 minutes of maybe the only thing Joe Biden is still good at—parrying attacks, whether from former presidential candidate Kamala Harris or Mr. Trump. When Mr. Trump finally played the Hunter Biden card and “cocaine use,” Mr. Biden said his son, “like a lot of people at home,” was fixing the problem—and millions of moms nodded in sympathy.

Mr. Biden ran through his talking points, however preposterous, such as suggesting cops take along a psychiatrist on 911 calls. The biggest Biden vulnerability came when he asserted, “You can’t fix the economy until you fix the Covid crisis.” Lockdowns to the horizon.

The president’s response—that people want their schools and restaurants open and that he restarted Big Ten football—was OK but not enough on an issue central to his re-election.

Mr. Trump has a good story to tell. The speakers at the impressive GOP convention created a narrative template for the campaign, but that story wasn’t told Tuesday night.

When asked to address race in the U.S., giving Mr. Trump a chance to talk about his prison releases and minority job creation, he segued into a 25-year-old anecdote about Mr. Biden and “superpredators.” Even sympathetic voters have difficulty absorbing a good political record if it’s conveyed to them in random semi-soundbites.

This first presidential debate will be remembered for five words: “Will you shut up, man?” Amazing to think that may be what turns deciding votes in this election.

Trump Has Condemned White Supremacists

Former Vice President Joe Biden wrongly claimed President Donald Trump has “yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis.”

Trump drew criticism for his condemnation of “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” after a rally organized by a white nationalist in Charlottesville in 2017, and for saying there were “very fine people on both sides.” But, contrary to Biden’s claim, the president twice specifically condemned white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and he has repeated that condemnation since.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Biden was asked what the consequences would be of a Trump victory in 2020. Biden responded that Trump would “go on dividing us based on race.”

Biden, Feb. 9: George, I, honest to God believe, they’re going to change the nature of who we are for a long, long time. Our children are listening. The idea — the man who can belittle people, go on dividing us based on race, religion, ethnicity, based on all the things that, in fact, make up America is just incredibly divisive. You see these white supremacists coming out from under the rocks. He’s yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis. He hasn’t condemned a darn thing. He has given them oxygen. And that’s what’s going to continue to happen. That’s who this guy is. He has no basic American values — he doesn’t understand the American code.

Biden has said that Trump’s comments in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally convinced him to run for president. In a video announcing his candidacy, Biden said Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” comment “assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it” and “shocked the conscience of the nation.”

Trump has said his “very fine people” comment referred not to white supremacists and neo-Nazis but to “people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee — a great general, whether you like it or not.” Some have argued that explanation doesn’t hold up, because Trump referred in that statement to a protest “the night before” when — it was widely reported white nationalists burned tiki torches and chanted anti-Semitic and white nationalist slogans. We’ll leave it to readers to make up their minds on Trump’s remarks, but Biden’s comment that Trump has “yet once to condemn white supremacy” is not accurate.

Let’s revisit Trump’s comments in the days after the Charlottesville rally. That rally turned violent, and one person, Heather Heyer, was killed and many others injured, when a man with a history of making racist comments plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters.

The day of that incident Trump said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides.” Trump said he had spoken to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and “we agreed that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection — really — and I say this so strongly — true affection for each other.”

Two days later, on Aug. 14, 2017, Trump issued a statement from the White House, and referred to “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Trump, Aug. 14, 2017: As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.

And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.

Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.

During a press conference the following day, Aug. 15, 2017, Trump explained his initial “many sides” comment.

“You had a group on one side that was bad,” Trump said. “And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.” He added, “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

Here’s the relevant portion when the president said some in the group protesting the removal of the Lee statue were “very fine people”:

Reporter, Aug. 15, 2017: You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides …

Trump: Well, I do think there’s blame – yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And, and, and, and if you reported it accurately, you would say.

Reporter: The neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville. …

Trump: Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo — and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name. …

It’s fine, you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.

Reporter: I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly? …

Trump: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: There are two sides to a story.

So, contrary to Biden’s claim that Trump has “yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis,” in the course of two days, Trump did it twice.

Trump, Aug. 14, 2017: Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

Trump, Aug. 15, 2017: I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.

Nor was that the last time Trump condemned white supremacy by name.

After nearly two dozen people were killed on Aug. 3, 2019, in a shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Trump said: “The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need.”

Biden said that since Trump took office, “You see these white supremacists coming out from under the rocks.” Last March, we looked into that issue, and experts told us there are a number of indicators that suggest white nationalism and white supremacy — and violence inspired by them — are on the rise, in the U.S. and around the world.

It’s Biden’s opinion that Trump’s comments have “given them oxygen,” as he said. But Biden went too far when he said Trump has “yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis. He hasn’t condemned a darn thing.” He has, although perhaps not as often or as quickly as Biden would like.

Voir aussi:

Qui sont les «Proud Boys», que Donald Trump appelle à se tenir «prêts»?

Interrogé lors du débat avec Joe Biden sur le nationalisme blanc, le président américain a adressé un message à l’organisation d’extrême droite: «Proud Boys, mettez-vous en retrait, tenez-vous prêts».

Stanislas Poyet

30 septembre 2020

Alors que le présentateur lui demandait s’il condamnait les suprémacistes blancs lors de son premier débat face à Joe Biden, Donald Trump s’est fendu d’une réponse énigmatique. «Proud Boys, mettez-vous en retrait, tenez-vous prêts», a déclaré le président des États-Unis, avant d’accuser les milices antifa d’extrême gauche de l’essentiel des violences observées en manifestation. Il a finalement fait volte-face mercredi appelant les milices d’extrême droite à «laisser la police faire son travail». «Je ne sais pas qui sont les Proud Boys», a-t-il également affirmé.

Alors, qui sont ces «Proud boys» («fiers garçons», en anglais) dont Donald Trump a fait mention? Il s’agit d’une organisation d’extrême droite américaine, qui se décrit comme une fraternité, un «club d’homme», qui assume ses positions pro-Trump. L’organisation a été décrite comme «un groupe de haine» par le Southern Poverty Law Center, une association qui observe les groupes d’extrême droite.

Fin novembre 2018, il a été rapporté, sur la base d’une note interne de la police du comté de Clark, que le FBI avait classé les «Proud Boys» comme «un groupe extrémiste lié au nationalisme blanc». L’information a été plus tard démentie par un responsable du FBI, précisant que la police fédérale américaine surveillait simplement ce groupe.

Violence, misogynie et arme à feu

Les «Proud Boys» cultivent un idéal de force, largement emprunt de misogynie, et de racisme – ce dont ils se défendent. Le groupe s’adresse aux hommes qui «refusent de s’excuser d’avoir créé le monde moderne». Il défend le port d’armes à feu, «l’entreprenariat» et la «femme au foyer», tout en s’opposant au «politiquement correct» et à l’immigration.

Pour défendre les «valeurs occidentales», les «Proud Boys» revendiquent le recours à la violence. «Je veux de la violence, je veux des coups de poing au visage. Je suis déçu que les partisans de Trump n’aient pas suffisamment frappé», déclarait ainsi Gavin McInnes, le fondateur du groupe. Pour Heidi Beirich, directrice du projet de renseignement pour le Southern Poverty Law Center, assumer la violence à ce point n’est pas commun chez les groupes d’extrême droite.

Je veux de la violence, je veux des coups de poing au visage. Je suis déçu que les partisans de Trump n’aient pas suffisamment frappé

Gavin McInnes, fondateur des «Proud Boys»

Selon le rapport interne de la police du comté de Clark se référant au FBI, le groupe «a contribué à l’escalade récente de la violence lors de rassemblements politiques organisés sur les campus universitaires et dans des villes comme Charlottesville, Virginie, Portland, Oregon et Seattle, Washington».

«Hipster raciste»

Le média américain Vox a affublé les «Proud boys» du sobriquet de «hipster racistes». Le mouvement tient en effet fortement à la personnalité charismatique et fantasque de son fondateur, Gavin McInnes, un canado-britannique résidant au États-Unis, considéré comme l’un des initiateurs du mouvement hipster, qui cofonda le magazine Vice en 1994. En 2018, il quitte officiellement la présidence du groupe, mais il y reste fortement impliqué.

S’ils ne portent pas à proprement parler d’uniformes, les «Proud Boys» se reconnaissent à leurs polos de la marque Fred Perry noirs et jaunes. La marque, déjà primée par les groupes skinhead, a plusieurs fois jugé nécessaire de se démarquer du groupe, en demandant à ses membres de cesser de porter leurs polos. En septembre 2020, Fred Perry a annoncé qu’il cessait de vendre ses polos noirs et jaunes en Amérique du Nord et au Canada.

Ce mardi, le noir et le jaune se retrouvaient sur les pages Facebook «Proud Boys». L’adresse de Donald Trump lors du débat a été récupérée pour en faire un logo: «Stand Back, Stand By», «Reculez, tenez-vous prêts».

Voir également:

Aux Etats-Unis, les Proud Boys, miliciens d’extrême droite, fiers d’être cités par le président

Donald Trump leur a enjoint, lors du débat télévisé de mardi soir, de se « mettre en retrait » et de « se tenir prêt ».

Corine Lesnes

Le Monde

30 septembre 2020

Les membres de la milice d’extrême droite des Proud Boys n’ont pas été peu fiers de s’entendre donner des consignes par le président des Etats-Unis. Pendant son débat contre Joe Biden, mardi 29 septembre, Donald Trump a été invité par le modérateur Chris Wallace à répudier solennellement la violence d’extrême droite. « Etes-vous prêt ce soir à condamner les suprémacistes blancs et les milices et à dire qu’ils doivent rentrer dans le rang et ne pas ajouter à la violence ? », a invité le journaliste.

« J’y suis tout à fait disposé », a répondu M. Trump, avant d’ajouter que la violence émanait surtout de l’extrême gauche, « et non de l’aile droite ». Le présentateur ayant insisté, le président a fait mine de s’exécuter et, puisque Joe Biden avait mentionné les Proud Boys, c’est à eux qu’il s’est adressé : « Proud Boys, mettez-vous en retrait et tenez-vous prêts », a-t-il lancé. « Mais il faut que quelqu’un fasse quelque chose au sujet de ces antifas et de la gauche. Ce n’est pas un problème de l’aile droite. C’est la gauche. » La mouvance d’extrême gauche, dite antifa, a été rendue responsable de nombre de violences urbaines, notamment à Portland (Oregon) en marge des manifestations antiracistes de Black Lives Matter.

Le débat présidentiel n’était pas encore terminé que les membres du groupe célébraient, sur les réseaux sociaux, cette légitimation qualifiée d’« historique ». Quelques heures plus tard l’expression de M. Trump – « stand back and stand by » – était ajoutée au logo des « Boys ». « Ce que le président a dit, c’est qu’on pouvait se payer » les antifas, a commenté sur Twitter Joe Biggs, l’une des figures du groupe, en se déclarant « ravi » de poursuivre l’affrontement. « Sir, a-t-il ajouté, emphatique. Nous sommes prêts ! »

« Caravanes pour Trump »

Les Proud Boys, groupuscule qui n’accepte pas de femmes, fondé en 2016 par le cofondateur de Vice Media Gavin McInnes, en même temps que l’apparition de la mouvance identitaire, nationaliste et islamophobe de l’alt-right, pour « alternative right », sont considérés comme un « groupe de haine » (« hate group ») par le SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center), qui fait autorité dans l’analyse des extrémistes. Jusqu’à la victoire de M. Trump, ils se cantonnaient à une présence sur Internet. Cette année, ils font bruyamment campagne pour la réélection du républicain. Pendant l’été, ils ont organisé des « caravanes pour Trump », cortèges de 4 × 4 qu’ils aiment amener, armés de fusils d’assaut ou de paintballs, au cœur des villes progressistes.

Ce n’est pas la première fois que le président manifeste de l’indulgence pour l’extrême droite. Après les affrontements de Charlottesville, en Virginie, en août 2017 lors d’une manifestation à laquelle avaient participé les mêmes Proud Boys, il avait renvoyé suprémacistes blancs et manifestants antiracistes dos à dos, estimant qu’il y avait « des gens bien des deux côtés ». Alors que la société américaine accepte de plus en plus largement l’idée de racisme structurel, le débat de mardi a montré que Donald Trump n’avait pas évolué.

Voir par ailleurs:

Are Anarchists for Real

Or just a sideshow barometer for social breakage?

Jeremy Lee Quinn

Public report

September 17, 2020

Establishment media still continues to overlook trending Anarchist black bloc tactics especially in DC, Portland & Seattle with satellite activity in Denver, Sacramento and San Diego.

AdBusters – Blackspot, the Vancouver collective that organized Occupy Wall Street, announced over the summer big plans for a DC Occupation.

But aligned groups & Northwest elements of Insurrectionary Anarchism have yet to join in. Do Anarchists have the cohesion and apparatus outside of BLM for anything other than constant agitation from within?

NOTE: We’ve been undercover marching with self described Insurrectionary Anarchists in DC, Seattle, Portland & beyond.

So yes. They’re real – but localized without a major event to capitalize on. Insurrectionary Anarchist ideology & rhetoric however has permeated into the social justice movement with blazing efficiency.


Guerres culturelles: La ‘wokeité’ serait-elle le christianisme des imbéciles ? (Purer-than-thou: Behind the fourth Great Awakening we now see taking to our streets once again is nothing but the Girardian escalation of mimetic rivalry, former Weekly Standard literary editor Joseph Bottum says)

26 septembre, 2020
California Ghost Town, Bodie State Historical Park - My Yosemite ParkClassic Lincoln & Hamlin Wide Awakes 1860 Campaign Ribbon, white | Lot #25784 | Heritage Auctions
Woke | Know Your MemeDictionary.com Adds Words: 'Woke,' 'Butthurt' and 'Pokemon' | Time
PNG - 393.4 koL’antisémitisme est le socialisme des imbéciles. Ferdinand Kronawetter ? (attribué à August Bebel)
Je les ai foulés dans ma colère, Je les ai écrasés dans ma fureur; Leur sang a jailli sur mes vêtements, Et j’ai souillé tous mes habits. Car un jour de vengeance était dans mon coeur (…) J’ai foulé des peuples dans ma colère, Je les ai rendus ivres dans ma fureur, Et j’ai répandu leur sang sur la terre. Esaïe 63: 3-6
Et l’ange jeta sa faucille sur la terre. Et il vendangea la vigne de la terre, et jeta la vendange dans la grande cuve de la colère de Dieu. Et la cuve fut foulée hors de la ville; et du sang sortit de la cuve, jusqu’aux mors des chevaux, sur une étendue de mille six cents stades. Apocalypse 14: 19-20
Mes yeux ont vu la gloire de la venue du Seigneur; Il piétine le vignoble où sont gardés les raisins de la colère; Il a libéré la foudre fatidique de sa terrible et rapide épée; Sa vérité est en marche. (…) Dans la beauté des lys Christ est né de l’autre côté de l’océan, Avec dans sa poitrine la gloire qui nous transfigure vous et moi; Comme il est mort pour rendre les hommes saints, mourons pour rendre les hommes libres; Tandis que Dieu est en marche. Julia Ward Howe (1861)
La colère commence à luire dans les yeux de ceux qui ont faim. Dans l’âme des gens, les raisins de la colère se gonflent et mûrissent, annonçant les vendanges prochaines. John Steinbeck (1939)
La civilisation atteindra la perfection le jour où la dernière pierre de la dernière église aura assommé le dernier prêtre. Attribué à Zola
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
La nature d’une civilisation, c’est ce qui s’agrège autour d’une religion. Notre civilisation est incapable de construire un temple ou un tombeau. Elle sera contrainte de trouver sa valeur fondamentale, ou elle se décomposera. C’est le grand phénomène de notre époque que la violence de la poussée islamique. Sous-estimée par la plupart de nos contemporains, cette montée de l’islam est analogiquement comparable aux débuts du communisme du temps de Lénine. Les conséquences de ce phénomène sont encore imprévisibles. A l’origine de la révolution marxiste, on croyait pouvoir endiguer le courant par des solutions partielles. Ni le christianisme, ni les organisations patronales ou ouvrières n’ont trouvé la réponse. De même aujourd’hui, le monde occidental ne semble guère préparé à affronter le problème de l’islam. En théorie, la solution paraît d’ailleurs extrêmement difficile. Peut-être serait-elle possible en pratique si, pour nous borner à l’aspect français de la question, celle-ci était pensée et appliquée par un véritable homme d’Etat. Les données actuelles du problème portent à croire que des formes variées de dictature musulmane vont s’établir successivement à travers le monde arabe. Quand je dis «musulmane» je pense moins aux structures religieuses qu’aux structures temporelles découlant de la doctrine de Mahomet. Dès maintenant, le sultan du Maroc est dépassé et Bourguiba ne conservera le pouvoir qu’en devenant une sorte de dictateur. Peut-être des solutions partielles auraient-elles suffi à endiguer le courant de l’islam, si elles avaient été appliquées à temps. Actuellement, il est trop tard ! Les «misérables» ont d’ailleurs peu à perdre. Ils préféreront conserver leur misère à l’intérieur d’une communauté musulmane. Leur sort sans doute restera inchangé. Nous avons d’eux une conception trop occidentale. Aux bienfaits que nous prétendons pouvoir leur apporter, ils préféreront l’avenir de leur race. L’Afrique noire ne restera pas longtemps insensible à ce processus. Tout ce que nous pouvons faire, c’est prendre conscience de la gravité du phénomène et tenter d’en retarder l’évolution. André Malraux (1956)
Nous sommes encore proches de cette période des grandes expositions internationales qui regardait de façon utopique la mondialisation comme l’Exposition de Londres – la « Fameuse » dont parle Dostoievski, les expositions de Paris… Plus on s’approche de la vraie mondialisation plus on s’aperçoit que la non-différence ce n’est pas du tout la paix parmi les hommes mais ce peut être la rivalité mimétique la plus extravagante. On était encore dans cette idée selon laquelle on vivait dans le même monde: on n’est plus séparé par rien de ce qui séparait les hommes auparavant donc c’est forcément le paradis. Ce que voulait la Révolution française. Après la nuit du 4 août, plus de problème ! 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 rang de bouc émissaire numéro un. René Girard
Nous sommes entrés dans un mouvement qui est de l’ordre du religieux. Entrés dans la mécanique du sacrilège: la victime, dans nos sociétés, est entourée de l’aura du sacré. Du coup, l’écriture de l’histoire, la recherche universitaire, se retrouvent soumises à l’appréciation du législateur et du juge comme, autrefois, à celle de la Sorbonne ecclésiastique. Françoise Chandernagor
Nous sommes une société qui, tous les cinquante ans ou presque, est prise d’une sorte de paroxysme de vertu – une orgie d’auto-purification à travers laquelle le mal d’une forme ou d’une autre doit être chassé. De la chasse aux sorcières de Salem aux chasses aux communistes de l’ère McCarthy à la violente fixation actuelle sur la maltraitance des enfants, on retrouve le même fil conducteur d’hystérie morale. Après la période du maccarthisme, les gens demandaient : mais comment cela a-t-il pu arriver ? Comment la présomption d’innocence a-t-elle pu être abandonnée aussi systématiquement ? Comment de grandes et puissantes institutions ont-elles pu accepté que des enquêteurs du Congrès aient fait si peu de cas des libertés civiles – tout cela au nom d’une guerre contre les communistes ? Comment était-il possible de croire que des subversifs se cachaient derrière chaque porte de bibliothèque, dans chaque station de radio, que chaque acteur de troisième zone qui avait appartenu à la mauvaise organisation politique constituait une menace pour la sécurité de la nation ? Dans quelques décennies peut-être les gens ne manqueront pas de se poser les mêmes questions sur notre époque actuelle; une époque où les accusations de sévices les plus improbables trouvent des oreilles bienveillantes; une époque où il suffit d’être accusé par des sources anonymes pour être jeté en pâture à la justice; une époque où la chasse à ceux qui maltraitent les enfants est devenu une pathologie nationale. Dorothy Rabinowitz
La glorification d’une race et le dénigrement corollaire d’une autre ou d’autres a toujours été et sera une recette de meurtre. Ceci est une loi absolue. Si on laisse quelqu’un subir un traitement particulièrement défavorable à un groupe quelconque d’individus en raison de leur race ou de leur couleur de peau, on ne saurait fixer de limites aux mauvais traitements dont ils seront l’objet et puisque la race entière a été condamnée pour des raisons mystérieuses il n’y a aucune raison pour ne pas essayer de la détruire dans son intégralité. C’est précisément ce que les nazis auraient voulu accomplir (…) J’ai beaucoup à cœur de voir les noirs conquérir leur liberté aux Etats Unis. Mais leur dignité et leur santé spirituelle me tiennent également à cœur et je me dois de m’opposer à toutes tentatives des noirs de faire à d’autres ce qu’on leur a fait. James Baldwin
The recent flurry of marches, demonstrations and even riots, along with the Democratic Party’s spiteful reaction to the Trump presidency, exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos. Unlike the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherence and downright lunacy—hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism. All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. (…) America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt. We may still be in this age, but the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mires us. White guilt (…) is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. (…) It is also the heart and soul of contemporary liberalism. This liberalism is the politics given to us by white guilt, and it shares white guilt’s central corruption. It is not real liberalism, in the classic sense. It is a mock liberalism. Freedom is not its raison d’être; moral authority is. (…) Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, good liberals both, pursued power by offering their candidacies as opportunities for Americans to document their innocence of the nation’s past. “I had to vote for Obama,” a rock-ribbed Republican said to me. “I couldn’t tell my grandson that I didn’t vote for the first black president.” For this man liberalism was a moral vaccine that immunized him against stigmatization. For Mr. Obama it was raw political power in the real world, enough to lift him—unknown and untested—into the presidency. But for Mrs. Clinton, liberalism was not enough. The white guilt that lifted Mr. Obama did not carry her into office—even though her opponent was soundly stigmatized as an iconic racist and sexist. Perhaps the Obama presidency was the culmination of the age of white guilt, so that this guiltiness has entered its denouement. (…) Our new conservative president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all—liberal and conservative alike—know that he isn’t one. The jig is up. Bigotry exists, but it is far down on the list of problems that minorities now face. (…) Today’s liberalism is an anachronism. It has no understanding, really, of what poverty is and how it has to be overcome. (…) Four thousand shootings in Chicago last year, and the mayor announces that his will be a sanctuary city. This is moral esteem over reality; the self-congratulation of idealism. Liberalism is exhausted because it has become a corruption. Shelby Steele
For over forty years the left has been successfully reshaping American culture. Social mores and government policies about sexuality, marriage, the sexes, race relations, morality, and ethics have changed radically. The collective wisdom of the human race that we call tradition has been marginalized or discarded completely. The role of religion in public life has been reduced to a private preference. And politics has been increasingly driven by the assumptions of progressivism: internationalism privileged over nationalism, centralization of power over its dispersal in federalism, elitist technocracy over democratic republicanism, “human sciences” over common sense, and dependent clients over autonomous citizens. But the election of Donald Trump, and the overreach of the left’s response to that victory, suggest that we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the left’s cultural, social, and political dominance. The two terms of Barack Obama seemed to be the crowning validation of the left’s victory. Despite Obama’s “no blue state, no red state” campaign rhetoric, he governed as the most leftist––and ineffectual–– president in history. Deficits exploded, taxes were raised, new entitlements created, and government expanded far beyond the dreams of center-left Democrats. Marriage and sex identities were redefined. The narrative of permanent white racism was endorsed and promoted. Tradition-minded Americans were scorned as “bitter clingers to guns and religion.” Hollywood and Silicon Valley became even more powerful cultural arbiters and left-wing publicists. And cosmopolitan internationalism was privileged over patriotic nationalism, while American exceptionalism was reduced to an irrational parochial prejudice. The shocking repudiation of the establishment left’s anointed successor, Hillary Clinton, was the first sign that perhaps the hubristic left had overreached, and summoned nemesis in the form of a vulgar, braggadocios reality television star and casino developer who scorned the hypocritical rules of decorum and political correctness that even many Republicans adopted to avoid censure and calumny. Yet rather than learning the tragic self-knowledge that Aristotle says compensates the victim of nemesis, the left overreached yet again with its outlandish, hysterical tantrums over Trump’s victory. The result has been a stark exposure of the left’s incoherence and hypocrisy so graphic and preposterous that they can no longer be ignored. First, the now decidedly leftist Democrats refused to acknowledge their political miscalculations. Rather than admit that their party has drifted too far left beyond the beliefs of the bulk of the states’ citizens, they shifted blame onto a whole catalogue of miscreants: Russian meddling, a careerist FBI director, their own lap-dog media, endemic sexism, an out-of-date Electoral College, FOX News, and irredeemable “deplorables” were just a few. Still high on the “permanent majority” Kool-Aid they drank during the Obama years, they pitched a fit and called it “resistance,” as though comfortably preaching to the media, university, and entertainment choirs was like fighting Nazis in occupied France. (…) in colleges and universities. Normal people watched as some of the most privileged young people in history turned their subjective slights and bathetic discontents into weapons of tyranny, shouting down or driving away speakers they didn’t like, and calling for “muscle” to enforce their assault on the First Amendment. Relentlessly repeated on FOX News and on the Drudge Report, these antics galvanized large swaths of American voters who used to be amused, but now were disgusted by such displays of rank ingratitude and arrogant dismissal of Constitutional rights. And voters could see that the Democrats encouraged and enabled this nonsense. The prestige of America’s best universities, where most of these rites of passage for the scions of the well-heeled occurred, was even more damaged than it had been in the previous decades. So too with the world of entertainment. Badly educated actors, musicians, and entertainers, those glorified jugglers, jesters, and sword-swallowers who fancy themselves “artists,” have let loose an endless stream of dull leftwing clichés and bromides that were in their dotage fifty years ago. The spectacle of moral preening coming from the entertainment industry––one that trades in vulgarity, misogyny, sexual exploitation, the glorification of violence, and, worst of all, the production of banal, mindless movies and television shows recycling predictable plots, villains, and heroes––has disgusted millions of voters, who are sick of being lectured to by overpaid carnies. So they vote with their feet for the alternatives, while movie grosses and television ratings decline. As for the media, their long-time habit of substituting political activism for journalism, unleashed during the Obama years, has been freed from its last restraints while covering Trump. The contrast between the “slobbering love affair,” as Bernie Goldberg described the media’s coverage of Obama, and the obsessive Javert-like hounding of Trump has stripped the last veil of objectivity from the media. They’ve been exposed as flacks no longer seeking the truth, but manufacturing partisan narratives. The long cover-up of the Weinstein scandal is further confirmation of the media’s amoral principles and selective outrage. With numerous alternatives to the activism of the mainstream media now available, the legacy media that once dominated the reporting of news and political commentary are now shrinking in influence and lashing out in fury at their diminished prestige and profits. Two recent events have focused this turn against the sixties’ hijacking of the culture. The preposterous “protests” by NFL players disrespecting the flag during pregame ceremonies has angered large numbers of Americans and hit the League in the wallet. The race card that always has trumped every political or social conflict has perhaps lost its power. The spectacle of rich one-percenters recycling lies about police encounters with blacks and the endemic racism of American society has discredited the decades-long racial narrative constantly peddled by Democrats, movies, television shows, and school curricula from grade-school to university. The endless scolding of white people by blacks more privileged than the majority of human beings who ever existed has lost its credibility. The racial good will that got a polished mediocrity like Barack Obama twice elected president perhaps has been squandered in this attempt of rich people who play games to pose as perpetual victims. These supposed victims appear more interested in camouflaging their privilege than improving the lives of their so-called “brothers” and “sisters.” The second is the Harvey Weinstein scandal. A lavish donor to Democrats––praised by Hillary Clinton and the Obamas, given standing ovations at awards shows by the politically correct, slavishly courted and feted by progressive actors and entertainers, and long known to be a vicious sexual predator by these same progressive “feminists” supposedly anguished by the plight of women––perhaps will become the straw that breaks the back of progressive ideology. (…) The spectacle of a rich feminist and progressive icon like Jane Fonda whimpering about her own moral cowardice has destroyed the credibility we foolishly gave to Hollywood’s dunces and poltroons. Bruce Thornton
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise). Black Lives Matter
BLM’s « what we believe » page, calling for the destruction of the nuclear family among many other radical left wing agenda items, has been deleted » pic.twitter.com/qCZxUFMZH4 Matt Walsh
Correction: This article’s headline originally stated that People of Praise inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The book’s author, Margaret Atwood, has never specifically mentioned the group as being the inspiration for her work. A New Yorker profile of the author from 2017 mentions a newspaper clipping as part of her research for the book of a different charismatic Catholic group, People of Hope. Newsweek regrets the error. Newsweek
Je conseille à tout le monde d’être un peu prudent quand ils passent par là, rester éveillé, garder les yeux ouverts. Leadbelly (« Scottsboro Boys », 1938)
If You’re Woke You Dig It. William Melvin Kelley (1962)
I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr. Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon’ stay woke. And I’m gon help him wake up other black folk. Barry Beckham (1972)
I am known to stay awake A beautiful world I’m trying to find I’ve been in search of myself (…) I am in the search of something new (A beautiful world I’m trying to find) Searchin’ me Searching inside of you And that’s fo’ real What if it were no niggas Only master teachers? I stay woke. Erykah Badu (2008)
La vérité ne nécessite aucune croyance. / Restez réveillé. Regardez attentivement. / #FreePussyRiot. Erykah Badu
Wikipédia est-il  assez woke ? Bloomberg Businessweek
L’énigme est intégrée. Lorsque les Blancs aspirent à obtenir des points pour la conscience, ils marchent directement dans la ligne de mire entre l’alliance et l’appropriation. Amanda Hess
WOKE: Adjectif dérivé du verbe anglais awake (« s’éveiller »), il désigne un membre d’un groupe dominant, conscient du système oppressant les minorités et n’hésitant pas à dénoncer les discriminations en utilisant le vocabulaire intersectionnel. Marianne
Le grand réveil (Great Awakening) correspond à une vague de réveils religieux dans le Royaume de Grande-Bretagne et ses colonies américaines au milieu du XVIIIe siècle. Le terme de Great Awakening est apparu vers 1842. On le retrouve dans le titre de l’ouvrage consacré par Joseph Tracy au renouveau religieux qui débuta en Grande-Bretagne et dans ses colonies américaines dans les années 1720, progressa considérablement dans les années 1740 pour s’atténuer dans les années 1760 voire 1770. Il sera suivi de nouvelles vagues de réveil, le second grand réveil (1790-1840) et une troisième vague de réveils entre 1855 et les premières décennies du XXe siècle. Ces réveils religieux dans la tradition protestante et surtout dans le contexte américain sont compris comme une période de redynamisation de la vie religieuse. Le Great Awakening toucha des églises protestantes et des églises chrétiennes évangéliques et contribua à la formation de nouvelles Églises. Wikipedia
Woke est un terme apparu durant les années 2010 aux États-Unis, pour décrire un état d’esprit militant et combatif pour la protection des minorités et contre le racisme. Il dérive du verbe wake (réveiller), pour décrire un état d’éveil face à l’injustice. Il est dans un premier temps utilisé dans le mouvement de Black Lives Matter, avant d’être repris plus largement. Depuis la fin des années 2010, le terme Woke s’est déployé et aujourd’hui une personne « woke » se définit comme étant consciente de toutes les injustices et de toutes les formes d’inégalités, d’oppression qui pèsent sur les minorités, du racisme au sexisme en passant par les préoccupations environnementales et utilisant généralement un vocabulaire intersectionnel. Son usage répandu serait dû au mouvement Black Lives Matter. Le terme Woke est non seulement associé aux militantismes antiraciste, féministe et LGBT mais aussi à une politique de gauche dite progressiste et à certaines réflexions face aux problèmes socioculturels (les termes culture Woke et politique Woke sont également utilisés). (…) Les termes Woke et wide awake (complètement éveillé) sont apparus pour la première fois dans la culture politique et les annonces politiques lors de l’ élection présidentielle américaine de 1860 pour soutenir Abraham Lincoln. Le Parti républicain a cultivé le mouvement pour s’opposer principalement à la propagation de l’esclavage, comme décrit dans le mouvement Wide Awakes. Les dictionnaires d’Oxford enregistrent  une utilisation politiquement consciente précoce en 1962 dans l’article « If You’re Woke You Dig It » de William Melvin Kelley dans le New York Times et dans la pièce de 1971 Garvey Lives! de Barry Beckham (« I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr. Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon’ stay woke. And I’m gon help him wake up other black folk. »). Garvey avait lui-même exhorté ses auditoires du début du XXe siècle, « Wake up Ethiopia! Wake up Africa! » (« Réveillez-vous Éthiopie! Réveillez-vous Afrique! »en français). Auparavant, Jay Saunders Redding avait enregistré un commentaire d’un employé afro-américain du syndicat United Mine Workers of America en 1940 (« Laissez-moi vous dire, mon ami. Se réveiller est beaucoup plus difficile que de dormir, mais nous resterons éveillés plus longtemps. »). Leadbelly utilise la phrase vers la fin de l’enregistrement de sa chanson de 1938 « Scottsboro Boys », tout en expliquant l’incident du même nom, en disant « Je conseille à tout le monde d’être un peu prudent quand ils passent par là, rester éveillé, garder les yeux ouverts ». La première utilisation moderne du terme « Woke » apparaît dans la chanson « Master Teacher » de l’album New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) (2008) de la chanteuse de soul Erykah Badu. Tout au long de la chanson, Badu chante la phrase: « I stay woke ». Bien que la phrase n’ait pas encore de lien avec les problèmes de justice, la chanson de Badu est créditée du lien ultérieur avec ces problèmes. To « stay woke » (Rester éveillé) dans ce sens exprime l’aspect grammatical continu et habituel intensifié de l’anglais vernaculaire afro-américain : en substance, être toujours éveillé, ou être toujours vigilant. David Stovall a dit: « Erykah l’a amené vivant dans la culture populaire. Elle veut dire ne pas être apaisée, ne pas être anesthésiée. » Le concept d’être Woke (réveillé en anglais) soutient l’idée que ce type de prise de conscience doit être acquise. Le rappeur Earl Sweatshirt se souvient d’avoir chanté « I stay woke » sur la chanson et sa mère a refusé la chanson et a répondu: « Non, tu ne l’es pas. » En 2012, les utilisateurs de Twitter, y compris Erykah Badu, ont commencé à utiliser « Woke » et « stay Woke » en relation avec des questions de justice sociale et raciale et #StayWoke est devenu un mot-dièse largement utilisé. Badu a incité ceci avec la première utilisation politiquement chargée de l’expression sur Twitter. Elle a tweeté pour soutenir le groupe de musique féministe russe Pussy Riot : « La vérité ne nécessite aucune croyance. / Restez réveillé. Regardez attentivement. / #FreePussyRiot. » Le terme Woke s’est répandu dans un usage courant dans le monde anglo-saxon par les médias sociaux et des cercles militants. Par exemple, en 2016, le titre d’un article de Bloomberg Businessweek demandait « Is Wikipedia Woke? » (« Est-ce que Wikipédia est Woke ? »), en faisant référence à la base de contributeurs largement blancs de l’encyclopédie en ligne. Enfin, le terme Woke s’est étendu à d’autres causes et d’autres usages, plus mondains. Car, en effet, tout semble maintenant ainsi « éveillé » : la 75ème cérémonie des Golden Globes, marquée par l’affaire Weinstein et la volonté d’en finir avec le harcèlement sexuel, était en partie Woke, selon le New York Times. Le magazine London Review of Books affirme même que la famille royale britannique est désormais Woke d’après les récentes fiançailles du prince Harry avec l’actrice métisse Meghan Markle, dont les positions anti-Donald Trump sont bien connues. À la fin des années 2010, le terme « Woke » avait pris pour indiquer « une paranoïa saine, en particulier sur les questions de justice raciale et politique » et a été adopté comme un terme d’argot plus générique et a fait l’objet de mèmes. Par exemple, MTV News l’a identifié comme un mot-clé d’argot adolescent pour 2016. Dans le New York Times, Amanda Hess a exprimé des inquiétudes quant au fait que le mot Woke a été culturellement approprié, écrivant: « L’énigme est intégrée. Lorsque les Blancs aspirent à obtenir des points pour la conscience, ils marchent directement dans la ligne de mire entre l’alliance et l’appropriation. Wikipedia
On ne peut comprendre la gauche si on ne comprend pas que le gauchisme est une religion. Dennis Prager
You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion. It is not God-based (some left-wing Christians’ and Jews’ claims notwithstanding), but otherwise it has every characteristic of a religion. The most blatant of those characteristics is dogma. People who believe in leftism have as many dogmas as the most fundamentalist Christian. One of them is material equality as the preeminent moral goal. Another is the villainy of corporations. The bigger the corporation, the greater the villainy. Thus, instead of the devil, the Left has Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, the “military-industrial complex,” and the like. Meanwhile, Big Labor, Big Trial Lawyers, and — of course — Big Government are left-wing angels. And why is that? Why, to be specific, does the Left fear big corporations but not big government? The answer is dogma — a belief system that transcends reason. No rational person can deny that big governments have caused almost all the great evils of the last century, arguably the bloodiest in history. Who killed the 20 to 30 million Soviet citizens in the Gulag Archipelago — big government or big business? Hint: There were no private businesses in the Soviet Union. Who deliberately caused 75 million Chinese to starve to death — big government or big business? Hint: See previous hint. Did Coca-Cola kill 5 million Ukrainians? Did Big Oil slaughter a quarter of the Cambodian population? Would there have been a Holocaust without the huge Nazi state? Whatever bad things big corporations have done is dwarfed by the monstrous crimes — the mass enslavement of people, the deprivation of the most basic human rights, not to mention the mass murder and torture and genocide — committed by big governments. (…) Religious Christians and Jews also have some irrational beliefs, but their irrationality is overwhelmingly confined to theological matters; and these theological irrationalities have no deleterious impact on religious Jews’ and Christians’ ability to see the world rationally and morally. Few religious Jews or Christians believe that big corporations are in any way analogous to big government in terms of evil done. And the few who do are leftists. That the Left demonizes Big Pharma, for instance, is an example of this dogmatism. America’s pharmaceutical companies have saved millions of lives, including millions of leftists’ lives. And I do not doubt that in order to increase profits they have not always played by the rules. But to demonize big pharmaceutical companies while lionizing big government, big labor unions, and big tort-law firms is to stand morality on its head. There is yet another reason to fear big government far more than big corporations. ExxonMobil has no police force, no IRS, no ability to arrest you, no ability to shut you up, and certainly no ability to kill you. ExxonMobil can’t knock on your door in the middle of the night and legally take you away. Apple Computer cannot take your money away without your consent, and it runs no prisons. The government does all of these things. Of course, the Left will respond that government also does good and that corporations and capitalists are, by their very nature, “greedy.” To which the rational response is that, of course, government also does good. But so do the vast majority of corporations, private citizens, church groups, and myriad voluntary associations. On the other hand, only big government can do anything approaching the monstrous evils of the last century. As for greed: Between hunger for money and hunger for power, the latter is incomparably more frightening. It is noteworthy that none of the twentieth century’s monsters — Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao — were preoccupied with material gain. They loved power much more than money. And that is why the Left is much more frightening than the Right. It craves power.  Dennis Prager
What I found most interesting and provocative is Bottum’s thesis that although it seems that the moral core of modern American society has been entirely secularized, and religion and religious institutions play little role in shaping those views, in fact the watered-down gruel of moral views served up by elite establishment opinion (recycling, multiculturalism, and the like) is a remnant of the old collection of Protestant mainline views that dominated American society for decades or even centuries. To highlight the important sociological importance of religion in American society, Bottum uses the now-familiar metaphor of a three-legged stool in describing American society (one that I and others have used as well): a balance between constitutional democracy, free market capitalism, and a strong and vibrant web of civil society institutions where moral lessons are taught and social capital is built. In the United States, the most important civil society organizations traditionally have been family and churches. And, among the churches, by far the most important were those that Bottum deems as the “Protestant Mainline” — Episcopalian, Lutheran, Baptist (Northern), Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist/United Church of Christ, etc. The data on changing membership in these churches is jaw-dropping. In 1965, for example, over half of the United States population claimed membership in one of the Protestant mainline churches. Today, by contrast, less than 10 percent of the population belongs to one of these churches. Moreover, those numbers are likely to continue to decline — the Protestant Mainline (“PM”) churches also sport the highest average age of any church group. Why does the suicide of the Protestant Mainline matter? Because for Bottum, these churches are what provided the sturdy third leg to balance politics and markets in making a good society. Indeed, Bottum sees the PM churches as the heart of American Exceptionalism — they provided the moral code of Americanism. Probity, responsibility, honesty, integrity — all the moral virtues that provided the bedrock of American society and also constrained the hydraulic and leveling tendencies of the state and market to devour spheres of private life. The collapse of this religious-moral consensus has been most pronounced among American elites, who have turned largely indifferent to formal religious belief. And in some leftist elite circles it has turned to outright hostility toward religion — Bottum reminds us of Barack Obama’s observation that rural Americans today cling to their “guns and Bibles” out of bitterness about changes in the world. Perhaps most striking is that anti-Catholic bigotry today is almost exclusively found on “the political Left, as it members rage about insidious Roman influence on the nation: the Catholic justices on the Supreme Court plotting to undo the abortion license, and the Catholic racists of the old rust belt states turning their backs on Obama to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Why is it no surprise that one of the last places in American Christianity to find good, old-fashioned anti-Catholicism is among the administrators of the dying Mainline…. They must be anti-Catholics precisely to the extent that they are also political leftists.” As the recent squabbles over compelling practicing Catholics to toe the new cultural line on same-sex marriage at the risk of losing their jobs or businesses, the political Left today is increasingly intolerant of recognizing a private sphere of belief outside of the crushing hand of political orthodoxy. Yet as Bottum notes, the traditional elite consensus has been replaced by a new spiritual orthodoxy of “morality.” The American elite (however defined) today does subscribe to a set of orthodoxies of what constitutes “proper” behavior: proper views on the environment, feminism, gay rights, etc. Thus, Bottum provocatively argues, the PM hasn’t gone away, it has simply evolved into a new form, a religion without God as it were, in which the Sierra club, universities, and Democratic Party have supplanted the Methodists and Presbyterians as the teachers of proper values. (…) Bottum points to the key moment as the emergence of the Social Gospel movement in the early 20th Century. Led by Walter Rauschenbusch, the Social Gospel movement reached beyond the traditional view that Christianity spoke to personal failings such as sin, but instead reached “the social sin of all mankind, to which all who ever lived have contributed, and under which all who ever lived have suffered.” As Bottum summarizes it, Rauschenbusch identified six social sins: “bigotry, the arrogance of power, the corruption of justice for personal ends, the madness [and groupthink] of the mob, militarism, and class contempt.” As religious belief moved from the pulpit and pew to the voting booth and activism, the role of Jesus and any religious belief became increasingly attenuated. And eventually, Bottum suggests, the political agenda itself came to overwhelm the increasingly irrelevant religious beliefs that initially supported it. Indeed, to again consider contemporary debates, what matters most is outward conformity to orthodox opinion, not persuasion and inward acceptance of a set of particular views–as best illustrated by the lynch mobs that attacked Brendan Eich for his political donations (his outward behavior) and to compel conformity of behavior among wedding cake bakers and the like, all of which bears little relation to (and in fact is likely counterproductive) to changing personal belief. (Of course, that too is an unstable equilibrium–in the future it won’t be sufficient to not merely not be politically opposed to same-sex marriage, it will be a litmus test to be affirmatively in favor of it.). Thus, while the modern elite appears to be largely non-religious, Bottum argues that they are the subconscious heirs to the old Protestant Mainline, but are merely Post-Protestant — the same demographic group of people holding more or less the same views and fighting the same battles as the advocates of the social gospel. In the second part of the book, Bottum turns to his second theme — the effort beginning around 2000 of Catholics and Evangelical Christians to form an alliance to create a new moral consensus to replace the void left by the collapse Protestant Mainline churches. Oversimplified, Bottum’s basic point is that this was an effort to marry the zeal and energy of Evangelical churches to the long, well-developed natural law theory of Catholicism, including Catholic social teaching. Again oversimplified, Bottum’s argument is that this effort was doomed on both sides of the equation–first, Catholicism is simply too dense and “foreign” to ever be a majoritarian church in the United States; and second, because evangelical Christianity itself has lost much of its vibrant nature. Bottum notes, which I hadn’t realized, that after years of rapid growth, evangelical Christianity appears to be in some decline in membership. Thus, the religious void remains. The obvious question with which one is left is if Bottum is correct that religious institutions uphold the third leg of the American stool, and if (as he claims) religion is the key to American exceptionalism, can America survive without a continued vibrant religious tradition? (…) Campus protests today, for example, often seem to be sort of a form of performance art, where the gestures of protest and being seen to “care” are ends in themselves, as often the protests themselves have goals that are somewhat incoherent (compared to, say, protests against the Vietnam War). Bottum describes this as a sort of spirtual angst, a vague discomfort with the way things are and an even vaguer desire for change. On this point I wonder whether he is being too generous to their motives. (…) But there is one thesis that he doesn’t consider that I think contributes much of the explanation of the decline of the importance of the Protestant Mainline, which is the thesis developed by Shelby Steele is his great book “White Guilt.” I think Steele’s argument provides the key to unlocking not only the decline of the Protestant Mainline but also the timing, and why the decline of the Protestant Mainline has been so much more precipitous than Evangelicals and Catholics, as well as why anti-Evangelical and anti-Catholic bigotry is so socially acceptable among liberal elites. Steele’s thesis, oversimplified, is that the elite institutions of American society for many years were complicit in a system that perpetrated injustices on many Americans. The government, large corporations, major universities, white-show law firms, fraternal organizations, etc.–the military being somewhat of an exception to this–all conspired explicitly or tacitly in a social system that supported first slavery then racial discrimination, inequality toward women, anti-Semitism, and other real injustices. Moreover, all of this came to a head in the 1960s, when these long-held and legitimate grievances bubbled to the surface and were finally recognized and acknowledged by those who ran these elite institutions and efforts were taken to remediate their harms. This complicity in America’s evils, Steele argues, discredited the moral authority of these institutions, leaving not only a vacuum at the heart of American society but an ongoing effort at their redemption. But, Steele argues, this is where things have become somewhat perverse. It wasn’t enough for, say, Coca-Cola to actually take steps to remediate its past sins, it was crucial for Coca-Cola to show that it was acknowledging its guilty legacy and, in particular, to demonstrate that it was now truly enlightened. But how to do that? Steele argues that this is the pivotal role played by hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — they can sell the indulgences to corporations, universities, and the other guilty institutions to allow them to demonstrate that they “understand” and accept their guilt and through bowing to Jackson’s demands, Jackson can give them a clean bill of moral health. Thus, Steele says that what is really going on is an effort by the leaders of these institutions to “dissociate” themselves from their troubled past and peer institutions today that lack the same degree of enlightenment. Moreover, it is crucially important that the Jackson’s of the world set the terms–indeed, the more absurd and ridiculous the penance the better from this perspective, because more ridiculous penances make it easier to demonstrate your acceptance of your guilt. One set of institutions that Steele does not address, but which fits perfectly into his thesis, is the Protestant Mainline churches that Bottum is describing. It is precisely because the Protestant Mainline churches were the moral backbone of American society that they were in need of the same sort of moral redemption that universities, corporations, and the government. Indeed, because of their claim to be the moral exemplar, their complicity in real injustice was especially bad. Much of the goofiness of the Mainline Protestant churches over the past couple of decades can be well-understood, I think, through this lens of efforts to dissociate themselves from their legacy and other less-enlightened churches. In short, it seems that often their religious dogma is reverse-engineered–they start from wanting to make sure that they hold the correct cutting-edge political and social views, then they retrofit a thin veil of religious belief over those social and political opinions. Such that their religious beliefs today, as far as one ever hears about them at all, differ little from the views of The New York Times editorial page. This also explains why Catholics and Evangelicals are so maddening, and threatening, to the modern elites. Unlike the Protestant Mainline churches that were the moral voice of the American establishment, Catholicism and Evangelicals have always been outsiders to the American establishment. Thus they bear none of the guilt of having supported unjust political and social systems and refuse to act like they do. They have no reason to kowtow to elite opinion and, indeed, are often quite populist in their worldview (consider the respect that Justices Scalia or Thomas have for the moral judgments of ordinary Americans on issues like abortion or same-sex marriage vs. the views of elites). Given the sorry record of American elites for decades, there is actually a dividing line between two world views. Modern elites believe that the entire American society was to blame, thus we all share guilt and must all seek forgiveness through affirmative action, compulsory sensitivity training, and recycling mandates. Others, notably Catholics and Evangelicals, refuse to accept blame for a social system that they played no role in creating or maintaining and which, in fact, they were excluded themselves. To some extent, therefore, I think that the often-remarked political fault line in American society along religious lines (which Bottum discusses extensively), is as much cultural and historical (in Steele’s sense) as disagreements over religion per se. At the same time, the decline of its moral authority hit the Protestant Mainline churches harder than well-entrenched universities, corporations, or the government, in part because the embrace of the Social Gospel had laid the foundations for their own obsolescence years before. This also explains why if a religious revival is to occur, it would come from the alliance of Catholics and Evangelicals that he describes in the second half of the book. Mainline Protestantism seems to simply lack the moral authority to revive itself and has essentially made itself obsolete. There appears to be little market for religions without God.
In the end, Bottum leaves us with no answer to his central question–can America, which for so long relied on the Protestant Mainline churches to provide a moral and institutional third leg to the country, survive without it. Can the thin gruel of the post-Protestant New York Times elite consensus provide the moral glue that used to hold the country together? Perhaps, or perhaps not — that is the question we are left with after reading Bottum’s fascinating book. Finally, (…) I wanted to call attention to Jody’s new essay at the Weekly Standard “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas” that touches on many of the themes of the book and develops them in light of ongoing controversies, especially on the parallels between the new moral consensus and traditional religious thinking (and, in fact, his comments on “original sin” strike me as similar to the points about Shelby Steele that I raised above).
Todd Zywicki
I was simply going to take up the fact that America was in essence a Protestant nation from its founding, from the arrival of the Puritans—and well, it’s a little more sophisticated than that, really from William and Mary on this was a Protestant country—and that we needed to sort of describe what Tocqueville called the main current of that. Now mainline is a word from much later, from the 1930s, but there always was a kind of main current of a general Protestantism. And I wanted to look at its political consequences and cultural consequences. However much the rival Protestant denominations feuded with one another, disagreed with one another, I thought they gave a tone to the nation. And one of the things that they did particularly from the Civil War on was constrain social and political demons. They corralled them. They gave a shape to America, which was the marriage culture, the shape of funerals, life and death, birth, the family. They gave a shape to the cultural and sociological condition of America. And it struck me at the time, so I followed up that essay on the death of Protestant America with a whole book. And then subsequently applying it to the political situation that I saw emerging then in a big cover story for The Weekly Standard, called “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas.” And in that kind of threefold push, I thought, “No one that I know is taking seriously the massive sociological change, perhaps the biggest in American history.” From 1965 when the Protestant churches, the mainline churches, by which I mean the founding churches in the National Council of Churches and the God box up on Riverside Drive—those churches, and their affiliated black churches, constituted or had membership that was just over fifty percent of America, as late as 1965. Today that number is well under 10 percent and that’s a huge sociological change that nobody to me seems to be paying sufficient attention to. (…) in (…) mainstream sociological discussions of America that just was not appearing as anything significant, and I thought it was profoundly significant and that the attempt of some of our neoconservative Catholic friends—and I was in the belly of that beast in those days—to substitute Catholicism for the failed American cultural pillar of the mainline Protestant churches—that project, interesting as it was, failed, and that consequently, I predicted, we were going to see ever-larger sociological and cultural and political upset. Because there was no turning these demons of the human condition into an understanding of their personal application. Instead they just became cultural. And I trace this move, perhaps unfairly, but I traced it to Rauschenbusch. And said when you say that it’s not individual sin, it’s social sin. And he lists six of them and they are exactly what the protestors are out in the street against right now. It’s what he called bigotry, which we used the word racism for, its militarism, its authoritarianism, and he names these six social sins and they are exactly the ones that the protesters are out against. But I said the trouble with Rauschenbusch, who was a believer—I think he was a serious Christian and profoundly biblically educated so that his speech was just ripe with biblical quotations—the problem with him is the subsequent generations don’t need the church anymore. They don’t need Jesus anymore. He thinks of Jesus—in the metaphor I use—for the social gospel movement as it developed into just the social movement. Christ is the ladder by which we climb to the new ledge of understanding, but once we’re on that ledge, we don’t need the ladder anymore. The logic of it is quite clear. We’ve reached this new height of moral and ethical understanding. Yes, thank you, Jesus Christ and the revelations taught it to us, but we’re there now. What need have we for a personal relationship with Jesus, what we need have we for a church? Having achieved this sentiment that knows that sin is these social constructs of destructiveness and our anxiety, the spiritual anxiety that human beings always feel, just by being human, is here answered. How do you know that you are saved today? You know that you are saved because you have the right attitude toward social sins. That’s how you know. Now they wouldn’t say saved; they would say, “How do you know you’re a good person?” But that’s just the logic. The logical pattern is the same. And I develop that in the essay, “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas” by analyzing as tightly as I could the way in which white guilt is original sin. It’s original sin divorced from the theology that let it make sense. But the pattern of internal logic is exactly the same. It produces the same need to find salvation. It produces the same need to know that you are good by knowing that you are bad. It produces the same logic by which Paul would say, “Before the law there was no sin.” It has all of the same patterns of reason, except as you pointed out in your introduction, there’s no atonement. It’s as though (…) we’re living in St. Augustine’s metaphysics, but with all the Christ stuff stripped out. It’s a dark world; it’s a grim world. We’re inherently guilty and there’s no salvation. There’s no escape from it. Except for the destruction of all. Which is why I then moved in that essay to talk about shunning in its modern forms, again divorced from the structures that once made it make sense, and apocalypse. The sense that we’re living at the end of the world and things are so terrible and so destructive that all the ordinary niceties of manners, of balancing judgment and so on, those are—if someone says, “We are destroying the planet and we’re all going to die unless you do what I want,” if I say, “Well we need to hear other voices,” they say, “That’s complicity with evil.” Right? The end of the world is coming; this is this apocalyptic imagination. Now all of that I think was once upon a time in America—and I’m speaking only politically and sociologically—all of that was corralled, or much of it was corralled in the churches. You were taught a frame to understand your dissatisfactions with the world. You were taught a frame to understand the horror, the metaphysical horror that is the fact (…) that you and I are going to die. You were taught this frame that made it bearable and made it possible to move somewhere with it. With the breaking of that, these demons are let loose and now they’re out there. I’ve often said (…) that the history of America since World War II is a history of a fourth Great Awakening that never quite happened. In a sense what I’ve seen for some years building and is now taking to the streets once again is the fourth Great Awakening except without the Christianity. I see in other words what’s happening out there as spiritual anxiety. But spiritual anxiety occurring in a world in which these people have no answer. They just have outrage. And it’s an escalating outrage. This is where the single most influential thinker in my thought—a modern thinker—is Rene Girard, and Rene Girard’s idea of the escalation of mimetic rivalry. The ways in which we get ever purer and we seek ever more tiny examples of evil that we can scapegoat and we enter into competition, this rivalry, to see who is more pure. This is exactly the motor, the Girardian motor, on which my idea of the spiritual anxiety runs. And so, statues of George Washington are coming down now. And once upon a time, in the generation that I grew up in, and the generation that you grew up in, George Washington was—there were things bad things to say about him—but this was tantamount to saying America was a mistake. And of course these people think America was a mistake, because they think the whole history of the world is a mistake. There’s this outrage. And the outrage I think is spiritual. And that’s why it doesn’t get answered when voices of calm reason say, “Well, let’s consider all sides. Yes, there were mistakes that were made and evils that were done, but let’s try to fix them.” Spiritual anxiety doesn’t get answered by, “Oh well, let’s fix something.” It gets answered by the flame. It gets answered by the looting. It gets answered by the tearing down. (…) But creation appears to us in concrete guises, and the concrete guise right now is America. So, this is why you’ll get praise of ancient civilizations. Or you get the historical insanity of a US senator standing up on the well of the Senate and saying America invented slavery, that there was no slavery before the United States. That’s historically insane, but it’s not unlearned because we’ve passed beyond ignorance here. There’s something willful about it. And that’s what’s extraordinary, I think. And yeah, I’m glad you look back to my 10-year-old book now because I think I did predict some of this, although obviously not in its particulars. But there was a warning there that the collapse of the mainline Protestant churches was going to introduce a demonic element into American life. And lo and behold, it has. (…) there are multiple questions there (…). Why Catholicism failed, why the evangelicals and Catholics together failed. So Catholicism by itself failed. The evangelicals and Catholics together project failed to provide this moral pillar to American discourse. And then there are a variety of reasons for that, beginning with the fact that Catholicism is an alien religion, alien to America. Jews and Catholics were more or less welcome to live here, but we understood that we lived on the banks of a great Mississippi of Protestantism that poured down the center of this country. But the question of why it failed is one thing. The question of why the mainline Protestant churches failed is yet another part of your question. And although I list several examples that people have offered, I don’t make a decision about that in part because I am a Catholic. I have a suspicion that Protestantism with a higher sense of personal salvation, but a less thick metaphysics, was more susceptible to the line of the social gospel movement. But I don’t know that for certain so in the book I’m merely presenting these possibilities. And then evangelicalism, Catholicism, was under attack for wounds, some of which it committed itself. Evangelicalism is in decline in America. The statistics show that this period when it seemed to be going from strength to strength may have been fueled most of all by the death of the mainline churches. They were just picking up those members. Instead of going to the Methodist Church, they were going to the Bible church out on the prairie. But regardless, that Christian discourse, that slightly secularized Christian discourse, that would allow Abraham Lincoln to make his speeches, that would provide the background to political rhetoric and so on, that’s all gone. And as a consequence, it seems to me we don’t have a shared culture and that’s part of what allows these protests. But also I think (…) a culture that no longer believes in itself, that no longer has horizons, and targets, and goals, that no longer has even the vaguest sense of a telos towards which we ought to move, a culture like that, if we look at it, we no longer have a measure of progress. We can’t say what an advance is along the way. All we can do is look at our history and see it as a catalog of crimes that we perpetrated in order to reach this point that we’re at. And we can’t see the good that came out of it. Because we don’t know what the good is, we don’t know what the telos is, the target, so we have no measure for that. So, we can’t celebrate the Civil War victory that ended slavery. All we can do is condemn slavery. We can’t celebrate the victory over the Nazis. We have to end World War II; all we can do is decry militarism and the crimes we committed to win that war, like the firebombing of Dresden, or  Hiroshima. And I think that that reasoning is quite exact because the young people that I hear speak—now I haven’t spent as much time on this as I perhaps should have, following the ins and outs of every protestor alive today—but what I’ve heard suggests that they condemn America to the core—the whole of America, of American history. There is nothing good about this nation. And there it seems to me the reasoning is quite exact. Unable to see a point to America, unable to see a goal. They are quite right that all they can see are the crimes. Whereas you and I are capable of saying, yes slavery was a great sin, and we got over it, and then the post-reconstruction settlement of Jim Crow was a great sin, but we got over it, and we still are committing sins to this day but the optimism of America is that we’ll get over it, we will find solutions to these because we feel that we are a city on a hill. We feel that we are heading somewhere. The telos may be vague, maybe inchoate, but its pull is real for people like you and me, Mark. These young people—who, I think partly because they’ve been systematically miss-educated—don’t have any feeling for that at all. And because they don’t, I think they are actually being quite rational in saying America is just evil, it’s a history of sin. (…) I think it’ll pass. These things pass. There are various rages that take to the streets, but they are to some degree victims of their own energy. They burn out, and I think this one will burn out. The thing that we are not seeing now—in fact we’re seeing the opposite—is someone standing up to them. The New York Times firing of its op-ed page editor over publication of an op-ed from a sitting US senator is really quite extraordinary if we think about it. But I don’t believe institutions can survive if they pander in this way. And I think eventually we’ll get one standing up. I haven’t heard yet from the publisher of J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author, who the staff of her publishing house has declared themselves unwilling to work at a publisher that would publish a woman with such reprobate views of transgenderism. If the publisher doesn’t stand up to her, I think we may be in for another year of this. But I have a feeling she sells so well, that I don’t believe the publisher is going to give in. And if we have one person saying “That’s interesting, but if you can’t work here, you can’t work here, goodbye.” The first time we see that and they survived the subsequent Twitter outrage, I think we’ll see an end to the current cancel culture, which is of course the most insidious of the general social—the burning and the breaking of statues is physical, but the most destructive cultural thing right now is the cancel culture that gets people fired and their relatives fired and the rest of it. I think that has to end and I imagine it will, the first time somebody stands up to them and survives. Joseph Bottum
Quand j’ai écrit mon livre, je suis retourné à Max Weber et à Alexis de Tocqueville, car tous deux avaient identifié l’importance fondamentale de l’anxiété spirituelle que nous éprouvons tous. Il me semble qu’à la fin du XXe siècle et au début du XXIe siècle, nous avons oublié la centralité de cette anxiété, de ces démons ou anges spirituels qui nous habitent. Ils nous gouvernent de manière profondément dangereuse. Norman Mailer a dit un jour que toute la sociologie américaine avait été un effort désespéré pour essayer de dire quelque chose sur l’Amérique que Tocqueville n’avait pas dit! C’est vrai! Tocqueville avait saisi l’importance du fait religieux et de la panoplie des Églises protestantes qui ont défini la nation américaine. Il a montré que malgré leur nombre innombrable et leurs querelles, elles étaient parvenues à s’unir pour être ce qu’il appelait joliment «le courant central des manières et de la morale». Quelles que soient les empoignades entre anglicans épiscopaliens et congrégationalistes, entre congrégationalistes et presbytériens, entre presbytériens et baptistes, les protestants se sont combinés pour donner une forme à nos vies: celle des mariages, des baptêmes et des funérailles ; des familles, et même de la politique, en cela même que le protestantisme ne cesse d’affirmer qu’il y a quelque chose de plus important que la politique. Ce modèle a perduré jusqu’au milieu des années 1960. (…) Pour moi, c’est avant tout le mouvement de l’Évangile social qui a gagné les Églises protestantes, qui est à la racine de l’effondrement. Dans mon livre, je consacre deux chapitres à Walter Rauschenbusch, la figure clé. Mais il faut comprendre que le déclin des Églises européennes a aussi joué. L’une des sources d’autorité des Églises américaines venait de l’influence de théologiens européens éminents comme Wolfhart Pannenberg ou l’ancien premier ministre néerlandais Abraham Kuyper, esprit d’une grande profondeur qui venait souvent à Princeton donner des conférences devant des milliers de participants! Mais ils n’ont pas été remplacés. Le résultat de tout cela, c’est que l’Église protestante américaine a connu un déclin catastrophique. En 1965, 50 % des Américains appartenaient à l’une des 8 Églises protestantes dominantes. Aujourd’hui, ce chiffre s’établit à 4 %! Cet effondrement est le changement sociologique le plus fondamental des 50 dernières années, mais personne n’en parle. Une partie de ces protestants ont migré vers les Églises chrétiennes évangéliques, qui dans les années 1970, sous Jimmy Carter, ont émergé comme force politique. On a vu également un nombre surprenant de conversions au catholicisme, surtout chez les intellectuels. Mais la majorité sont devenus ce que j’appelle dans mon livre des «post-protestants», ce qui nous amène au décryptage des événements d’aujourd’hui. Ces post-protestants se sont approprié une série de thèmes empruntés à l’Évangile social de Walter Rauschenbusch. Quand vous reprenez les péchés sociaux qu’il faut selon lui rejeter pour accéder à une forme de rédemption – l’intolérance, le pouvoir, le militarisme, l’oppression de classe… vous retrouvez exactement les thèmes que brandissent les gens qui mettent aujourd’hui le feu à Portland et d’autres villes. Ce sont les post-protestants. Ils se sont juste débarrassés de Dieu! Quand je dis à mes étudiants qu’ils sont les héritiers de leurs grands-parents protestants, ils sont offensés. Mais ils ont exactement la même approche moralisatrice et le même sens exacerbé de leur importance, la même condescendance et le même sentiment de supériorité exaspérante et ridicule, que les protestants exprimaient notamment vis-à-vis des catholiques. (…) Mais ils ne le savent pas. En fait, l’état de l’Amérique a été toujours lié à l’état de la religion protestante. Les catholiques se sont fait une place mais le protestantisme a été le Mississippi qui a arrosé le pays. Et c’est toujours le cas! C’est juste que nous avons maintenant une Église du Christ sans le Christ. Cela veut dire qu’il n’y a pas de pardon possible. Dans la religion chrétienne, le péché originel est l’idée que vous êtes né coupable, que l’humanité hérite d’une tache qui corrompt nos désirs et nos actions. Mais le Christ paie les dettes du péché originel, nous en libérant. Si vous enlevez le Christ du tableau en revanche, vous obtenez… la culpabilité blanche et le racisme systémique. Bien sûr, les jeunes radicaux n’utilisent pas le mot «péché originel». Mais ils utilisent exactement les termes qui s’y appliquent. (…) Ils parlent d’«une tache reçue en héritage» qui «infecte votre esprit». C’est une idée très dangereuse, que les Églises canalisaient autrefois. Mais aujourd’hui que cette idée s’est échappée de l’Église, elle a gagné la rue et vous avez des meutes de post-protestants qui parcourent Washington DC, en s’en prenant à des gens dans des restaurants pour exiger d’eux qu’ils lèvent le poing. Leur conviction que l’Amérique est intrinsèquement corrompue par l’esclavage et n’a réalisé que le Mal, n’est pas enracinée dans des faits que l’on pourrait discuter, elle relève de la croyance religieuse. On exclut ceux qui ne se soumettent pas. On dérive vers une vision apocalyptique du monde qui n’est plus équilibrée par rien d’autre. Cela peut donner la pire forme d’environnementalisme, par exemple, parce que toutes les autres dimensions sont disqualifiées au nom de «la fin du monde». C’est l’idée chrétienne de l’apocalypse, mais dégagée du christianisme. Il y a des douzaines d’exemples de religiosité visibles dans le comportement des protestataires: ils s’allongent par terre face au sol et gémissent, comme des prêtres que l’on consacre dans l’Église catholique. Ils ont organisé une cérémonie à Portland durant laquelle ils ont lavé les pieds de personnes noires pour montrer leur repentir pour la culpabilité blanche. Ils s’agenouillent. Tout cela sans savoir que c’est religieux! C’est religieux parce que l’humanité est religieuse. Il y a une faim spirituelle à l’intérieur de nous, qui se manifeste de différentes manières, y compris la violence! Ces gens veulent un monde qui ait un sens, et ils ne l’ont pas. (…) Le marxisme est une religion par analogie. Certes, il porte cette idée d’une nouvelle naissance. Certaines personnes voulaient des certitudes et ne les trouvant plus dans leurs Églises, ils sont allés vers le marxisme. Mais en Amérique, c’est différent, car tout est centré sur le protestantisme. Dans L’Éthique protestante et l’esprit du capitalisme, Max Weber, avec génie et insolence, prend Marx et le met cul par-dessus tête. Marx avait dit que le protestantisme avait émergé à la faveur de changements économiques. Weber dit l’inverse. Ce n’est pas l’économie qui a transformé la religion, c’est la religion qui a transformé l’économie. Le protestantisme nous a donné le capitalisme, pas l’inverse! Parce que les puritains devaient épargner de l’argent pour assurer leur salut. Le ressort principal n’était pas l’économie mais la faim spirituelle, ce sentiment beaucoup plus profond, selon Weber. Une faim spirituelle a mené les gens vers le marxisme, et c’est la même faim spirituelle qui fait qu’ils sont dans les rues d’Amérique aujourd’hui. (…) Je n’ai pas voté pour Trump. Bien que conservateur, je fais partie des «Never Trumpers». Mais je vois potentiellement une guerre civile à feu doux éclater si Trump gagne cette élection! Car les parties sont polarisées sur le plan spirituel. Si Trump gagne, pour les gens qui sont dans la rue, ce ne sera pas le triomphe des républicains, mais celui du mal. Rauschenbusch, dans son Évangile, dit que nous devons accomplir la rédemption de notre personnalité. Ces gens-là veulent être sûrs d’être de «bonnes personnes». Ils savent qu’ils sont de bonnes personnes s’ils sont opposés au racisme. Ils pensent être de bonnes personnes parce qu’ils sont opposés à la destruction de l’environnement. Ils veulent avoir la bonne «attitude», c’est la raison pour laquelle ceux qui n’ont pas la bonne attitude sont expulsés de leurs universités ou de leur travail pour des raisons dérisoires. Avant, on était exclu de l’Église, aujourd’hui, on est exclu de la vie publique… C’est pour cela que les gens qui soutiennent Trump, sont vus comme des «déplorables», comme disait Hillary Clinton, c’est-à-dire des gens qui ne peuvent être rachetés. Ils ont leur bible et leur fusil et ne suivent pas les commandements de la justice sociale. (…) Avant même que Trump ne surgisse, avec Sarah Palin, et même sous Reagan, on a vu émerger à droite le sentiment que tout ce que faisaient les républicains pour l’Amérique traditionnelle, c’était ralentir sa disparition. Il y avait une immense exaspération car toute cette Amérique avait le sentiment que son mode de vie était fondamentalement menacé par les démocrates. Reagan est arrivé et a dit: «Je vais m’y opposer». Et voilà que Trump arrive et dit à son tour qu’il va dire non à tout ça. Je déteste le fait que Trump occupe cet espace, parce qu’il est vulgaire et insupportable. Mais il est vrai que tous ceux qui s’étaient sentis marginalisés ont voté pour Trump parce qu’il s’est mis en travers de la route. C’est d’ailleurs ce que leur dit Trump: «Ils n’en ont pas après moi, mais après vous.» Il faut comprendre que l’idéologie «woke» de la justice sociale a pénétré les institutions américaines à un point incroyable. Je n’imagine pas qu’un professeur ayant une chaire à la Sorbonne soit forcé d’assister à des classes obligatoires organisées pour le corps professoral sur leur «culpabilité blanche», et enseignées par des gens qui viennent à peine de finir le collège. Mais c’est la réalité des universités américaines. Un sondage récent a montré que la majorité des professeurs d’université ne disent rien. Ils abandonnent plutôt toute mention de tout sujet controversé. Pourtant, des études ont montré que la foule des vigies de Twitter qui obtient la tête des professeurs excommuniés, remplirait à peine la moitié d’un terrain de football universitaire! Il y a un manque de courage. (…) La France a fait beaucoup de choses bonnes et glorieuses pour faire avancer la civilisation, mais elle a fait du mal. Si on croit au projet historique français, on peut démêler le bien du mal. Mais mes étudiants, et tous ces post-protestants dont je vous parle, sont absolument convaincus que tous les gens qui ont précédé, étaient stupides et sans doute maléfiques. Ils ne croient plus au projet historique américain. Ils sont contre les «affinités électives» qui, selon Weber, nous ont donné la modernité: la science, le capitalisme, l’État-nation. Si la théorie de la physique de Newton, Principia, est un manuel de viol, comme l’a dit une universitaire féministe, si sa physique est l’invention d’un moyen de violer le monde, cela veut dire que la science est mauvaise. Si vous êtes soupçonneux de la science, du capitalisme, du protestantisme, si vous rejetez tous les moteurs de la modernité la seule chose qui reste, ce sont les péchés qui nous ont menés là où nous sommes. Pour sûr, nous en avons commis. Mais si on ne voit pas que ça, il n’y a plus d’échappatoire, plus de projet. Ce qui passe aujourd’hui est différent de 1968 en France, quand la remise en cause a finalement été absorbée dans quelque chose de plus large. Le mouvement actuel ne peut être absorbé car il vise à défaire les États-Unis dans ses fondements: l’État-nation, le capitalisme et la religion protestante. Mais comme les États-Unis n’ont pas d’histoire prémoderne, nous ne pouvons absorber un mouvement vraiment antimoderne. (…) Il y a une phrase de Heidegger qui dit que «seulement un Dieu pourrait nous sauver»! On a le sentiment qu’on est aux prémices d’une apocalypse, d’une guerre civile, d’une grande destruction de la modernité. Est-ce à cause de la trahison des clercs? Pour moi, l’incapacité des vieux libéraux à faire rempart contre les jeunes radicaux, est aujourd’hui le grand danger. Quand j’ai vu que de jeunes journalistes du New York Times avaient menacé de partir, parce qu’un responsable éditorial avait publié une tribune d’un sénateur américain qui leur déplaisait, j’ai été stupéfait. Je suis assez vieux pour savoir que dans le passé, la direction aurait immédiatement dit à ces jeunes journalistes de prendre la porte s’ils n’étaient pas contents. Mais ce qui s’est passé, c’est que le rédacteur en chef a été limogé. Joseph Bottum

C’est ce qui reste du christianisme quand on a tout oublié, imbécile !

Racisme d’état, racisé, cisgenre/cishet, blantriarcat, privilège blanc, appropriation culturelle, larmes blanches, larmes males, biais de confirmation, woke…

A l’heure où après des mois d’émeutes et de casse et l’inévitable retour de bâton et remontée de leur Trump honni dans les sondages …

Les nouveaux protestants de Black lives matter en sont, signe des temps, à effacer leur profession de foi sur leur site …

Mais où leur vocabulaire semble en train d’entrer dans la langue courante …

Tandis que, de la part des médias dits sérieux, tout est bon pour discréditer le catholicisme de la candidate du président Tump pour remplacer une juge de la Cour suprême récemment décédée …

Comment ne pas voir …

Avec le spécialiste du phénomène religieux en politique et girardien Joseph Bottum

Entre iconoclasme, génuflexions, auto-flagellations, lavements des pieds, liturgie, procession, croisades, inquisition, textes sacrés, tabous, catéchisme, dogmatisme, moralisme, excommunications, saints, martyrs…

La dimension proprement religieuse de, pour reprendre le mot attribué à Bebel pour l’antisémitisme en ces temps de décérébration universitaire, cette sorte de « christianisme des imbéciles » …

Suite au fait sociologique central mais sous-estimé des 50 dernières années …

De l’effondrement, à partir du milieu des années 1960, du modèle et socle commun fait de mariages, baptêmes, funérailles, familles et politique, que leur avaient légué les églises protestantes américaines …

Et son remplacement, à partir du mouvement de l’Évangile social d’un Walter Rauschenbusch, par une sorte de version sécularisée que n’ont que compensé partiellement les églises évangéliques et catholique…

Avec ses péchés sociaux à rejeter pour accéder à la rédemption que seraient l’intolérance, le pouvoir, le militarisme, l’oppression de classe…

Sauf que derrière ce « Mississippi protestant qui avait arrosé le pays’, c’est en fait de Dieu qu’ils se sont  débarrassés …

Via la sanctification de l’ultime victime du péché originel de l’esclavage, à savoir les noirs …

D’où leur reprise – ô combien transparente et significative – du terme d’argot noir « woke » …

Pour apporter à l’Amérique et au monde une sorte de quatrième Grand Réveil comme l’Amérique les multiplie depuis le milieu du 19e siècle …

Sauf que derrière cette nouvelle église du Christ sans le Christ, il n’y a plus de pardon possible …

Que l’indécrottable péché originel, derrière l’impardonnable privilège blanc, de la culpabilité blanche et du racisme systémique…

Et in fine, libérée du cadre des églises qui avaient autrefois canalisé cette sainte colère, que l’escalade, proprement mimétique, de la course à la pureté idéologique que l’on voit actuellment dans leurs rues et déjà en partie dans les nôtres …

Autrement dit, jusqu’à ce que pourrait peut-être y mettre fin la réaction de la majorité silencieuse que comme nombre de Never-Trumpers, Bottum se refuse à voir derrière la vulgarité d’un Trump …

La démolition pure et simple, entrevue déjà par Malraux comme Girard, de l’essentiel de la culture et du projet non seulement américain mais occidental …

Et donc l’ouverture, derrière cette remise en cause de toutes valeurs partagées et but commun, à la guerre civile  ?

« La passion religieuse a échappé au protestantisme et met le feu à la politique »

GRAND ENTRETIEN – Professeur à l’université du Dakota du Sud, Joseph Bottum est essayiste et spécialiste du phénomène religieux en politique. Il offre un éclairage saisissant sur les élections américaines, dont il craint qu’elles ne dégénèrent en guerre civile si Trump est réélu.
Laure Mandeville
Le Figaro
24 septembre 2020

Dans son livre An Anxious Rage, the Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, écrit il y a six ans, il explique qu’on ne peut comprendre la fureur idéologique qui s’est emparée de l’Amérique, si on ne s’intéresse pas à la centralité du fait religieux et à l’effondrement du protestantisme, «ce Mississippi» qui a arrosé et façonné si longtemps la culture américaine et ses mœurs.

Bottum décrit la marque laissée par le protestantisme à travers l’émergence de ce qu’il appelle les «post-protestants», ces nouveaux puritains sans Dieu qui pratiquent la religion de la culture «woke» et de la justice sociale, et rejettent le projet américain dans son intégralité. Il voit à l’œuvre une entreprise de «destruction de la modernité» sur laquelle sont fondés les États-Unis.

LE FIGARO. – Dans votre livre An Anxious Age, vous revenez sur l’importance fondamentale du protestantisme pour comprendre les États-Unis et vous expliquez que son effondrement a été le fait sociologique central, mais sous-estimé, des 50 dernières années. Vous dites que ce déclin a débouché sur l’émergence d’un post-protestantisme qui est un nouveau puritanisme sans Dieu, qui explique la rage quasi-religieuse qui s’exprime dans les rues du pays. De quoi s’agit-il?

Joseph BOTTUM. –Quand j’ai écrit mon livre, je suis retourné à Max Weber et à Alexis de Tocqueville, car tous deux avaient identifié l’importance fondamentale de l’anxiété spirituelle que nous éprouvons tous. Il me semble qu’à la fin du XXe siècle et au début du XXIe siècle, nous avons oublié la centralité de cette anxiété, de ces démons ou anges spirituels qui nous habitent. Ils nous gouvernent de manière profondément dangereuse. Norman Mailer a dit un jour que toute la sociologie américaine avait été un effort désespéré pour essayer de dire quelque chose sur l’Amérique que Tocqueville n’avait pas dit! C’est vrai! Tocqueville avait saisi l’importance du fait religieux et de la panoplie des Églises protestantes qui ont défini la nation américaine. Il a montré que malgré leur nombre innombrable et leurs querelles, elles étaient parvenues à s’unir pour être ce qu’il appelait joliment «le courant central des manières et de la morale». Quelles que soient les empoignades entre anglicans épiscopaliens et congrégationalistes, entre congrégationalistes et presbytériens, entre presbytériens et baptistes, les protestants se sont combinés pour donner une forme à nos vies: celle des mariages, des baptêmes et des funérailles ; des familles, et même de la politique, en cela même que le protestantisme ne cesse d’affirmer qu’il y a quelque chose de plus important que la politique. Ce modèle a perduré jusqu’au milieu des années 1960.

Qu’est-ce qui a précipité le déclin du protestantisme? La libération des mœurs des années 1960, l’émergence de la théologie de la justice sociale?

Pour moi, c’est avant tout le mouvement de l’Évangile social qui a gagné les Églises protestantes, qui est à la racine de l’effondrement. Dans mon livre, je consacre deux chapitres à Walter Rauschenbusch, la figure clé. Mais il faut comprendre que le déclin des Églises européennes a aussi joué. L’une des sources d’autorité des Églises américaines venait de l’influence de théologiens européens éminents comme Wolfhart Pannenberg ou l’ancien premier ministre néerlandais Abraham Kuyper, esprit d’une grande profondeur qui venait souvent à Princeton donner des conférences devant des milliers de participants! Mais ils n’ont pas été remplacés. Le résultat de tout cela, c’est que l’Église protestante américaine a connu un déclin catastrophique. En 1965, 50 % des Américains appartenaient à l’une des 8 Églises protestantes dominantes. Aujourd’hui, ce chiffre s’établit à 4 %! Cet effondrement est le changement sociologique le plus fondamental des 50 dernières années, mais personne n’en parle.

Une partie de ces protestants ont migré vers les Églises chrétiennes évangéliques, qui dans les années 1970, sous Jimmy Carter, ont émergé comme force politique. On a vu également un nombre surprenant de conversions au catholicisme, surtout chez les intellectuels. Mais la majorité sont devenus ce que j’appelle dans mon livre des «post-protestants», ce qui nous amène au décryptage des événements d’aujourd’hui. Ces post-protestants se sont approprié une série de thèmes empruntés à l’Évangile social de Walter Rauschenbusch. Quand vous reprenez les péchés sociaux qu’il faut selon lui rejeter pour accéder à une forme de rédemption – l’intolérance, le pouvoir, le militarisme, l’oppression de classe… vous retrouvez exactement les thèmes que brandissent les gens qui mettent aujourd’hui le feu à Portland et d’autres villes. Ce sont les post-protestants. Ils se sont juste débarrassés de Dieu! Quand je dis à mes étudiants qu’ils sont les héritiers de leurs grands-parents protestants, ils sont offensés. Mais ils ont exactement la même approche moralisatrice et le même sens exacerbé de leur importance, la même condescendance et le même sentiment de supériorité exaspérante et ridicule, que les protestants exprimaient notamment vis-à-vis des catholiques.

La génération «woke» est une nouvelle version du puritanisme?

Absolument! Mais ils ne le savent pas. En fait, l’état de l’Amérique a été toujours lié à l’état de la religion protestante. Les catholiques se sont fait une place mais le protestantisme a été le Mississippi qui a arrosé le pays. Et c’est toujours le cas! C’est juste que nous avons maintenant une Église du Christ sans le Christ. Cela veut dire qu’il n’y a pas de pardon possible. Dans la religion chrétienne, le péché originel est l’idée que vous êtes né coupable, que l’humanité hérite d’une tache qui corrompt nos désirs et nos actions. Mais le Christ paie les dettes du péché originel, nous en libérant. Si vous enlevez le Christ du tableau en revanche, vous obtenez… la culpabilité blanche et le racisme systémique. Bien sûr, les jeunes radicaux n’utilisent pas le mot «péché originel». Mais ils utilisent exactement les termes qui s’y appliquent.

Ils parlent d’«une tache reçue en héritage» qui «infecte votre esprit». C’est une idée très dangereuse, que les Églises canalisaient autrefois. Mais aujourd’hui que cette idée s’est échappée de l’Église, elle a gagné la rue et vous avez des meutes de post-protestants qui parcourent Washington DC, en s’en prenant à des gens dans des restaurants pour exiger d’eux qu’ils lèvent le poing. Leur conviction que l’Amérique est intrinsèquement corrompue par l’esclavage et n’a réalisé que le Mal, n’est pas enracinée dans des faits que l’on pourrait discuter, elle relève de la croyance religieuse. On exclut ceux qui ne se soumettent pas. On dérive vers une vision apocalyptique du monde qui n’est plus équilibrée par rien d’autre. Cela peut donner la pire forme d’environnementalisme, par exemple, parce que toutes les autres dimensions sont disqualifiées au nom de «la fin du monde».

C’est l’idée chrétienne de l’apocalypse, mais dégagée du christianisme. Il y a des douzaines d’exemples de religiosité visibles dans le comportement des protestataires: ils s’allongent par terre face au sol et gémissent, comme des prêtres que l’on consacre dans l’Église catholique. Ils ont organisé une cérémonie à Portland durant laquelle ils ont lavé les pieds de personnes noires pour montrer leur repentir pour la culpabilité blanche. Ils s’agenouillent. Tout cela sans savoir que c’est religieux! C’est religieux parce que l’humanité est religieuse. Il y a une faim spirituelle à l’intérieur de nous, qui se manifeste de différentes manières, y compris la violence! Ces gens veulent un monde qui ait un sens, et ils ne l’ont pas.

Les post-protestants peuvent-ils être comparés aux nihilistes russes qui cherchaient aussi un sens dans la lutte révolutionnaire et le marxisme?

Oui et non. Le marxisme est une religion par analogie. Certes, il porte cette idée d’une nouvelle naissance. Certaines personnes voulaient des certitudes et ne les trouvant plus dans leurs Églises, ils sont allés vers le marxisme. Mais en Amérique, c’est différent, car tout est centré sur le protestantisme. Dans L’Éthique protestante et l’esprit du capitalisme, Max Weber, avec génie et insolence, prend Marx et le met cul par-dessus tête. Marx avait dit que le protestantisme avait émergé à la faveur de changements économiques. Weber dit l’inverse. Ce n’est pas l’économie qui a transformé la religion, c’est la religion qui a transformé l’économie. Le protestantisme nous a donné le capitalisme, pas l’inverse! Parce que les puritains devaient épargner de l’argent pour assurer leur salut. Le ressort principal n’était pas l’économie mais la faim spirituelle, ce sentiment beaucoup plus profond, selon Weber. Une faim spirituelle a mené les gens vers le marxisme, et c’est la même faim spirituelle qui fait qu’ils sont dans les rues d’Amérique aujourd’hui.

Une faim spirituelle a mené les gens vers le marxisme, et c’est la même faim spirituelle qui fait qu’ils sont dans les rues d’Amérique aujourd’hui.

Trump se présente comme le protecteur du projet américain, ses adversaires le diabolisent… Comment jugez-vous la tournure religieuse prise par la campagne?

Je n’ai pas voté pour Trump. Bien que conservateur, je fais partie des «Never Trumpers». Mais je vois potentiellement une guerre civile à feu doux éclater si Trump gagne cette élection! Car les parties sont polarisées sur le plan spirituel. Si Trump gagne, pour les gens qui sont dans la rue, ce ne sera pas le triomphe des républicains, mais celui du mal. Rauschenbusch, dans son Évangile, dit que nous devons accomplir la rédemption de notre personnalité. Ces gens-là veulent être sûrs d’être de «bonnes personnes». Ils savent qu’ils sont de bonnes personnes s’ils sont opposés au racisme. Ils pensent être de bonnes personnes parce qu’ils sont opposés à la destruction de l’environnement. Ils veulent avoir la bonne «attitude», c’est la raison pour laquelle ceux qui n’ont pas la bonne attitude sont expulsés de leurs universités ou de leur travail pour des raisons dérisoires. Avant, on était exclu de l’Église, aujourd’hui, on est exclu de la vie publique… C’est pour cela que les gens qui soutiennent Trump, sont vus comme des «déplorables», comme disait Hillary Clinton, c’est-à-dire des gens qui ne peuvent être rachetés. Ils ont leur bible et leur fusil et ne suivent pas les commandements de la justice sociale.

Trump a-t-il gagné en 2016 parce qu’il s’est dressé contre ce nouveau catéchisme?

Avant même que Trump ne surgisse, avec Sarah Palin, et même sous Reagan, on a vu émerger à droite le sentiment que tout ce que faisaient les républicains pour l’Amérique traditionnelle, c’était ralentir sa disparition. Il y avait une immense exaspération car toute cette Amérique avait le sentiment que son mode de vie était fondamentalement menacé par les démocrates. Reagan est arrivé et a dit: «Je vais m’y opposer». Et voilà que Trump arrive et dit à son tour qu’il va dire non à tout ça. Je déteste le fait que Trump occupe cet espace, parce qu’il est vulgaire et insupportable. Mais il est vrai que tous ceux qui s’étaient sentis marginalisés ont voté pour Trump parce qu’il s’est mis en travers de la route. C’est d’ailleurs ce que leur dit Trump: «Ils n’en ont pas après moi, mais après vous.» Il faut comprendre que l’idéologie «woke» de la justice sociale a pénétré les institutions américaines à un point incroyable. Je n’imagine pas qu’un professeur ayant une chaire à la Sorbonne soit forcé d’assister à des classes obligatoires organisées pour le corps professoral sur leur «culpabilité blanche», et enseignées par des gens qui viennent à peine de finir le collège. Mais c’est la réalité des universités américaines.

Un sondage récent a montré que la majorité des professeurs d’université ne disent rien. Ils abandonnent plutôt toute mention de tout sujet controversé. Pourtant, des études ont montré que la foule des vigies de Twitter qui obtient la tête des professeurs excommuniés, remplirait à peine la moitié d’un terrain de football universitaire! Il y a un manque de courage.

Vous dites qu’à cause de la disparition des Églises, il n’y a plus de valeurs partagées et donc plus de but commun. Cela explique-t-il la remise en cause du projet américain lui-même?

La France a fait beaucoup de choses bonnes et glorieuses pour faire avancer la civilisation, mais elle a fait du mal. Si on croit au projet historique français, on peut démêler le bien du mal. Mais mes étudiants, et tous ces post-protestants dont je vous parle, sont absolument convaincus que tous les gens qui ont précédé, étaient stupides et sans doute maléfiques. Ils ne croient plus au projet historique américain. Ils sont contre les «affinités électives» qui, selon Weber, nous ont donné la modernité: la science, le capitalisme, l’État-nation. Si la théorie de la physique de Newton, Principia, est un manuel de viol, comme l’a dit une universitaire féministe, si sa physique est l’invention d’un moyen de violer le monde, cela veut dire que la science est mauvaise. Si vous êtes soupçonneux de la science, du capitalisme, du protestantisme, si vous rejetez tous les moteurs de la modernité la seule chose qui reste, ce sont les péchés qui nous ont menés là où nous sommes. Pour sûr, nous en avons commis. Mais si on ne voit pas que ça, il n’y a plus d’échappatoire, plus de projet. Ce qui passe aujourd’hui est différent de 1968 en France, quand la remise en cause a finalement été absorbée dans quelque chose de plus large. Le mouvement actuel ne peut être absorbé car il vise à défaire les États-Unis dans ses fondements: l’État-nation, le capitalisme et la religion protestante. Mais comme les États-Unis n’ont pas d’histoire prémoderne, nous ne pouvons absorber un mouvement vraiment antimoderne.

Comment sort-on de cette impasse?

Je n’en sais rien. Il y a une phrase de Heidegger qui dit que «seulement un Dieu pourrait nous sauver»! On a le sentiment qu’on est aux prémices d’une apocalypse, d’une guerre civile, d’une grande destruction de la modernité. Est-ce à cause de la trahison des clercs? Pour moi, l’incapacité des vieux libéraux à faire rempart contre les jeunes radicaux, est aujourd’hui le grand danger. Quand j’ai vu que de jeunes journalistes du New York Times avaient menacé de partir, parce qu’un responsable éditorial avait publié une tribune d’un sénateur américain qui leur déplaisait, j’ai été stupéfait. Je suis assez vieux pour savoir que dans le passé, la direction aurait immédiatement dit à ces jeunes journalistes de prendre la porte s’ils n’étaient pas contents. Mais ce qui s’est passé, c’est que le rédacteur en chef a été limogé.

Voir aussi:

America amid Spiritual Anxiety: A Conversation with Joseph Bottum
Mark Tooley & Joseph Bottum
Providence
June 19, 2020

Here’s my interview with Jody Bottum, author of An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, who applies his insights about post-Protestant America to contemporary protests.

Bottum theorizes that Mainline Protestantism’s collapse left a spiritual vacuum in American culture that loosed myriad social demons. Post-Protestantism wants to wage war on social sins, but not personal sins. It identifies redemption with having politically correct opinions. And it finds sanctification in denouncing others who lack its spiritual and political insights.

Of course, the post-Protestant theory of salvation is not satisfying, which leads to despair and deconstruction. From its perspective, absent Providence and eschatology, there is no destination, which potentially leads to destruction and nihilism. Bottum warns that a society without a shared culture cannot measure progress or purpose and no longer believes in itself, causing it to see its history as a long list of crimes.

Bottum published his book six years ago, yet its message is so timely today.


Rough Transcript of the Conversation:

TOOLEY: Hello, this is Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy here in Washington, DC, and also editor of Providence, a journal of Christianity and American foreign policy. Today I have the great pleasure of conversing with Jody Bottum, whose important book, of, I believe six years ago, called An Anxious Age, has a great application to contemporary events in terms of where America is spiritually and how we’re responding to today’s protests. So, I’m going to ask Jody to expound on that topic. But it’s a great pleasure to talk with you again, Jody.

BOTTUM: Thanks for having me, Mark.

TOOLEY: Well as I mentioned, your book An Anxious Age—and I need to recall the full title of it, it was An Anxious Age: The Post Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of America, quite a mouthful and a mindful. But you address the post-Protestant culture that has become paramount in American culture which continues the habits of the old wasp elite without the core theology of course. And it seems to pertain to contemporary events, among other reasons, and that these post Protestant elites want to contend against sinful forces which in their mind are almost amorphous and impersonal. And certainly, institutional and systemic racism would have ranked among them. They went to atone for this sense of guilt, but they really have no definition of atonement, so they seem to be trapped in a cycle without any conclusion. Do you think I’m understanding your thesis correctly?

BOTTUM: Yeah… now the direction I took that was not theological, but sociological and political. Because it struck me at the time that I wrote the first essay of what would become the book, which was a political theory of the Protestant mainline. And I meant the words political theory quite deliberately—that I wasn’t going to take up the question of a Christian metaphysics and who has a better account of it, whether Protestants or Catholics. I wasn’t going to do that. I was simply going to take up the fact that America was in essence a Protestant nation from its founding, from the arrival of the Puritans—and well, it’s a little more sophisticated than that, really from William and Mary on this was a Protestant country—and that we needed to sort of describe what Tocqueville called the main current of that. Now mainline is a word from much later, from the 1930s, but there always was a kind of main current of a general Protestantism. And I wanted to look at its political consequences and cultural consequences.

However much the rival Protestant denominations feuded with one another, disagreed with one another, I thought they gave a tone to the nation. And one of the things that they did particularly from the Civil War on was constrain social and political demons. They corralled them. They gave a shape to America, which was the marriage culture, the shape of funerals, life and death, birth, the family. They gave a shape to the cultural and sociological condition of America. And it struck me at the time, so I followed up that essay on the death of Protestant America with a whole book. And then subsequently applying it to the political situation that I saw emerging then in a big cover story for The Weekly Standard, called “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas.”

And in that kind of threefold push, I thought, “No one that I know is taking seriously the massive sociological change, perhaps the biggest in American history.” From 1965 when the Protestant churches, the mainline churches, by which I mean the founding churches in the National Council of Churches and the God box up on Riverside Drive—those churches, and their affiliated black churches, constituted or had membership that was just over fifty percent of America, as late as 1965. Today that number is well under 10 percent and that’s a huge sociological change that nobody to me seems to be paying sufficient attention to.

Now of course for someone like you, Mark, this is old news. You’ve been following this story for decades. But in kind of mainstream sociological discussions of America that just was not appearing as anything significant, and I thought it was profoundly significant and that the attempt of some of our neoconservative Catholic friends—and I was in the belly of that beast in those days—to substitute Catholicism for the failed American cultural pillar of the mainline Protestant churches—that that project, interesting as it was, failed, and that consequently, I predicted, we were going to see ever-larger sociological and cultural and political upset. Because there was no turning these demons of the human condition into an understanding of their personal application. Instead they just became cultural.

And I trace this move, perhaps unfairly, but I traced it to Rauschenbusch. And said when you say that it’s not individual sin, it’s social sin. And he lists six of them and they are exactly what the protestors are out in the street against right now. It’s what he called bigotry, which we used the word racism for, its militarism, its authoritarianism, and he names these six social sins and they are exactly the ones that the protesters are out against.

But I said the trouble with Rauschenbusch, who was a believer—I think he was a serious Christian and profoundly biblically educated so that his speech was just ripe with biblical quotations—the problem with him is the subsequent generations don’t need the church anymore. They don’t need Jesus anymore. He thinks of Jesus—in the metaphor I use—for the social gospel movement as it developed into just the social movement. Christ is the ladder by which we climb to the new ledge of understanding, but once we’re on that ledge, we don’t need the ladder anymore.

The logic of it is quite clear. We’ve reached this new height of moral and ethical understanding. Yes, thank you, Jesus Christ and the revelations taught it to us, but we’re there now. What need have we for a personal relationship with Jesus, what we need have we for a church? Having achieved this sentiment that knows that sin is these social constructs of destructiveness and our anxiety, the spiritual anxiety that human beings always feel, just by being human, is here answered. How do you know that you are saved today? You know that you are saved because you have the right attitude toward social sins. That’s how you know. Now they wouldn’t say saved; they would say, “How do you know you’re a good person?” But that’s just the logic. The logical pattern is the same.

And I develop that in the essay, “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas” by analyzing as tightly as I could the way in which white guilt is original sin. It’s original sin divorced from the theology that let it make sense. But the pattern of internal logic is exactly the same. It produces the same need to find salvation. It produces the same need to know that you are good by knowing that you are bad. It produces the same logic by which Paul would say, “Before the law there was no sin.” It has all of the same patterns of reason, except as you pointed out in your introduction, there’s no atonement. It’s as though, Mark, we’re living in St. Augustine’s metaphysics, but with all the Christ stuff stripped out. It’s a dark world; it’s a grim world. We’re inherently guilty and there’s no salvation. There’s no escape from it.

Except for the destruction of all. Which is why I then moved in that essay to talk about shunning in its modern forms, again divorced from the structures that once made it make sense, and apocalypse. The sense that we’re living at the end of the world and things are so terrible and so destructive that all the ordinary niceties of manners, of balancing judgment and so on, those are—if someone says, “We are destroying the planet and we’re all going to die unless you do what I want,” if I say, “Well we need to hear other voices,” they say, “That’s complicity with evil.” Right? The end of the world is coming; this is this apocalyptic imagination.

Now all of that I think was once upon a time in America—and I’m speaking only politically and sociologically—all of that was corralled, or much of it was corralled in the churches. You were taught a frame to understand your dissatisfactions with the world. You were taught a frame to understand the horror, the metaphysical horror that is the fact, Mark, that you and I are going to die. You were taught this frame that made it bearable and made it possible to move somewhere with it. With the breaking of that, these demons are let loose and now they’re out there.

I’ve often said, Mark, that the history of America since World War II is a history of a fourth Great Awakening that never quite happened. In a sense what I’ve seen for some years building and is now taking to the streets once again is the fourth Great Awakening except without the Christianity. I see in other words what’s happening out there as spiritual anxiety. But spiritual anxiety occurring in a world in which these people have no answer. They just have outrage. And it’s an escalating outrage.

This is where the single most influential thinker in my thought—a modern thinker—is Rene Girard, and Rene Girard’s idea of the escalation of memetic rivalry. The ways in which we get ever purer and we seek ever more tiny examples of evil that we can scapegoat and we enter into competition, this rivalry, to see who is more pure. This is exactly the motor, the Girardian motor, on which my idea of the spiritual anxiety runs.

And so, statues of George Washington are coming down now. And once upon a time, in the generation that I grew up in, and the generation that you grew up in, George Washington was—there were things bad things to say about him—but this was tantamount to saying America was a mistake. And of course these people think America was a mistake, because they think the whole history of the world is a mistake. There’s this outrage. And the outrage I think is spiritual. And that’s why it doesn’t get answered when voices of calm reason say, “Well let’s consider all sides. Yes, there were mistakes that were made and evils that were done, but let’s try to fix them.” Spiritual anxiety doesn’t get answered by, “Oh well let’s fix something.” It gets answered by the flame. It gets answered by the looting. It gets answered by the tearing down.

TOOLEY: So, it’s not just America that’s the mistake or Western civilization, its creation itself that’s the mistake.

BOTTUM: I think so. But creation appears to us in concrete guises, and the concrete guise right now is America. So, this is why you’ll get praise of ancient civilizations. Or you get the historical insanity of a US senator standing up on the well of the Senate and saying America invented slavery, that there was no slavery before the United States. That’s historically insane, but it’s not unlearned because we’ve passed beyond ignorance here. There’s something willful about it. And that’s what’s extraordinary, I think.

And yeah, I’m glad you look back to my 10-year-old book now because I think I did predict some of this, although obviously not in its particulars. But there was a warning there that the collapse of the mainline Protestant churches was going to introduce a demonic element into American life. And lo and behold, it has.

TOOLEY: Now it’s interesting what you described—the collapse in the mainline churches and the social consequences—the inability of Catholicism or evangelicals to fill that social and cultural vacuum and the inability of evangelicals and Catholics, seemingly, to diagnose our current crisis in the way that you just described. Why is that do you think?

BOTTUM: Well there are multiple questions there, Mark. Why Catholicism failed, why the evangelicals and Catholics together failed. So Catholicism by itself failed. The evangelicals and Catholics together project failed to provide this moral pillar to American discourse. And then there are a variety of reasons for that, beginning with the fact that Catholicism is an alien religion, alien to America. Jews and Catholics were more or less welcome to live here, but we understood that we lived on the banks of a great Mississippi of Protestantism that poured down the center of this country.

But the question of why it failed is one thing. The question of why the mainline Protestant churches failed is yet another part of your question. And although I list several examples that people have offered, I don’t make a decision about that in part because I am a Catholic. I have a suspicion that Protestantism with a higher sense of personal salvation, but a less thick metaphysics, was more susceptible to the line of the social gospel movement. But I don’t know that for certain so in the book I’m merely presenting these possibilities.

And then evangelicalism, Catholicism, was under attack for wounds, some of which it committed itself. Evangelicalism is in decline in America. The statistics show that this period when it seemed to be going from strength to strength may have been fueled most of all by the death of the mainline churches. They were just picking up those members. Instead of going to the Methodist Church, they were going to the Bible church out on the prairie.

But regardless, that Christian discourse, that slightly secularized Christian discourse, that would allow Abraham Lincoln to make his speeches, that would provide the background to political rhetoric and so on, that’s all gone. And as a consequence, it seems to me we don’t have a shared culture and that’s part of what allows these protests. But also I think, if there’s a way to put this, a culture that no longer believes in itself, that no longer has horizons, and targets, and goals, that no longer has even the vaguest sense of a telos towards which we ought to move, a culture like that, if we look at it, we no longer have a measure of progress. We can’t say what an advance is along the way. All we can do is look at our history and see it as a catalog of crimes that we perpetrated in order to reach this point that we’re at. And we can’t see the good that came out of it. Because we don’t know what the good is, we don’t know what the telos is, the target, so we have no measure for that.

So, we can’t celebrate the Civil War victory that ended slavery. All we can do is condemn slavery. We can’t celebrate the victory over the Nazis. We have to end World War II; all we can do is decry militarism and the crimes we committed to win that war, like the firebombing of Dresden, or the Hiroshima.

And I think that that reasoning is quite exact because the young people that I hear speak—now I haven’t spent as much time on this as I perhaps should have, following the ins and outs of every protestor alive today—but what I’ve heard suggests that they condemn America to the core—the whole of America, of American history. There is nothing good about this nation. And there it seems to me the reasoning is quite exact. Unable to see a point to America, unable to see a goal. They are quite right that all they can see are the crimes. Whereas you and I are capable of saying, yes slavery was a great sin, and we got over it, and then the post-reconstruction settlement of Jim Crow was a great sin, but we got over it, and we still are committing sins to this day but the optimism of America is that we’ll get over it, we will find solutions to these because we feel that we are a city on a hill. We feel that we are heading somewhere. The telos may be vague, maybe inchoate, but its pull is real for people like you and me, Mark. These young people—who, I think partly because they’ve been systematically miss-educated—don’t have any feeling for that at all. And because they don’t, I think they are actually being quite rational in saying America is just evil, it’s a history of sin.

TOOLEY: So these protests seem to lack any sense of redemption, personal or social, and no sense of providence, there is no historical destination for them. You and I do believe in redemption and in providence, so in conclusion, what words of hope would you have in terms of surviving and coming out of the present moment?

BOTTUM: I think it’ll pass. These things pass. There are various rages that take to the streets, but they are to some degree victims of their own energy. They burn out, and I think this one will burn out. The thing that we are not seeing now—in fact we’re seeing the opposite—is someone standing up to them. The New York Times firing of its op-ed page editor over publication of an op-ed from a sitting US senator is really quite extraordinary if we think about it. But I don’t believe institutions can survive if they pander in this way. And I think eventually we’ll get one standing up. I haven’t heard yet from the publisher of J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author, who the staff of her publishing house has declared themselves unwilling to work at a publisher that would publish a woman with such reprobate views of transgenderism. If the publisher doesn’t stand up to her, I think we may be in for another year of this. But I have a feeling she sells so well, that I don’t believe the publisher is going to give in. And if we have one person saying “That’s interesting, but if you can’t work here, you can’t work here, goodbye.” The first time we see that and they survived the subsequent Twitter outrage, I think we’ll see an end to the current cancel culture, which is of course the most insidious of the general social—the burning and the breaking of statues is physical, but the most destructive cultural thing right now is the cancel culture that gets people fired and their relatives fired and the rest of it. I think that has to end and I imagine it will, the first time somebody stands up to them and survives.

TOOLEY: Jody Bottum, author and commentator, thank you for a fascinating conversation about our current anxious age.

BOTTUM: Thanks Mark.

Voir également:
Dec. 2, 2014

I recently read Joseph Bottum’s marvelous book, “An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America.” This is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in some time.

Bottum will be familiar to many readers through his many essays in the Weekly Standard and elsewhere (this one is one of my favorites, which anticipates some of the ideas in this book) and his term at the helm of First Things. In fact, the prototype for “An Anxious Age” was a First Things cover story that Bottum wrote in 2008, “The Death of Protestant America: A Political Theory of the Protestant Mainline.” That article made a large impression on me when it first came out, and I was happy to learn that Bottum was planning to develop those ideas into a book.

“An Anxious Age” is probably best described as a work of religious sociology — both how society impacts religious practice (and how religious views evolve over time) as well as how religious views impact society. But it is written as an extended essay, not a data-focused academic tome, as is, for example, Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart,” to which the themes of “An Anxious Age” bear a good deal of resemblance.

The book is actually two relatively distinct essays, which bear a somewhat loose but useful connection. Part I of the book deals with the formal decline of the Protestant mainline churches as the moral center of American society, but also the continued rump effect those churches have on American society’s subconscious (if society can have a subconscious). Part II of the book addresses what Bottum characterizes as an effort — ultimately unsuccessful — by Catholics and evangelicals beginning in the mid-2000s to form a sort of alliance to try to create a new moral code and religious institutional ballast to fill the void left in American society by the decline of the Protestant mainline churches that he describes in the first part of the book. What I found most interesting and provocative is Bottum’s thesis that although it seems that the moral core of modern American society has been entirely secularized, and religion and religious institutions play little role in shaping those views, in fact the watered-down gruel of moral views served up by elite establishment opinion (recycling, multiculturalism, and the like) is a remnant of the old collection of Protestant mainline views that dominated American society for decades or even centuries.

To highlight the important sociological importance of religion in American society, Bottum uses the now-familiar metaphor of a three-legged stool in describing American society (one that I and others have used as well): a balance between constitutional democracy, free market capitalism, and a strong and vibrant web of civil society institutions where moral lessons are taught and social capital is built. In the United States, the most important civil society organizations traditionally have been family and churches. And, among the churches, by far the most important were those that Bottum deems as the “Protestant Mainline” — Episcopalian, Lutheran, Baptist (Northern), Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist/United Church of Christ, etc.

The data on changing membership in these churches is jaw-dropping. In 1965, for example, over half of the United States population claimed membership in one of the Protestant mainline churches. Today, by contrast, less than 10 percent of the population belongs to one of these churches. Moreover, those numbers are likely to continue to decline — the Protestant Mainline (“PM”) churches also sport the highest average age of any church group.

Why does the suicide of the Protestant Mainline matter? Because for Bottum, these churches are what provided the sturdy third leg to balance politics and markets in making a good society. Indeed, Bottum sees the PM churches as the heart of American Exceptionalism — they provided the moral code of Americanism. Probity, responsibility, honesty, integrity — all the moral virtues that provided the bedrock of American society and also constrained the hydraulic and leveling tendencies of the state and market to devour spheres of private life.

The collapse of this religious-moral consensus has been most pronounced among American elites, who have turned largely indifferent to formal religious belief. And in some leftist elite circles it has turned to outright hostility toward religion — Bottum reminds us of Barack Obama’s observation that rural Americans today cling to their “guns and Bibles” out of bitterness about changes in the world. Perhaps most striking is that anti-Catholic bigotry today is almost exclusively found on “the political Left, as it members rage about insidious Roman influence on the nation: the Catholic justices on the Supreme Court plotting to undo the abortion license, and the Catholic racists of the old rust belt states turning their backs on Obama to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Why is it no surprise that one of the last places in American Christianity to find good, old-fashioned anti-Catholicism is among the administrators of the dying Mainline…. They must be anti-Catholics precisely to the extent that they are also political leftists.” As the recent squabbles over compelling practicing Catholics to toe the new cultural line on same-sex marriage at the risk of losing their jobs or businesses, the political Left today is increasingly intolerant of recognizing a private sphere of belief outside of the crushing hand of political orthodoxy.

Yet as Bottum notes, the traditional elite consensus has been replaced by a new spiritual orthodoxy of “morality.” The American elite (however defined) today does subscribe to a set of orthodoxies of what constitutes “proper” behavior: proper views on the environment, feminism, gay rights, etc. Thus, Bottum provocatively argues, the PM hasn’t gone away, it has simply evolved into a new form, a religion without God as it were, in which the Sierra club, universities, and Democratic Party have supplanted the Methodists and Presbyterians as the teachers of proper values.

How did this occur? I am Catholic, so this part of the story was one of the elements of the book that struck me as particularly interesting, as much of the history was new to me. Bottum points to the key moment as the emergence of the Social Gospel movement in the early 20th Century. Led by Walter Rauschenbusch, the Social Gospel movement reached beyond the traditional view that Christianity spoke to personal failings such as sin, but instead reached “the social sin of all mankind, to which all who ever lived have contributed, and under which all who ever lived have suffered.” As Bottum summarizes it, Rauschenbusch identified six social sins: “bigotry, the arrogance of power, the corruption of justice for personal ends, the madness [and groupthink] of the mob, militarism, and class contempt.” As religious belief moved from the pulpit and pew to the voting booth and activism, the role of Jesus and any religious belief became increasingly attenuated. And eventually, Bottum suggests, the political agenda itself came to overwhelm the increasingly irrelevant religious beliefs that initially supported it. Indeed, to again consider contemporary debates, what matters most is outward conformity to orthodox opinion, not persuasion and inward acceptance of a set of particular views–as best illustrated by the lynch mobs that attacked Brendan Eich for his political donations (his outward behavior) and to compel conformity of behavior among wedding cake bakers and the like, all of which bears little relation to (and in fact is likely counterproductive) to changing personal belief. (Of course, that too is an unstable equilibrium–in the future it won’t be sufficient to not merely not be politically opposed to same-sex marriage, it will be a litmus test to be affirmatively in favor of it.).

Thus, while the modern elite appears to be largely non-religious, Bottum argues that they are the subconscious heirs to the old Protestant Mainline, but are merely Post-Protestant — the same demographic group of people holding more or less the same views and fighting the same battles as the advocates of the social gospel.

In the second part of the book, Bottum turns to his second theme — the effort beginning around 2000 of Catholics and Evangelical Christians to form an alliance to create a new moral consensus to replace the void left by the collapse Protestant Mainline churches. Oversimplified, Bottum’s basic point is that this was an effort to marry the zeal and energy of Evangelical churches to the long, well-developed natural law theory of Catholicism, including Catholic social teaching. Again oversimplified, Bottum’s argument is that this effort was doomed on both sides of the equation–first, Catholicism is simply too dense and “foreign” to ever be a majoritarian church in the United States; and second, because evangelical Christianity itself has lost much of its vibrant nature. Bottum notes, which I hadn’t realized, that after years of rapid growth, evangelical Christianity appears to be in some decline in membership. Thus, the religious void remains. The obvious question with which one is left is if Bottum is correct that religious institutions uphold the third leg of the American stool, and if (as he claims) religion is the key to American exceptionalism, can America survive without a continued vibrant religious tradition?

Herewith a few of my own thoughts after reading the book:

The first is simply that this is an immensely interesting and readable book. I read almost the whole thing on a plane trip from California and Jody’s writing style just carries you along effortlessly. His writing is high stylistic without be overstylized and is just an absolute joy to read. He has a gift for weaving together larger ideas with anecdotes and exemplars of his point. He has a light touch in making his point that rarely offends (even on controversial issues) and always illuminates.

Second, is that I largely find Bottum’s argument persuasive. The absence of the Protestant Mainline as a central moral force in American society today is largely taken for granted, such that the implications are largely ignored–as if it has always been this way. To the extent that leaders of Mainline Protestant churches are ever noticed in public, my impression is they are viewed as somewhat buffoonish figures trotted out occasionally to add a veneer of religious window-dressing to the elite’s preexisting views on various political issues such as same-sex marriage and the size of the welfare state. I say “buffoonish” because they often seem to come across as intellectual lightweights, to shallow intellectually to be taken seriously by secular analysts and too shallow theologically to be taken seriously by religious analysts. As a result, they seem to have little influence over public life today. They’ve essentially made themselves irrelevant. (My apologies for painting with an overly-broad brush, and I realize that this is a contestable assertion. It just reflects my impression of how leaders of the Mainline Protestant churches are often treated in news coverage and the like).

Third, one  aspect of the modern post-Protestant morality that struck me after reading the book is its ostentatious and somewhat self-congratulatory nature. In the Preface to the book, Bottum explains that the proximate genesis of the book was an experience he had in 2011 when he was commissioned to write an article about the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. Bottum sensed in these young and clueless youth a deep spiritual anxiety. But it was not linked to any coherent political platform or reform agenda–instead, the goal was “change” of some sort and an assertion of the protesters moral rectitude; and, perhaps equally important (as Bottum describes it), an anxiety to be publicly congratulated for their moral rectitude. Campus protests today, for example, often seem to be sort of a form of performance art, where the gestures of protest and being seen to “care” are ends in themselves, as often the protests themselves have goals that are somewhat incoherent (compared to, say, protests against the Vietnam War). Bottum describes this as a sort of spirtual angst, a vague discomfort with the way things are and an even vaguer desire for change. On this point I wonder whether he is being too generous to their motives.

Fourth, and to my mind the most important thought I had while reading it, was that I found Bottum’s description of the causal decline of the Protestant Mainline incomplete. He briefly pauses to address the question: “The question, of course, is why it happened–this sudden decline of the Mainline, this collapse of the Great Church of America, this dwindling of American Protestantism even as it has now found the unity that it always lacked before.” He discusses a few of the hypotheses (at pages 104-107) but simply defers to the work of others.

But there is one thesis that he doesn’t consider that I think contributes much of the explanation of the decline of the importance of the Protestant Mainline, which is the thesis developed by Shelby Steele is his great book “White Guilt.” I think Steele’s argument provides the key to unlocking not only the decline of the Protestant Mainline but also the timing, and why the decline of the Protestant Mainline has been so much more precipitous than Evangelicals and Catholics, as well as why anti-Evangelical and anti-Catholic bigotry is so socially acceptable among liberal elites.

Steele’s thesis, oversimplified, is that the elite institutions of American society for many years were complicit in a system that perpetrated injustices on many Americans. The government, large corporations, major universities, white-show law firms, fraternal organizations, etc.–the military being somewhat of an exception to this–all conspired explicitly or tacitly in a social system that supported first slavery then racial discrimination, inequality toward women, anti-Semitism, and other real injustices. Moreover, all of this came to a head in the 1960s, when these long-held and legitimate grievances bubbled to the surface and were finally recognized and acknowledged by those who ran these elite institutions and efforts were taken to remediate their harms. This complicity in America’s evils, Steele argues, discredited the moral authority of these institutions, leaving not only a vacuum at the heart of American society but an ongoing effort at their redemption.

But, Steele argues, this is where things have become somewhat perverse. It wasn’t enough for, say, Coca-Cola to actually take steps to remediate its past sins, it was crucial for Coca-Cola to show that it was acknowledging its guilty legacy and, in particular, to demonstrate that it was now truly enlightened. But how to do that? Steele argues that this is the pivotal role played by hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — they can sell the indulgences to corporations, universities, and the other guilty institutions to allow them to demonstrate that they “understand” and accept their guilt and through bowing to Jackson’s demands, Jackson can give them a clean bill of moral health.

Thus, Steele says that what is really going on is an effort by the leaders of these institutions to “dissociate” themselves from their troubled past and peer institutions today that lack the same degree of enlightenment. Moreover, it is crucially important that the Jackson’s of the world set the terms–indeed, the more absurd and ridiculous the penance the better from this perspective, because more ridiculous penances make it easier to demonstrate your acceptance of your guilt.

One set of institutions that Steele does not address, but which fits perfectly into his thesis, is the Protestant Mainline churches that Bottum is describing. It is precisely because the Protestant Mainline churches were the moral backbone of American society that they were in need of the same sort of moral redemption that universities, corporations, and the government. Indeed, because of their claim to be the moral exemplar, their complicity in real injustice was especially bad. Much of the goofiness of the Mainline Protestant churches over the past couple of decades can be well-understood, I think, through this lens of efforts to dissociate themselves from their legacy and other less-enlightened churches. In short, it seems that often their religious dogma is reverse-engineered–they start from wanting to make sure that they hold the correct cutting-edge political and social views, then they retrofit a thin veil of religious belief over those social and political opinions. Such that their religious beliefs today, as far as one ever hears about them at all, differ little from the views of The New York Times editorial page.

This also explains why Catholics and Evangelicals are so maddening, and threatening, to the modern elites. Unlike the Protestant Mainline churches that were the moral voice of the American establishment, Catholicism and Evangelicals have always been outsiders to the American establishment. Thus they bear none of the guilt of having supported unjust political and social systems and refuse to act like they do. They have no reason to kowtow to elite opinion and, indeed, are often quite populist in their worldview (consider the respect that Justices Scalia or Thomas have for the moral judgments of ordinary Americans on issues like abortion or same-sex marriage vs. the views of elites). Given the sorry record of American elites for decades, there is actually a dividing line between two world views. Modern elites believe that the entire American society was to blame, thus we all share guilt and must all seek forgiveness through affirmative action, compulsory sensitivity training, and recycling mandates. Others, notably Catholics and Evangelicals, refuse to accept blame for a social system that they played no role in creating or maintaining and which, in fact, they were excluded themselves. To some extent, therefore, I think that the often-remarked political fault line in American society along religious lines (which Bottum discusses extensively), is as much cultural and historical (in Steele’s sense) as disagreements over religion per se. At the same time, the decline of its moral authority hit the Protestant Mainline churches harder than well-entrenched universities, corporations, or the government, in part because the embrace of the Social Gospel had laid the foundations for their own obsolescence years before.

This also explains why if a religious revival is to occur, it would come from the alliance of Catholics and Evangelicals that he describes in the second half of the book. Mainline Protestantism seems to simply lack the moral authority to revive itself and has essentially made itself obsolete. There appears to be little market for religions without God.

In the end, Bottum leaves us with no answer to his central question–can America, which for so long relied on the Protestant Mainline churches to provide a moral and institutional third leg to the country, survive without it. Can the thin gruel of the post-Protestant New York Times elite consensus provide the moral glue that used to hold the country together? Perhaps, or perhaps not — that is the question we are left with after reading Bottum’s fascinating book.

Finally, I drafted this over the weekend, but I wanted to call attention to Jody’s new essay at the Weekly Standard “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas” that touches on many of the themes of the book and develops them in light of ongoing controversies, especially on the parallels between the new moral consensus and traditional religious thinking (and, in fact, his comments on “original sin” strike me as similar to the points about Shelby Steele that I raised above).

He traces this to the early 20th-century Social Gospel movement and the Protestant writer Walter Rauschenbusch. This movement has created a post-Protestant class: “Christian in the righteous timbre of its moral judgments, without any actual Christianity; middle class in social flavor, while ostensibly despising middle-class norms; American in cultural setting, even as [they believe] American history is a tale of tyranny.”

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« An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America »


An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, by Joseph Bottum. Image Books (February 11, 2014)

We live in a profoundly spiritual age–but in a very strange way, different from every other moment of our history. Huge swaths of American culture are driven by manic spiritual anxiety and relentless supernatural worry. Radicals and traditionalists, liberals and conservatives, together with politicians, artists, environmentalists, followers of food fads, and the chattering classes of television commentators: America is filled with people frantically seeking confirmation of their own essential goodness. We are a nation desperate to stand on the side of morality–to know that we are righteous and dwell in the light.

Or so Joseph Bottum argues in An Anxious Age, an account of modern America as a morality tale, formed by its spiritual disturbances. And the cause, he claims, is the most significant and least noticed historical fact of the last fifty years: the collapse of the Mainline Protestant churches that were the source of social consensus and cultural unity. Our dangerous spiritual anxieties, broken loose from the churches that once contained them, now madden everything in American life.

Updating The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber’s sociological classic, An Anxious Age undertakes two case studies in contemporary social class, adrift in a nation without the religious understandings that gave it meaning. Looking at the college-educated elite he calls “The Poster Children,” Bottum sees the post-Protestant heirs of the old Mainline Protestant domination of culture: dutiful descendants who claim the high social position of their Christian ancestors even while they reject their ancestors’ Christianity. Turning to “The Swallows of Capistrano,” the Catholics formed by the pontificate of John Paul II, Bottum evaluates the early victories–and later defeats–of the attempt to substitute Catholicism for the dying Mainline voice in public life.

Sweeping across American intellectual and cultural history, An Anxious Age traces the course of national religion and warns about the strange angels and even stranger demons with which we now wrestle. Insightful and contrarian, wise and unexpected, An Anxious Age ranks among the great modern accounts of American culture.

Voir encore:

The New York Times magazine

There is a strange little cultural feedback loop that’s playing out again and again on social media. It begins with, say, a white American man who becomes interested in taking an outspoken stand against racism or misogyny. Maybe he starts by attending a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Or by reading the novels of Elena Ferrante. At some point, he might be asked to “check his privilege,” to acknowledge the benefits that accrue to him as a white man. At first, it’s humiliating — there’s no script for taking responsibility for advantages that he never asked for and that he can’t actually revoke. But soon, his discomfort is followed by an urge to announce his newfound self-­awareness to the world. He might even want some public recognition, a social affirmation of the work he has done on himself.

These days, it has become almost fashionable for people to telegraph just how aware they have become. And this uneasy performance has increasingly been advertised with one word: “woke.” Think of “woke” as the inverse of “politically correct.” If “P.C.” is a taunt from the right, a way of calling out hypersensitivity in political discourse, then “woke” is a back-pat from the left, a way of affirming the sensitive. It means wanting to be considered correct, and wanting everyone to know just how correct you are.

In the ’70s, Americans who styled themselves as “radical chic” communicated their social commitments by going to cocktail parties with Black Panthers. Now they photograph themselves reading the right books and tweet well-­tuned platitudes in an effort to cultivate an image of themselves as politically engaged. Matt McGorry, the actor who plays a sweetly doofy prison guard in “Orange Is the New Black,” is a helpful case study of this phenomenon. McGorry’s Instagram presence was once blithely ­bro-ey — yacht shots, tank tops, a tribute to coconut water. Then he watched the actress Emma Watson brief the United Nations on the importance of men’s involvement in the feminist movement, and he took it to heart. Now he presents his muscular selfies and butt jokes alongside iconography of feminism and anti-­racism. In one snap, he holds a copy of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” in bed, shirtless. In December, BuzzFeed nodded at McGorry with a listicle titled: “Can We Talk About How Woke Matt McGorry Was in 2015?”

Earning the “woke” badge is a particularly tantalizing prospect because it implies that you’re down with the historical fight against prejudice. It’s a word that arose from a specific context of black struggle and has recently assumed a new sense of urgency among activists fighting against racial injustices in Ferguson, Sanford, Baltimore and Flint. When Black Lives Matter activists started a website to help recruit volunteers to the cause, they called it StayWoke.org. “Woke” denotes awareness, but it also connotes blackness. It suggests to white allies that if they walk the walk, they get to talk the talk.

The most prominent pop touchstone for “stay woke” is Erykah Badu’s 2008 track “Master Teacher,” in which she sings the refrain “I stay woke.” “Erykah brought it alive in popular culture,” says David Stovall, a professor of African-­American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “She means not being placated, not being anesthetized. She brought out what her elders and my elders had been saying for hundreds of years.” In turn, the track has helped shepherd the next generation into its own political consciousness. In an interview with NPR last year, the rapper Earl Sweatshirt described listening to “Master Teacher” in the car with his mother as a teenager. “I was singing the hook, like, ‘I stay woke,’ ” he said. His mother turned down the music, and “she was like, ‘No you’re not.’ ”

Earl Sweatshirt’s mom was cautioning her son against brandishing a word without understanding its history and power. He got the message years later, he said, and called her up and announced: “I’m grown.” Such reflectiveness is often absent from the promiscuous spread of “woke” online. The word has now been recycled by people hoping to add splashes of drama to their own inconsequential obsessions, tweeting “Raptors will win it all #STAYWOKE” or “new bio … #staywoke.” The new iteration of radical chic is the guy on Tinder who calls himself a “feminist artist in Brooklyn” and then says he’s “looking for the you-know-what in the you-know-where” — the performance of “wokeness” is so conspicuous that it breeds distrust.

In a 2012 paper about race relations on Twitter, Dr. André Brock, a University of Michigan communications professor, wrote about how the surfacing of popular hashtags and trending topics “brought the activities of tech-­literate blacks to mainstream attention,” creating a space where the expressions of black identity are subject to “intense monitoring” by white people — a kind of accelerator for cultural appropriation. When black activists used “stay woke” in their Twitter campaigns against police violence, the term appeared alongside a host of trending hashtags — #ICantBreathe, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown — and was thus flagged for white people who have never listened to a Badu album or joined the crowd at a rally.

Defanged of its political connotations, “stay woke” is the new “plugged in.” In January, MTV announced “woke” as a trendy new slice of teen slang. As Brock said, “The original cultural meaning of ‘stay woke’ gets lost in the shuffle.”

And so those who try to signal their wokeness by saying “woke” have revealed themselves to be very unwoke indeed. Now black cultural critics have retooled “woke” yet again, adding a third layer that claps back at the appropriators. “Woke” now works as a dig against those who claim to be culturally aware and yet are, sadly, lacking in self-awareness. In a sharp essay for The Awl, Maya Binyam coined the term “Woke Olympics,” a “kind of contest” in which white players compete to “name racism when it appears” or condemn “fellow white folk who are lagging behind.”

The latest revolution of “woke” doesn’t roll its eyes at white people who care about racial injustice, but it does narrow them at those who seem overeager to identify with the emblems and vernacular of the struggle. For black activists, there is a certain practicality in publicly naming white allies. Being woke, Stovall says, means being “aware of the real issues” and willing to speak of them “in ways that are uncomfortable for other white folks.” But identifying allies poses risks, too. “There are times when people have been given the ‘black pass,’ and it hasn’t worked out so well,” Stovall says. “Like Clinton in the ’90s.” A white person who gains a kind of license to use power on behalf of black people can easily wield that power on behalf of themselves.

“Woke” feels a little bit like Macklemore rapping in one of his latest tracks about how his whiteness makes his rap music more acceptable to other white people. The conundrum is built in. When white people aspire to get points for consciousness, they walk right into the cross hairs between allyship and appropriation. These two concepts seem at odds with each other, but they’re inextricable. Being an ally means speaking up on behalf of others — but it often means amplifying the ally’s own voice, or centering a white person in a movement created by black activists, or celebrating a man who supports women’s rights when feminists themselves are attacked as man-haters. Wokeness has currency, but it’s all too easy to spend it.

The Puritans Among Us

Mary Eberstadt

National Review

April 21, 2014

Review of An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, by Joseph Bottum (Image, 320 pp., $25).

Some writers are “Catholic writers” in the sense that they do their work qua Catholics, and their main subject is the immense intellectual, social, and aesthetic patrimony of the Catholic Church. But there also exists a rarer kind of Catholic writer: the one who is multilingual in secular as well as religious tongues, whose Catholicism nonetheless runs so deep that it cannot help but shape and suffuse his every line.

Joseph Bottum, fortunately for American letters, is an example of the latter sort. In fact, it’s safe to say that if Mr. Bottum were anything but a writer who is also known to be Catholic, his name would be mandatory on any objective short list of public intellectuals, if there were such a thing. He is the author of several books, including a volume of poetry (The Fall & Other Poems), a work of verse set to music (The Second Spring), a bestselling memoir (The Christmas Plains), and now, with An Anxious Age, an immensely ambitious work of sociological criticism. His essays have garnered awards and are included in notable collections. He has also worn the hats of literary critic, columnist, editor, books editor, short-story writer, autobiographer, eulogist, public speaker, television pundit, Amazon author (via the groundbreaking Kindle Singles series), and visiting professor. If there were milliners for intellectuals, his would be the busiest in town.

Yet, as is not widely understood despite this prodigious body of work, Bottum is also, at heart, a storyteller — meaning that he is preoccupied not only with syllogism and validity but also with literary characters and creations. Once in a while, this absorption with dramatis personae ends up confounding readers — as happened just last year, when a long essay of his, published in Commonweal, arguing the futility of continuing Church opposition to same-sex marriage, combusted as instantly and widely as a summer brushfire. That piece, too, as was perhaps insufficiently noted at the time, began with and meandered around a literarycharacter: a former friend and foil with whom the piece amounts to an imaginary conversation.

To observe as much isn’t to say that fiction always trumps. It’s rather to note that with poets and poetry, for better or worse, comes license — including license to chase arguments into places where other people, rightly or wrongly, fear to tread.

That same singular gift is now turned to brilliant advantage in Bottum’s new book. A strikingly original diagnosis of the national moral condition, An Anxious Age bears comparison for significance and scope to only a handful of recent seminal works. Deftly analytical and also beautifully written, it has the head of Christopher Lasch and the heart of Flannery O’Connor. Anyone wishing to chart the deeper intellectual and religious currents of this American time, let alone anyone who purports to navigate them for the rest of the public, must first read and reckon withAn Anxious Age.

The book begins in territory that’s familiar enough: the well-known and ongoing collapse of the Protestant mainline churches, whose floor-by-floor implosion the author traced first in a seminal 2008 essay for First Things on “The Death of Protestant America.” This starting point soon widens dramatically onto a 180-degree view of the national milieu. Contrary to the widely held secularization thesis, according to which the decline of Christianity is inevitable, Bottum argues instead that the Puritans and Protestants of yesteryear still walk the country in new and rarely recognized “secular” guises. Bonnie Paisley of Oregon, Gil Winslow of upstate New York, Ellen Doorn of Texas — these and other characters conjured as the “Poster Children of Post-Protestantism” illustrate via their individual stories the author’s central point: The mainline hasn’t so much vanished as gone underground to become what O’Connor once derisively called “the Church without Christ.”

To be sure, the idea that secularization has not so much killed God as repurposed Him into seemingly secular shapes is not in itself new. It’s the key point in philosopher Charles Taylor’s work, especially in his prodigious book A Secular Age. No author, however, has brought this idea to life as Bottum does in An Anxious Age — whose very title, obviously, suggests the amendment that it is to Taylor’s thesis. Throughout, the Poster Children spring from the pages like so many impish holograms, turning two-dimensional arguments over “believing” and “belonging” into recognizable and ultimately persuasive companions at the reader’s elbow.

These Poster Children, the author argues, are direct descendants of the “social gospel” of Protestant theologian Walter Rauschenbusch: the notion that sin has a social and not merely individual dimension. “Social nature abhors a vacuum,” notes Bottum in a key passage,

and the past thirty years have seen many attempts to fill the space where Protestantism used to stand. Feminism in the 1980s, homosexuality in the 1990s, environmentalism in the 2000s, the quadrennial presidential campaigns that promise to reunify the nation . . . [these] movements have all posed themselves as partial Protestantisms, bastard Christianities, determined not merely to win elections but to be the platform by which all other platforms are judged.

Once again, the millenarian character of contemporary politics — particularly today’s politics of the Left — has been noted before. But once again, Bottum digs deeper here to yield truths not hitherto inspected.Partial Protestantisms, bastard Christianities: It isn’tonly that ostensibly secular leftism is Christianity in some unexpected, other guise. It’s rather that ostensibly secular leftism is a particular kind of truncated Christianity: the theological and sociological equivalent of the fatherless home.

And so, for example, Occupy Wall Street, for all its grubby pretension, is in essence just one more “protest against the continuing reign of Satan and a plea for the coming of the Kingdom of God, with a new heaven and a new earth.” Related yearnings for personal redemption, the author argues, also unite certain ardent young Catholics drawn to “lifeboat theology, escaping the rising sea of evil on small arks of the saved.” These groups are joined, he argues, at the sociological root — proof of what, in a bow to Max Weber, the book calls our “Anxious Age” created by “the catastrophic decline of the mainline Protestant churches that had once been central institutions in public life.”

In a curious way, An Anxious Age also amounts to a limited reenchantment of the intellectual world. When conservatives in particular attack “the elites,” Bottum argues, they “focus entirely on non-spiritual causes.” In this they overlook the essential link between these “elites” and their Puritan forebears, for “the one social ascendency they truly feel, the one deepest in their souls, is the superiority of the spiritually enlightened to those still lost in darkness.” Contrary to what both the Poster Children and their religious critics seem to think, all are leaning toward the same end: a sense of redemption. “Elite or not,” he observes, “they are the elect — people who understand themselves primarily in spiritual terms,” whether they darken the doors of churches or not.

An Anxious Age abounds in logic and clarification (and for that reason among others, it was derelict of the book’s publisher to omit footnotes and an index, both of which would have helped to signal its scholarly nature). Even so, it is the book’s metaphors that will haunt the reader after he puts it down. Who else would describe Protestantism in the United States as “our cultural Mississippi, rolling through the center of the American landscape”? Likely no one — but the image brings to vivid and unexpected life a thousand Pew Research reports on declining attendance and the rise in “nones.” Similarly, the author’s unspooling of the story of the swallows of San Juan Capistrano as a metaphor for explaining what has happened to Catholicism in America is not only arresting but convincing, succeeding both as religious sociology and as literary trope.

None of which is to say that the book’s every fillip and expostulation amounts to the last word. Like any serious work, this one excites demurrals, objections, and second and third thoughts. In particular, one wants to hear more about the other and less cerebral forces that were obviously at work in the implosion of mainline Protestantism and its fallout.

After all, not every religious movement emerging from the “burned-over district” in upstate New York suffered the same communal fate. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to take one salient example, went on to become one of the most ascendant faiths of the next century. Why did mainline Presbyterianism, say, fall one way on history’s divide, while Protestant evangelicalism and Mormonism, say, fell another? One likely answer is that the mainline’s doctrinal neglect and practical abandonment of the family led eventually to demographic disaster in the pews. In similar fashion, one can argue, Catholics who have behaved like Catholics have seen their own corners of the religious world prosper — and Catholics who have behaved like mainline Protestants have not.

Other points invite similar friendly debate, including the author’s claim that tomorrow’s Catholicism is necessarily less robust than yesterday’s because it is no longer as “inherited.” And of course one can also question ad infinitum why Bottum chose to discuss some of the thinkers in these pages, and not others. But no shortcomings gainsay the superb achievement here. As his friend and sometime collaborator, the author David P. Goldman, once put it, “One often learns more about the underlying issues from Jody Bottum’s mistakes than from the dutiful plodding of many of his peers.”

Readers who find the Poster Children stalking their imaginations might also hope to see more overt works of fiction from the talented Mr. Bottum down the road. Meanwhile, the daring achievement of the author of An Anxious Age — bringing sociology to unique fictional life — is something that the rest of us will be thinking about for a long time to come.

– Mary Eberstadt is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the author of How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization.

Voir enfin:
Delphine Le Goff
Stratégies
16/12/2019

C’est le nouveau buzzword, une nouvelle forme de coolitude : être « woke » ou ne pas être. Le terme, dérivé de l’argot afro-américain, désigne l’état d’éveil aux injustices de la société au sens large. Une nouvelle forme de bien-pensance ?

Tenez-vous prêts. Il paraît que dans les mois à venir, on n’aura que ce mot à la bouche. Ringardisée, la bienveillance, mot de l’année 2018 selon Le Robert, utilisée jusqu’à l’écœurement – d’ailleurs bien souvent par des personnes en réalité tout sauf bienveillantes. 2019, paraît-il, sera l’année du « woke ». Même Le Monde, il y a quelques mois, donnait en avant-première ce sage conseil : « Ne soyez plus cool, soyez woke. » Voilà autre chose !
« Woke, c’est le nouveau buzzword, reconnaît Martin Lagache, planneur stratégique chez BETC, qui se lance dans une exégèse du terme, issu de l’argot afro-américain. C’est la chanteuse Erykah Badu qui l’a popularisé il y a une dizaine d’années, avec sa chanson “Master Teacher (I stay woke)”, puis en 2012, en utilisant la phrase “Stay woke” dans un message public de soutien aux Pussy Riot [groupe de rock féministe russe dissident]. » Woke, comme « éveillé », un terme repris à l’envi pendant le mouvement #Blacklivesmatter en 2013. Le terme s’est déployé et désigne aujourd’hui le fait d’être conscient de toutes les formes d’inégalités, du racisme au sexisme en passant par les préoccupations environnementales. En somme, résume Martin Lagache, « le “woke” est le terme étendard de la bien-pensance libérale [au sens anglo-saxon] américaine de gauche. Est-ce que les Gilets jaunes sont woke ? Tout le monde peut être woke. »

Atout séduction

Le terme infuse irrésistiblement, y compris dans les replis de la vie privée. À telle enseigne qu’être « woke » peut même faire de vous un prince ou une princesse de l’amour. Il est désormais de bon ton, dans les pays anglo-saxons, de proclamer que l’on est un « woke bae », c’est-à-dire un(e) petit(e) ami(e) progressiste et averti(e) des injustices de notre triste monde. Pour certains, il ne s’agit plus de débusquer Mr Right, mais Mr Woke : une journaliste du Guardian relatait ainsi, en août dernier, sa recherche éperdue de ce nouveau spécimen hautement désirable dans un déchirant article titré « My search for Mr Woke : a dating diary. » La rédactrice confie gentiment aux lecteurs ses trucs et astuces pour draguer « woke ». À faire : prononcer des phrases comme « la pauvreté n’est pas de la faute des pauvres ». À éviter : la complainte du « on ne peut plus rien dire ». C’est noté.

Grande recycleuse devant l’éternel, la publicité ne pouvait rester immune aux charmes du « woke ». Avec la récente campagne Gillette, « We believe : The best men can be », galerie d’hommes qui expriment leur aversion du sexisme ordinaire, des violences faites aux femmes, du mansplaining, du harcèlement scolaire – en bref, de ce que la marque désigne comme « la masculinité toxique » –, n’atteindrait-on pas un sommet de « wokeité » ? Sans l’ombre d’un doute, selon Olivier et Hervé Bienaimé, directeurs de la création de 84.Paris : « Pour ce qui est du combat contre le machisme et le patriarcat, le message est ultra-positif. » Et archi-opportuniste, aussi ? « Gillette change tout à coup de braquet, après nous avoir vendu pendant des années le modèle de l’homme blanc musclé en pleine réussite sociale », soulignent les créatifs.

Plus engagé que le cool

C’est bien d’être éveillé. Mais trop le faire savoir, ne serait-ce pas suspect ? « Le cool était une attitude anti-mainstream, un peu rebelle mais farouchement individualiste, souligne Martin Lagache. Avec le “woke”, on se situe dans une posture plus engagée. Mais bien souvent, c’est plus une posture qu’autre chose. Et dans la plupart des cas, une posture paresseuse de valorisation personnelle… » Dans une tribune pour le New York Times titrée « The Problem With Wokeness », l’éditorialiste David Brooks pointe les dérives du phénomène : « Le plus grand danger de la “wokeness” extrême est qu’elle rend plus difficile de pratiquer la dextérité nécessaire à toute vie en société, c’est-à-dire la faculté à appréhender deux vérités dans le même temps. »
Marie Nossereau, directrice du planning stratégique de Publicis Sapient, affiche carrément de la défiance par rapport à tout ce qui se prétend « woke ». « Les gens qui se disent plus éveillés que les autres, ça a toujours existé. C’est assez méprisant, cela sous-entend que tous les autres dorment, sont aux mains des multinationales… Le terme “woke” m’évoque aussi le discours de l’Église de Scientologie, dont les adeptes se disent “clear” [clairs]. Selon moi, cela fait partie de la même dialectique, je n’aime pas trop ça. In fine, ça ne me paraît pas très clean. »

Un brin hypocrite

Pas clean, peut-être pas, mais hypocrite, sans doute un peu trop souvent. On revient à Gillette : « Dans les faits, la marque continue à vendre des rasoirs pour les femmes plus chers que les rasoirs pour les hommes… », grince Martin Lagache. Gillette, au passage, s’est félicitée publiquement d’avoir vu les ventes de ses rasoirs bondir après sa campagne… Les frères Bienaimé de l’agence 84.Paris rappellent quant à eux « le film “The Talk” de Procter & Gamble qui a raflé des tonnes de prix, pour une marque qui n’a pas vraiment été “woke” pendant des décennies. Une conscience éveillée, OK, si les produits suivent. »
Et si, malgré tout, l’éveil n’en était qu’à ses prémices ? La sociologue Irène Pereira et l’historienne Laurence De Cock ont publié en janvier un ouvrage, Les pédagogies critiques (Éd. Agone contre-feux), qui prône une éducation inspirée des travaux du pédagogue brésilien Paulo Freire et du pédagogue français Célestin Freinet. Il s’agirait non pas de préparer les élèves à devenir des bêtes à concours ou de futurs soldats des entreprises, mais plutôt de leur enseigner les rapports de domination qui régissent le monde pour mieux les réduire à néant. Pour une future génération woke ?

Voir enfin:

Against Moralistic Therapeutic Totalitarianism

 

I have received some of the best comments from readers about retired Catholic theologian Larry Chapp’s short essays, which I’ve published in this space. I was pleased to wake up this morning and find another one from him in my in-box. I count myself fortunate to be in a position of publishing them in this space.

Below is an essay Larry titles “The Collective Of Concupiscence.” In it, he pretty much sums up my take on the current political and social situation, though I have some post-election thoughts to add at the end. First, here’s Larry:

There is talk in some quarters of Oprah Winfrey running for President in 2020. My response to this is, why not? If Donald Trump can be President ­ a man whose only qualification for the job seems to be that he is a rich celebrity, then any rich celebrity can be President I guess.

What all of this probably points to, sadly, is how utterly exhausted and bankrupt our politics has become, with Americans by the millions turning away from the more experienced political insiders in favor of outsiders who promise us that they alone can provide the radical change that is needed. And everyone seems to agree that radical change is indeed needed, so long as “radical change” means ripping the Band-Aids off of everyone else’s scabs but mine. Radical change can also mean, rather simply, that you want the power that the ruling party possesses transferred to your party. Which is to say, no change at all, which is why you have to lie about it.

For example, in our last election, “Drain the swamp!” was the mantra of the Trump supporters. But did anyone really expect that the man we elected, a swamp creature if ever there were one, would be able to do this? And what, exactly, does one do with a drained swamp anyway? Probably sell it to developers who would build overpriced, poorly made, beige and boring condos, nicely accessorized with a strip mall complete with a Dunkin Donuts and a Vape shop. In other words, just a different kind of swamp. The Democrats prefer the fevered swamp of coercive governmental power, whereas the Republicans prefer the fetid swamp of corporate greed. So all we have really done is trade Lenin for Bezos.

Oh, I can hear people now… “Damn it Chapp, you are always so negative about politics and America. You have to live in the real world and the real world is never perfect!” If you are in that cloud of critics, then I can say to you that you are correct about one thing: nothing in this world is wholly perfect. But that does not mean that there aren’t degrees of imperfection. To deny this is to deny that there is such a thing as truth ­ ­– a truth that acts as the barometer for all of our actions, political or otherwise.

Therefore, my claim is this, a claim that you can take or leave as you see fit, but a claim I stand by with full conviction: the contemporary American socio­ economic­-political system is predicated in a foundational way on a profound and tragic falsehood. It is a false first principle shared by every major governmental and economic institution in this country and it stands in total contradiction to the Christian faith.

This false first principle can be stated simply and then its logical conclusions can be teased out as follows: God is irrelevant to the construction of government and our public life together, which is to say, God does not exist, which is to say, nothing spiritual or supernatural exists, which is to say that we are all purely material beings with no purpose or goal or end beyond the satisfaction of our individual desires, which is to say that pleasure (the satisfaction of our base desires) is more rooted in reality than happiness (the joy and peace that comes from pursuing the higher spiritual realities like the moral good). Indeed, according to this false principle, the spiritual dimension of life and the moral good are, at best, “noble lies,” and at worst repressive illusions ­­– repressive, since their pursuit often inhibits the attainment of pleasure.

The late Italian philosopher Augusto del Noce, building on this same insight (that our culture is founded on a false first principle: God does not matter), points out that the ruling philosophy that our culture has adopted as a replacement for God and religion is the philosophy known as “scientism”. In a nutshell, scientism is the belief that only the hard, empirical sciences give us access to truth. Everything else is an illusion. Therefore, when it comes to our common life together as a people ­ — a life that comes to be defined, regulated and controlled by government and corporate elites — there is only one form of reason that is “allowed in” as proper public discourse. And that is the language of science.

Furthermore, given our reduction of life to economics, what the elevation of science really means is the ascendency of “applied science” (technology) to pride of place. Every aspect of our social life thus comes under the purview of governmental control, and all culture and every form of reason becomes a function of politics. And this final step, the submission of culture to politics, is the very heart of totalitarianism. Only, in this case, it is not the totalitarianism of the Nazis or the Stalinists or the Maoists ­– ­brutal, bloody, and quite vulgar in its unsubtle use of blunt violence ­– but rather the much more seductive totalitarianism of techno-­nihilism, where our base bodily desires form what I call a “Collective of Concupiscence” which the government regulates, and the economy inflames.

Our future is thus most likely to be a dystopian one. But it won’t be the dystopia of the concentration camp. Rather, it will be Huxley’s Brave New World with a Disneyland aesthetic. Because… you know… “family values”.

You might think this is an exaggeration. I don’t think it is. It is the logical conclusion of scientism no matter what our elites might say about our bold new future. Because, despite what scientism’s popularizers (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) might say in their more poetic moments when speaking about the “beauty” of the cosmos and of science, the fact is, if I am just an ape with a big brain, and an accidental byproduct of the cosmic chemistry of stardust remnants, then I really don’t give a shit about some gaseous blob, or even a vast number of “billions and billions” of gaseous blobs, ten million light years away; or the “fascinating” mating rituals of fruit bats; or the “poetry” of soil regeneration through dung beetle digestive cycles. In other words, when you are told endlessly that there is no meaning to existence, then guess what? You actually start to think that way. And then everything loses its flavor. Everything starts to taste like rice cakes.

Therefore, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot bleach divinity and Transcendence out of the cosmos and tell everyone that the whole affair is just an aimless and pointless accident, and then turn around and talk to us about the “moral necessity” of this or that urgent social cause. Why should I even care about the future of humanity itself? Why should I care about the ultimate destiny of ambulatory, bipedal, chemistry sets?

So really, it doesn’t matter who is in power … Democrats or Republicans, Trump or Oprah, and it does not matter if we place more emphasis on the government to solve our problems or free enterprise economics. Because our entire society operates according to the false premise I articulated above. In that sense we are all Marxists now, insofar as Marx’s controlling idea was the notion that the material world is all that exists and that economics drives everything.

And try as we might to deny that this materialistic view of existence is death to the higher functions of our soul, there is no escaping the fact that fewer and fewer people will devote themselves to higher pursuits, once the notions of God, Transcendence, purpose, meaning, the Good, and so on, are banished from our lexicon of acceptable ideas. We will increasingly privilege pleasure over happiness, which is to say, we will privilege opioids, techno gadgets, virtual reality stimulation, porn, and various other forms of addiction. We will be, if we aren’t already, a nation of addicts. Because if there is one thing we know about our bodily appetites it is that they are insatiable, requiring ever more of the same things to slake our rapacious desires. But partaking of the same thing, addictively, over and over and over, is boring. It crushes and kills the soul. And so what we will really end up with is not a society of liberated selves, but a society of bored, libidinous, pleasure addicts trending toward suicidal despair.

Furthermore, the fact of the matter is that we all share the same basic bodily appetites. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, gay or straight, fat or skinny, old or young, or what race you are, or your ethnicity, or your political party, or if you prefer the vapid and brain-dead banter of “Fox and Friends” over the vicious and pompous self­-importance of the moronic ladies on “The View”. Once you take away the idea that human nature has a spiritual side that, you know, “trends upward”, you are left with staring at your crotch or your gut or your veins. This is, of course, absolutely true, but we ignore the downward spiral of our culture into techno­pagan bacchanalia because our affluent elites, the poor dears, have confused despairing addiction and the “dark” view of life it spawns, with sophistication, and count as “enlightenment” a cultivated anti-intellectual stupidity.

I am struck, for example, by how many of the lead characters in shows made by Netflix or Amazon (especially detective shows) are depressive and “dark” souls, haunted by some hidden pain in their past that is the irritant in the oyster that creates the pearl of their genius. So far so good, since we all have hidden pain in our lives, and the various things we all suffer from really are, quite often, the genesis of much depth and creativity.

But these characters are different. They are nihilistic, often cruel, morally ambiguous, irreligious of course (duh), self­-destructive, and live as radically atomized, alienated and isolated individuals devoid of love or meaningful relationships. And if they do develop a relationship, it usually flounders on the shoals of the lead character’s unfathomably dark pain. Or worse, the love interest is killed off, with a hefty dose of complicit guilt on the part of the lead character, further adding to his or her morose self-­immolation. And all of this is portrayed as “sophisticated”. (There are exceptions of course, but this is just an anecdotal and subjective impression I have of many of these shows).

The irritating thing about all of this, of course, is that it is just so puerile and shallow, with little justification for its pretentious dismissal of “God” or “the Good”. And it is unbearably boring and drab. Is there anything more pitifully awful than being forced to listen to someone drone on and on about their “sexuality”?

By contrast, people only really become interesting when they differentiate themselves from one another, as true individuals, by cultivating the higher levels of the soul. And this is done in many ways, even still today, because the fact is we ARE spiritual beings and the spiritual dimension of our existence cannot be snuffed out. But those among us who still seek these things are becoming ever rarer and are being forced into ghettos or isolated enclaves of activity, and frequently branded as bigots because we adhere to traditional religious views about God and such things. It does appear, in other words, that the Collective of Concupiscence has fangs and claws, because at the end of the day, we are all “God haunted”, which is why members of the Collective view traditional religious believers as their tormentors

However, sadly, gradually the creative power of the majority of people is being perverted and bent to serve the needs of the emerging political and economic collective ­ ­– the Collective of Concupiscence ­ — wherein the true “liberation” of your “identity” can only come about when all of those institutions that represent the values of the Spirit are branded as oppressors. We WILL be liberated, and we WILL use government to enforce that liberation, and we WILL demand that the economy provide us with the means to enjoy the fruits of that liberation. Indeed, we will demand that the economy provide us with all of the gadgets and accouterments that we need to enhance our pleasures to unimaginable heights. Welcome to the wacky, upside down world of the new “sophistication”: mass ­produced individualism where radical “nonconformity” means all public and, increasingly, private speech, will be policed, looking for any sign that someone has breached the canons of non­conforming orthodoxy. So “individualism” here appears to mean its exact opposite.

But that is what you get in the Collective of Concupiscence. Somewhere Orwell is smiling.

Peter Maurin lived before all of this technological wizardry was real. But he lived in an age of totalitarianisms. And he was a thinking Catholic. Which means he had a deep prophetic insight into what was around the corner, so to speak. And just as Rod Dreher, in his wonderful book, The Benedict Option, calls orthodox Christians to a deeper awareness of the profoundly anti­ Christian challenges our culture is putting before us, so too did Peter Maurin warn us that the only way we will endure the coming storm of cultural barbarity is to form deeply intentional communities of Christian intellectual discourse, moral ecology, and liturgical practice. Not so that we can “escape” the world and shun our brothers and sisters who remain within it. But so that we can know ourselves better and come closer to God so as to be better able to serve our neighbor in love.

The members of the Collective of Concupiscence are not our “enemies”. Indeed, we are, if we are honest, infected with the same bacillus as everyone else. We are all in the Collective in one­ way or another. And so there is no question of abandoning the culture because that is, quite simply, neither desirable nor possible.

But we cannot drink from the same poisonous well and so we must cultivate new sources of “living water” in order to share it with everyone. And “everyone” means, literally, “everyone”. So please do not accuse me of “us vs. them” thinking. That kind of approach is not an option for a Christian. But if you do not “have” a Christian sensibility of the big questions of life, then by default you will “have” the template provided by our culture. I will end therefore with an old Latin phrase: “Nemo dat quod non habet”: You cannot give what you do not have.

Larry Chapp writes from the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in rural Pennyslvania that he runs with his wife, Carmina. You can visit the farm; follow the link for more information.

Larry’s essay made me reflect on why the only thing in politics that seriously engages my interest these days is the appointment of federal judges. I believe that the dystopia Larry Chapp envisions in this essay — this present dystopia, and the dystopia to come — is unstoppable in the short run. The question is only whether or not we will have a right-wing or a left-wing version of it. I care so much about federal judges because I see them as the only institution that can protect the rights of dissenters to be left alone in this new America.

Don’t get me wrong. Leaving aside the courts, it’s not a matter of total indifference whether or not there’s an R or a D sitting in the White House. Despite all his sins and failings, President Trump is not going to sic the Justice Department on Christian schools that fail to Celebrate Diversity — Or Else™. A Democratic president almost certainly would — and almost certainly will. As America secularizes, though — a process that includes professing Christians changing their minds on moral issues that conflict with liberalism — people will cease to understand why the trad holdouts believe what they believe, and do what they do. It is possible that there will be enough libertarian sentiment left in the country to leave us alone — but I very much doubt that. The only exterior protection we can rely on will be a federal judiciary, especially the Supreme Court — that holds strong First Amendment convictions about protecting religious minorities.

Some Benedict Option critics think they’re making a meaningful argument against it when they say some version of, “Ah ha, what do you think is going to happen to your little communities when the State decides they are a public danger, huh?” It’s a reasonable point, but a weak one. It is precisely when the State decides that traditional Christians are a danger to it that the Benedict Option is going to be most needed. But it is still needed up until that time — which may never come — because our faith is not being taken away from us by the State; it is being dissolved by the ambient culture. For example, Washington is not compelling Christian parents to let their children be absorbed by social media and catechized by the Internet.

I see getting good federal judges in place to be an entirely defensive political act, designed to gain more time for religious minorities to develop resilient practices and institutions capable of enduring what’s to come, and keeping the faith alive.

I also see nothing at all wrong with traditional Christians engaging in politics for other reasons. My only caution — and it’s a strong caution — is that they not fool themselves into thinking that by doing so, they are meaningfully addressing the most severe crisis upon us. Let me put it like this: in the Book of Daniel, the Hebrew captives Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego served the King in high positions of state. You could say that they worked in politics, though they were outsiders. But when it came down to it, those men chose the prospect of martyrdom to the apostasy the King demanded of them. What practices did the three Hebrew men live by in their everyday lives as Jews in Babylon that gave them the presence of mind, and the strength, to choose God over Nebuchadnezzar? That’s the question that ought to be first on the minds of every traditional Christian thinking of going into public service. It’s the same with Sir Thomas More, who went to his martyrdom proclaiming that he was the King’s good servant — but God’s first.

One of the most important lines in Larry Chapp’s essay is his point that we traditional Christians “are infected with the same bacillus as everyone else.” It brought to mind the insufficiency of institutions and habits to protect us fully from the malaise of the broader culture. To be clear: these things are necessary, but not sufficient.

An example: at the Notre Dame conference, I spoke with an academic from a conservative Christian college. He told me that the student body there is quite conservative and observant. They are overwhelmingly pro-life. But they also do not understand at all what’s wrong with gay marriage. There are strong arguments from Scripture and from the authoritative Christian tradition, but these make no sense to them. Mind you, most of these young people were raised in optimal environments for the passing down of the faith and its teachings, and yet, on the key matter of the meaning of sex, marriage, and family, they … don’t get it.

I asked my interlocutor why. He shrugged, and said, “The culture is just too powerful.”

The problem with this is that in order to arrive at the point where one, as a Christian, rejects the Church’s teaching on the interrelated meaning of sex, marriage, and family, one has to reject both the authority of Scripture (and, for Catholics, the Church), and the anthropological core of Christianity — that is, the Biblical model of what man is. Ultimately, you have to reject traditional Christian metaphysics. I cover this all in my Sex and Sexuality chapter of The Benedict Option, but the heart of it is in this 2013 essay, “Sex After Christianity.” The gist of it is that the gay marriage revolution is really a cosmological revolution, and that to affirm gay marriage, as a Christian, means surrendering far more than many Christians think. It means, ultimately, that you see the world through the post-Christian culture’s template, not Christianity’s. What is likely happening with these young people is that they’re pro-life because they see the unborn child as a bearer of rights, including the right to life. And they’re not wrong! But that’s essentially a liberal position, one that is entirely amenable to gay marriage and the rest. The “bacillus” of materialism and radical individualism may find more resistance within the Body of Christ, but it still compromises its health.

Here’s another reason to be concerned, and to resist hoping in politics. It’s from an interview with Sir Roger Scruton:

How do current right-wing populist politics fit (or not) into your conception of conservative thought and conservative politics?

Well, I’m not a populist. I’m a believer in institutions. I think that institutions are the only guarantee we have of continuity and freedom. If you make direct appeals to the people all the time, the result is totally unstable and unpredictable, like the French Revolution. The revolutionaries made direct appeal to the people, and then discovered that they hated the people. So, they cut off their heads.

I believe [British historian] Simon Schama wrote a book on the topic…

Yes, Simon Schama’s book on the French Revolution is very revealing about this. The attempts to get rid of all mediating institutions just leaves the people in a dangerous condition, and a demagogue in charge. You can see this in Robespierre and Saint Just. And the only good thing about the French Revolution is that the demagogue gets his head chopped off as well.

So, I believe in institutions, and in using institutions to direct the people towards the kind of continuity and stability that they actually need, but doing it with their consent, obviously. That’s where the democratic process comes in.

What are your thoughts on the balance between consent and stability?

Well, first of all, stability requires legitimacy of opposition. There has to be a discussion of all the issues. That means that there must be a voice for the opponent, that’s what Congress and Parliament are about. And the first victim of real populism is the opponent, who is shut up. The press is taken away from him, parliamentary positions are taken away from him, so that the leading power has no voice opposed to it. …

It is no secret now that Americans have lost faith in institutions across the board. As Bill Bishop puts it, this is not Trump’s fault; the way we live in modernity all but guarantees it. Trump is not the cause of this, but rather an effect — though of course he also serves as a cause. The fact that a man can be elected President of the United States despite having violated so many institutional norms tells us something about the presidency, and the American people today. We are losing, and in many cases have already lost, mediating institutions. America is quite vulnerable to a demagogue — and there’s no guarantee that the demagogue will always be from the political right. Huey P. Long, for example, was a very effective left-wing demagogue — and he emerged almost a century ago, when the power of American institutions was much, much stronger than it is today.

We see in Trump a desire to delegitimize the opposition. For example, the media isn’t simply biased — a standard conservative politician’s critique, because it’s usually true — but is illegitimate. That’s what “fake news” means. The thing is, on college campuses, the urge to delegitimize opposition as racist, sexist, homophobic, and so forth, is exactly the same thing. Ultimately it will become more powerful, because this mentality is conquering the hearts and minds of the kind of people who will be running the institutions that, however attenuated their influence, will be shaping the perceptions and beliefs of Americans.

The power of Google and Facebook to determine which opinions are legitimate and which ones are not is going to be massively important. And I would be shocked if some form of the Chinese “social credit” system were not introduced into this country. What does that mean? From the National Interest:

The Chinese government has  unveiled a new program that it dubbed the “social credit system.” The system won’t be fully operational until 2020, but already it has generated as many as  7 million  punishments.

The system would rate the “trustworthiness” of Chinese citizens according to a wide variety of factors, such as what they buy, how they spend their time, and who their friends are, just to name a few.

The government would then take those deemed untrustworthy and punish them by not letting their children attend prestigious private schools, not allowing them to travel, and shutting down their internet presence.

The Chinese Communist government  promises that the social credit system will “allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

However, one must ask what it means to be “untrustworthy.”

In the  case of journalist Liu Hu, it could mean trying to expose government corruption. Other offenses could be things such as jaywalking, smoking on a train, criticizing the government, or having friends or family that speak ill of the government, all things that can lower one’s score.

In a future America in which opposition is deemed illegitimate, and in which personal data is widely available, how long do you think we can hold out against the temptation to institute a social credit score system? In China, it is being imposed from the top. In the US, our population is being acculturated by online norms, as well by an ethos that regards opponents not simply as wrong, but evil. We are being conditioned to accept this, and even, within the next couple of generations, to demand it.

It might come from the right, in which case I believe conservatives would bear a special responsibility for fighting it. But looking at the demographic data about the political and cultural beliefs of younger Americans, I think it is far, far more likely that it will come from the left — and that it will primarily be directed towards thought criminals like traditional Christians and social conservatives.

In that case, the best chance we have to protect ourselves from that all-encompassing tyranny would be a Supreme Court that defends the First Amendment. The greater concern for us, however, is that there would be no need for traditional Christians to be protected from a tyrannical social-credit-score government, because all Christians will have conformed internally, like so many “good German Christians” of the 1930s, to the regime — in our case, a regime of Moralistic Therapeutic Totalitarianism.

Larry Chapp:

…so too did Peter Maurin warn us that the only way we will endure the coming storm of cultural barbarity is to form deeply intentional communities of Christian intellectual discourse, moral ecology, and liturgical practice. Not so that we can “escape” the world and shun our brothers and sisters who remain within it. But so that we can know ourselves better and come closer to God so as to be better able to serve our neighbor in love.

We have to build this now — while there is still time.

UPDATE: Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom was elected Governor of California last night. Note this:

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The old liberals — Jerry Brown, say — who respected institutions are dying out. Newsom is the next generation. Damon Linker is right to point to Newsom’s willingness to openly defy the law to achieve a liberal goal as a harbinger of what’s to come from the left. He was eager to cut down the law to get to the devil of homophobia. This kind of thing is coming.


Covid-19: Ralliez-vous à mon panache blanc ! (The coronavirus crisis has shown the limits of brio in a French high administration and political class where scientific culture cruelly shines by its absence)

18 septembre, 2020

https://media.marianne.net/sites/default/files/10572_665820_k3_k1_1597874.jpg
Agnes C. Poirier on Twitter: "Great double issue of #Marianne ...on French # panache… "The dogs bark, but the dove of peace flies on

 Benjamin Netanyahu a parlé d’une « nouvelle ère » entre Israël et les pays arabes et appelé les voisins des EAU à suivre le même chemin. Opinion | Black Voters Are Coming for Trump - The New York TimesDemocrats attacked for cultural appropriation, publicity stunt after Kente cloth kneeling - Tampa Dispatch

Une nation fatiguée de longs débats consent volontiers qu’on la dupe, pourvu qu’on la repose.Tocqueville
Pour un colonel en retraite qui, avec brio, a commandé un régiment devant l’ennemi, rien n’est plus démoralisant ni plus déprimant que de se voir réduit à commander une choucroute avec un demi dans une brasserie. Pierre Dac
La grande histoire du panache français Au fil de notre histoire, beaucoup de femmes et d’hommes, réels ou fictifs, ont incarné le brio à la française. Le courage, le sens de l’honneur et l’élégance ne leur ont jamais fait défaut. « Marianne » leur consacre son numéro double de fin d’année, disponible en kiosques du 21 décembre au 4 janvier. Marianne
Il est tout à fait naturel qu’on ressente la nostalgie de ce qui était l’Empire, tout comme on peut regretter la douceur des lampes à huile, la splendeur de la marine à voile, le charme du temps des équipages. Mais, quoi ? Il n’y a pas de politique qui vaille en dehors des réalités. Charles de Gaulle (1960)
La situation est tragique mais les forces en présence au Moyen-Orient font qu’au long terme, Israël, comme autrefois les Royaumes francs, finira par disparaître. Cette région a toujours rejeté les corps étrangers. Dominique de Villepin (Paris, automne 2001)
Je ne le regarde pas et je conseille vivement à l’ensemble des responsables européens de ne même pas ouvrir ce dossier pour une raison simple, on n’achète pas l’indépendance d’un peuple, on n’achète pas la dignité d’un peuple, 50 milliards pourquoi faire, pour fermer sa gueule et accepter d’être dépouillé de ses droits, c’est ignoble. Dominique de Villepin (25.06.2019)
Il n’y aura pas de paix séparée entre Israël et le monde arabe. Je veux que cela soit très clair avec vous tous. J’ai entendu plusieurs politiciens de premier plan en Israël dire parfois: ‘Eh bien, le monde arabe est dans un endroit différent maintenant Nous devons juste leur tendre la main. Nous pouvons travailler certaines choses avec le monde arabe et nous traiterons avec les Palestiniens. Non, non et non. Je peux vous dire que, comme l’ont confirmé les conversations que j’ai eues avec des dirigeants de la communauté arabe la semaine dernière, il n’y aura pas de paix avancée et séparée avec le monde arabe sans le processus palestinien et la Paix palestinienne. Tout le monde doit comprendre cela. C’est une dure réalité. John Kerry
« Il n’y a pas de politique qui vaille en dehors des réalités », a dit Charles de Gaulle. Cette maxime guide la politique des États-Unis à l’égard de la République islamique d’Iran. Nous reconnaissons ce régime pour ce qu’il est: le premier État commanditaire du terrorisme au monde et la principale source d’instabilité au Moyen-Orient. (…) Malheureusement, la France refuse de désigner l’ensemble du Hezbollah comme une organisation terroriste, comme l’ont fait d’autres pays européens, et freine les progrès de l’Union européenne dans ce sens. Au lieu de cela, Paris s’en tient à cette fiction qu’il existe une «aile politique» du Hezbollah, alors que celui-ci est entièrement contrôlé par un seul terroriste, Hassan Nasrallah. Je partage la frustration des vingt-sept personnalités publiques françaises qui, dans une tribune collective publiée dans Le Figaro , ont récemment appelé la France à adopter cette désignation. (…) Les calculs politiques entrent également en jeu dans les prises de position de l’Europe, où plusieurs dirigeants refusent d’agir avant l’issue de la prochaine élection présidentielle américaine. Cette manœuvre cynique considère les mutilations et les massacres commis par l’Iran comme des dommages collatéraux acceptables, et estime que Washington, ce qui est regrettable, est plus dangereux pour le monde que Téhéran. Je me demande si les habitants de Beyrouth, de Riyad ou de Jérusalem, les villes les plus exposées à l’Iran, seraient d’accord. Comment est-il possible que la France vote contre l’embargo sur les armes, et que la semaine suivante le président Macron rencontre un haut représentant du Hezbollah à Beyrouth? (…)  Le scepticisme manifesté par de nombreux dirigeants français à l’égard de l’accord durant les négociations semble aujourd’hui plus justifié que jamais. Mike Pompeo (2020)
Cinq minutes pour comprendre l’accord « historique » entre Israël et les Emirats arabes unis Le Parisien
Nous sommes en guerre. J’appelle tous les acteurs politiques, économiques, sociaux, associatifs, tous les Français à s’inscrire dans cette union nationale qui a permis à notre pays de surmonter tant de crises par le passé. Nous sommes en guerre et la Nation soutiendra ses enfants qui, personnels soignants en ville, à l’hôpital, se trouvent en première ligne dans un combat qui va leur demander énergie, détermination, solidarité. Ils ont des droits sur nous. Nous leur devons évidemment les moyens, la protection. Nous serons là. Nous leur devons, des masques, du gel, tout le matériel nécessaire. Et nous y veillons et y veillerons. (…) Nous sommes en guerre, oui. Le pays accompagnera dans cette période les régions les plus touchées aujourd’hui, comme celles qui le seront demain. A ce titre, je veux assurer les habitants, les personnels soignants du Grand-Est que nous serons au rendez-vous pour les appuyer face à l’afflux de patients et à la saturation des hôpitaux. Je sais ce qu’ils vivent depuis des jours et des jours. Nous sommes avec eux. J’ai décidé pour cela qu’un hôpital de campagne du service de santé des armées serait déployé dans les jours à venir en Alsace. Les armées apporteront aussi leur concours pour déplacer les malades des régions les plus affectées et ainsi réduire la congestion des hôpitaux de certains territoires. Nous sommes en guerre. Aussi, comme je vous l’ai dit jeudi, pour nous protéger et contenir la dissémination du virus, mais aussi préserver nos systèmes de soins, nous avons pris ce matin, entre Européens, une décision commune. Dès demain midi, les frontières à l’entrée de l’Union européenne et de l’espace Schengen seront fermées. Concrètement, tous les voyages entre les pays non européens et l’Union européenne seront suspendus pendant trente jours. (…) Mes chers compatriotes, en étant unis, solidaires, je vous demande d’être responsables tous ensemble et de ne céder à aucune panique, d’accepter ces contraintes, de les porter, de les expliquer, de vous les appliquer à vous-mêmes. Nous nous les appliquerons tous, il n’y aura pas de passe-droits. Mais là aussi de ne céder ni à la panique ni au désordre. Nous gagnerons, mais cette période nous aura beaucoup appris. Beaucoup de certitudes, de convictions seront balayées, seront remises en cause. Beaucoup de choses que nous pensions impossibles adviennent. Ne nous laissons pas impressionner, agissons avec force, mais retenons cela, le jour d’après, quand nous aurons gagné, ce ne sera pas un retour aux jours d’avant. Nous serons plus forts moralement. Nous aurons appris et je saurai aussi avec vous en tirer toutes conséquences, toutes les conséquences. Hissons-nous, individuellement et collectivement, à la hauteur du moment. Je sais, mes chers compatriotes, pouvoir compter sur vous. Vive la République ! Vive la France ! Emmanuel Macron
Je salue la décision courageuse des Émirats arabes unis et souhaite qu’elle contribue à l’établissement d’une paix juste et durable entre Israéliens et Palestiniens. Je l’ai dit au Président Trump, au Premier ministre Netanyahou et au Prince héritier Mohamed bin Zayed. Emmanuel Macron
Je me suis entretenu avec le président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas. Je lui ai dit ma détermination à oeuvrer pour la paix au Proche-Orient. La reprise des négociations pour parvenir à une solution juste et respectueuse du droit international reste une priorité. Emmanuel Macron
Les manifestations ne sont pas (autorisées) dans les faits car il y a un décret du premier ministre dans le cadre de la deuxième phase du déconfinement qui interdit les rassemblements de plus de dix personnes. Mais je crois que l’émotion mondiale, qui est une émotion saine sur ce sujet, dépasse au fond les règles juridiques qui s’appliquent. Il n’y aura pas de sanction et de procès-verbal. Nous ne souhaitons pas réaffirmer l’interdiction qui est de droit, qui est de fait. Je sais que ceux qui vont ne considèrent pas, dans leur très grande majorité, qu’il y a une police raciste, antisémite ou homophobe», a souligné le ministre qui voit avant tout dans ces rassemblements un «combat contre le racisme. Je crois que la politique est faite de symbole. Si ce symbole [poser un genou à terre] est utile pour combattre le racisme, je serai particulièrement à l’aise de le faire. François Castaner
[Je n’exclus pas que] ce qui se passe en France [aujourd’hui] s’y produise dans un mois. (…) Le modèle suédois, basé sur des mesures moins drastiques qu’ailleurs, mais qui restent les mêmes et s’inscrivent dans la durée, commence à fonctionner. Les dispositifs un peu moins drastiques prennent plus de temps à agir. Peut-être aussi que nous avions une telle propagation du virus qu’il a fallu attendre avant de voir une réponse importante aux mesures que nous avions mis en place dans les régions les plus touchées par le virus, celle de Stockholm et de Göteborg. Le virus ne va pas disparaître. A l’avenir, il sera sans doute plus facile à gérer, notamment quand nous aurons un vaccin. Mais nous allons devoir vivre longtemps avec et il est important que les mesures que nous prenons fonctionnent sur le long terme, sans avoir de conséquences trop négatives sur d’autres aspects de la santé. (…) [Quant au masque] Garder ses distances est bien plus important [mais je n’exclus pas] pour une courte période, dans un endroit spécifique, si les cas augmentent et que les mesures habituelles ne fonctionnent pas. [Mais] on voit bien que dans les pays qui l’ont rendu obligatoire, les contaminations ne baissent pas de façon drastique. Anders Tegnell
Notre stratégie repose sur une relation de confiance entre les autorités et les citoyens. Plutôt que de donner des ordres ou de pointer du doigt, nous faisons des recommandations, mais c’est à eux d’agir, sur la base des informations que nous leur fournissons. Et même si tous ne suivent pas les recommandations en permanence, la plupart des Suédois ont changé leur comportement. Dan Eliasson
On voit une augmentation en Europe et en France de sujets positifs, je ne parle pas de malades, et cette pente est quinze fois plus faible qu’en mars. (…) Le nombre de décès ne réaugmente pas de manière significative alors qu’on nous le promet tous les quinze jours depuis le début du mois d’avril. En France, la réaugmentation que l’on perçoit a une pente 300 fois inférieure à celle du tsunami du mois de mars (…) [En Europe] nous sommes depuis début juillet entre 200 et 250 décès par jour sans augmentation, alors que nous étions à 5.000 décès mi-avril. Il n’y a aucune réaugmentation significative par rapport à l’ensemble des données européennes (…). Il y a eu une seule vague, celle de mars-avril qui a augmenté à peu près 115.000 décès surnuméraires par rapport à 2019 et 2018 sur l’ensemble des pays européens. Sur les 30.000 décès [attribués au Covid], il faut voir que l’excès de mortalité en France n’est compris qu’entre 12.000 et 15.000 par rapport aux autres années. (…) L’institut national des études démographiques divise par deux le nombre total de décès attribués actuellement au Covid, on n’est pas à 30.000 décès, on est à 12.000 à 15.000 décès supplémentaires. En réalité, le confinement est un instrument sociétal majeur, c’est la seule arme de destruction massive qui a été utlisée au 21ème siècle puisque c’est la seule qui a concerné quasiment la moitié de l’humanité. (…) Les conséquences socio-économiques qui vont maintenant se dégager vont concerner non pas les conseillers qui sont assis sur leurs certitudes, mais les jeunes générations qui vont devoir ramer. (…) Et quand on n’est pas capable d’assumer ces conséquences, alors on continue à faire croire à une crise sanitaire qui n’est plus présente. Pr Jean-François Toussaint
Tout le monde s’est mis à s’intéresser aux débats! (…) Les gens ne sont pas contre les migrants, mais nous voulons un processus légal. On n’a pas le droit d’avoir une opinion. On est tout de suite des nazis, des déplorables non éduqués… C’est franchement la raison pour laquelle Donald Trump a été élu. Les gens en ont marre d’être méprisés. Ils ne cessent de l’attaquer, quoiqu’il fasse. Nous appelons ça le syndrome de dérangement trumpien. Il ne fait «que se défendre» et j’adore ses tweets« parce qu’ils lui permettent de contourner le mur médiatique. Nous, les partisans de Trump, ne prenons pas ses paroles de manière littérale. Il faut regarder ses actes. Mais la presse, elle, s’attache à chaque mot. Elle ne comprend pas son humour! Les enfants ne peuvent même plus porter un costume de Halloween en se peignant le visage en noir sans être soupçonnés de racisme… C’est comme ce mouvement #MeToo. Ça va trop loin. On a tous des maris, des fils, voudrions-nous les voir accusés sans preuves? (…) C’est la première fois que je peux imaginer comment la guerre civile a commencé en Amérique. Les passions sont tellement fortes. Lynette Vilano (activiste républicaine de Pennsylvanie)
Depuis le premier jour, ils ne lui donnent aucune chance. Alors nous n’écoutons plus. Lynette Vilano
Bien sûr, il y a le Covid, les 200.000 morts, les masques, le virus qui continue de courir, les frontières fermées, le business qui souffre. Toutes ces circonstances qui font de l’élection qui approche un défi gigantesque pour le président sortant. Mais pour l’essentiel, la musique de fond de cette drôle de campagne 2020, où les démocrates mobilisent en ligne pour montrer qu’ils sont «responsables» et «respectueux des experts», tandis que Trump s’en va en chair et en os chez ses électeurs pour leur dire que l’Amérique est vivante et «toujours grande», ressemble à s’y tromper à celle de 2016: pour ou contre Trump, jusqu’à la caricature. D’un côté, une polyphonie orchestrée par tout ce que l’élite compte de sommités monte au créneau, avec tambours et trompettes médiatiques, pour affirmer que le président est «inapte à gouverner». De l’autre, les chœurs du peuple trumpien scandent «quatre ans de plus» sans prêter la moindre attention à la cascade de livres et de révélations censés accabler leur héros. Du coup, le pays vit en schizophrène, dans deux salles de «concert électoral» qui ne communiquent pas, comme c’est le cas depuis quatre ans. Dans la première – journaux, télés, Twitter – on parle des dernières révélations du livre Rage du journaliste Bob Woodward, ancien «tombeur de Nixon». Il est sorti de ses 17 conversations avec le président «effaré», notamment après que ce dernier lui ait confié avoir «sous-estimé» publiquement la dangerosité du Covid, parce qu’il ne voulait pas semer la panique. Preuve de son incapacité et de son amoralité, dénoncent les éditorialistes. «Un mélange de couard, raciste, menteur, frimeur, narcisse, arnaqueur et vantard», écrit notamment Roger Cohen à la une du New York Times. Mais cette propension à diaboliser Trump pourrait paradoxalement s’avérer contre-productive, les démocrates donnant le sentiment de n’avoir tiré aucune leçon de l’échec essuyé en 2016. Pour l’instant, l’essentiel des analystes parient toujours sur Joe Biden. La plus singulière surprise de 2020 est en effet que, malgré le Covid, les ratages, les innombrables défauts de Trump, et les grincements de dents de l’élite, il continue de porter les espoirs de quelque 45 % de la population! Les démocrates s’acharnent sur l’homme. Mais lui chevauche une colère réelle qui ne passe pas. C’est ainsi que dans les provinces profondes, personne ou presque ne prête attention à la charge de la cavalerie antitrumpiste. (…) Même le fait que Trump ait fait la paix entre Israël, les Émirats arabes unis et Bahreïn, n’a été pas mis à son crédit, regrette l’activiste, qui affirme que «CNN a totalement sous-couvert» la percée diplomatique car elle ne colle pas à leur discours sur le désastre de sa politique étrangère. Lynette Vilano affirme que le soutien à Trump dans son comté, «ne cesse de grandir» et que «de nombreux démocrates continuent de migrer vers le Parti républicain». Comme en 2016. Un constat intéressant mais qui reste à l’échelle locale, se hâte-t-elle de dire. Pour l’instant, l’essentiel des analystes parient toujours sur Joe Biden qui, selon la militante républicaine, ressemble à son mari «quand il s’est mis à vieillir et à ne plus trop s’orienter». Mais les sondages se resserrent. Les débats seront sans doute déterminants. Laure Mandeville
Quand Emmanuel Macron dramatisait les enjeux et en appelait à l’union nationale, Angela Merkel emportait la conviction en expliquant aux Allemands comment agir pour ralentir la progression du virus. La crise sanitaire a montré que la capacité d’analyse, la rigueur et la pédagogie sont des qualités plus utiles que le brio. C’est une leçon dont nous devrons nous souvenir. Annick Steta

Derrière le brio des formules, la démission du politique !

Fiasco du confinement aveugle, économie dévastée, ensauvagement de la population, immigration hors de contrôle, ingérence au Liban, collusion avec des Etats et mouvements terroristes, refus de soutenir ses alliés …

A l’heure où après la relative insouciance de l’été …

La psychose, entre annonces catastrophistes et obligation aussi liberticide qu’inepte du masque en extérieur, a repris à tous les étages …

Où après deux mois de restriction sévèrement sanctionnée des libertés de mouvement, réunion et  manifestation, l’on a vu un ministre de l’Intérieur renoncer publiquement, au nom s’il vous plait de l’émotion, à sa mission de maintien de l’ordre face à des mouvements racialistes …

Et où l’on découvre qu’un président français qui avait avait pris des airs si martiaux au début de la crise sanitaire et avait au Liban même appelé à un réveil du peuple libanais …

Avait au même moment eu un rendez-vous secret avec le mouvement terroriste du Hezbollah et, à l’instar de la presse hexagonale,  a réduit au service minimum sa réaction à l’accord proprement historique entre Israël et plusieurs pays arabes …

Pendant que fatiguée par les effets conjugués du virus chinois et du chaos générés par les racialistes de Black lives matter de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, une Amérique semble tentée par la non-candidature d’un vieux gâteux à la limite de la sénilité et son parti de génuflecteurs

Comment ne pas voir avec ce début de bilan de l’épidémie …

Dans le dernier numéro de la Revue des deux mondes

Derrière le panache si facile et si français des formules …

Non seulement les limites du brio en une haute administration et une classe politique françaises où la culture scientifique brille cruellement par son absence …

Mais la véritable démission et l’épuisement de tout un système politique …

Et peut-être même d’une nation ou d’un Occident tout entier ?

Annick Steta
Revue des deux mondes
septembre 2020

Il est encore trop tôt pour faire le bilan de la pandémie de Covid-19. Nul ne peut exclure qu’une nouvelle vague de contaminations se produise à l’automne. Peut-être même devrons-nous apprendre à vivre avec le SARS-CoV-2 jusqu’à ce que ce virus disparaisse. Le temps n’est pas non plus venu d’établir la responsabilité individuelle des dirigeants politiques et administratifs français dans la réponse apportée à une crise sanitaire d’une brutalité et d’une gravité inédites depuis l’émergence de la grippe espagnole(… Mais il est impossible de nier que cette réponse a été tardive et qu’elle a manqué de pertinence durant les premières semaines de la pandémie, c’est-à-dire au stade où les mesures destinées à casser les chaînes de transmission d’un virus sont les plus efficaces. D’autres pays ont réagi dès que la République populaire de Chine a confirmé, le 31 décembre 2019, l’existence de douzaines de cas graves de pneumonie d’origine inconnue à Wuhan, la capitale de la province du Hubei. La République de Chine (Taïwan) a affirmé avoir soulevé le jour même auprès de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) – dont elle n’est pas membre en raison de l’opposition de Pékin – la possibilité d’une transmission interhumaine de l’agent pathogène en cause. Sans attendre la réponse de l’OMS, Taïwan a imposé des contrôles sanitaires à bord des avions en provenance de Wuhan. Elle a également demandé le 6 janvier que les personnels soignants portent des masques filtrant au moins 95 % des particules de diamètre égal ou supérieur à 0,3 micron. La population taïwanaise, qui a gardé un souvenir cuisant de l’épidémie de SARS-CoV-1 de 2003, a par ailleurs rapidement adopté le port du masque. Grâce à ces mesures, Taïwan a enrayé la progression du SARS-CoV-2 : fin juin 2020, ce pays de 23 millions d’habitants dénombrait 447 cas d’infection et sept décès. Plus près de nous, l’Allemagne s’est préparée dès janvier 2020 à l’arrivée du nouveau coronavirus sur son territoire. L’hôpital universitaire de la Charité de Berlin a développé dès la mi-janvier un test diagnostique du SARS-CoV-2. À partir de la fin janvier, les médecins de ville ont commencé à tester les personnes présentant des symptômes d’infection par ce virus ainsi que les individus avec lesquels elles avaient été en contact. Cette campagne de dépistage a permis d’isoler les personnes infectées et de limiter la propagation du virus, en particulier aux sujets les plus vulnérables. Durant la seconde quinzaine de mars, les laboratoires allemands ont réalisé entre 350 000 et 500 000 tests par semaine. En France, où le matériel permettant de procéder aux prélèvements et de les analyser manquait cruellement, environ 225 000 tests ont été effectués entre le 24 février et le 27 mars. Plus de 85 % d’entre eux ont été réalisés par des laboratoires hospitaliers. L’Allemagne, où la population a eu largement accès au dépistage du SARS-CoV-2 et où le confinement a été moins strict qu’en France, recensait fin juin 194 864 cas d’infection et 9 029 décès pour une population de 83 millions d’habitants. À la même époque, la France, qui compte un peu moins de 67 millions d’habitants, dénombrait 162 936 cas d’infection et 29 778 décès. Le retard avec lequel les autorités françaises ont réagi à la menace représentée par le nouveau coronavirus est d’autant plus surprenant que le premier décès dû au Covid-19 hors d’Asie a eu lieu le 14 février dans un hôpital parisien. En Allemagne, cette maladie a fait ses deux premières victimes le 9 mars, soit trois semaines plus tard. À l’évidence, les autorités françaises ont tardé à prendre la mesure des conséquences potentielles de la propagation du SARS-CoV-2. Durant de longues semaines, les responsables politiques et administratifs se sont efforcés de rassurer la population en minorant les risques encourus et en affirmant que les moyens nécessaires pour enrayer une telle épidémie étaient disponibles. Le débat entourant la question du port du masque a été particulièrement révélateur à cet égard. Le 26 janvier, Agnès Buzyn, qui était alors ministre des Solidarités et de la Santé, a affirmé que la France disposait de stocks de dizaines de millions de masques destinés à être distribués en cas d’épidémie. Moins de deux mois plus tard, son successeur, Olivier Véran, a reconnu qu’il ne restait que 110 millions de masques dans les stocks de l’État alors qu’il y en avait plus d’un milliard dix ans plus tôt. Il s’est ensuivi une longue polémique, ponctuée par la publication dans la presse d’enquêtes détaillées consacrées à l’évolution de la stratégie nationale de réponse aux épidémies. Peu à peu, le grand public a compris que les mesures prises par le gouvernement français pour faire face à l’irruption du SARS-CoV-2 avaient été dictées par la pénurie de masques, de matériel de prélèvement, de réactifs et d’instruments de laboratoire permettant de réaliser les tests diagnostiques. Dans ce contexte, le confinement de l’ensemble de la population durant près de deux mois, du 17 mars au 11 mai 2020, est apparu comme le seul moyen de ralentir la progression de l’épidémie.L’exécutif a tenté de rejeter la responsabilité du défaut de préparation de la France sur les gouvernements précédents. Les données disponibles n’appuient pas cette thèse. La réduction des stocks étatiques de masques chirurgicaux s’est en effet accélérée à partir de 2017. La destruction de centaines de millions de masques jugés périmés a été décidée en 2018 – mais les stocks n’ont pas été reconstitués. Les débats sur la nécessité de relocaliser la production de matériel médical et de produits pharmaceutiques ont par ailleurs occulté une question essentielle : celle de la raison pour laquelle la France a, comme d’autres pays, renoncé dans les années soixante-dix à utiliser des masques de protection réutilisables, dont les performances étaient au moins équivalentes à celles des masques jetables. Quelques jours avant sa mort, le 6 avril 2020, l’économiste de la santé Claude Le Pen avait évoqué le rôle de l’administration dans ce désarmement sanitaire. Son analyse rejoignait celle du professeur Philippe Juvin, chef du service des urgences de l’hôpital européen Georges-Pompidou et membre du parti Les Républicains. Celui-ci a mis en cause « la médiocrité de la haute administration, avec des hauts fonctionnaires qui sont dans l’entre-soi, et une classe politique qui manque de caractère pour s’opposer ». En dépit de leur brutalité, les propos du professeur Juvin ne sauraient être écartés d’un revers de main. Ils conduisent à s’interroger sur les raisons profondes qui ont porté les responsables publics français à ne pas prendre suffisamment au sérieux ceux qui mettaient en garde contre la survenue d’une pandémie majeure. De la difficulté à mobiliser face à une menace lointaine L’idée qu’un tel phénomène était appelé à se produire s’est diffusée après l’épidémie de SARS-CoV-1 de 2003. En 2005, Michael T. Osterholm, directeur du Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy de l’université du Minnesota, publia un article dans lequel il soulignait que la probabilité d’une pandémie dévastatrice s’était significa-tivement accrue. Il appelait les pays avancés à s’y préparer en stockant du matériel de protection et des médicaments antiviraux, en augmentant le nombre de respirateurs disponibles, en développant la capacité de production de vaccins, mais aussi en anticipant les conséquences de la survenue d’une pandémie sur les processus de production (4). Un an plus tôt, l’historien américain John M. Barry, professeur à l’École de santé publique et de médecine tropicale de l’université Tulane (La Nouvelle-Orléans), avait fait paraître un essai consacré à la pandémie de grippe espagnole de 1918-1919. La lecture de The Great Influenza conduisit le président George W. Bush à demander à ses collaborateurs de concevoir une stratégie permettant de répondre à une pandémie comparable. Le souvenir du 11 septembre 2001 facilita leur mobilisation : ils savaient par expérience que des événements totalement inattendus aux conséquences extrêmement graves pouvaient survenir. Dans un discours prononcé en novembre 2005 au National Institutes of Health, l’agence du gouvernement des États-Unis qui supervise la recherche biomédicale, le président Bush dévoila leurs premières conclusions en décrivant de façon très précise la façon dont une épidémie progresserait sur le territoire national et en identifiant les problèmes auxquels les pouvoirs publics seraient confrontés. Pendant trois ans, des moyens financiers importants furent consacrés à ce projet. Celui-ci fut toutefois délaissé après le second mandat du président Bush. L’essai de John M. Barry convainquit également Bill Gates qu’une pandémie de grande ampleur se produirait presque certainement. Le fondateur de Microsoft, qui consacre désormais le meilleur de son temps à la fondation qu’il a créée afin d’améliorer l’accès aux soins de santé et de réduire la pauvreté, exhorta à plu-sieurs reprises les responsables publics du monde entier à développer des moyens de lutte contre des agents pathogènes encore inconnus. Il tint le même discours lors d’une conférence TED de mars 2015, dont l’enregistrement a été abondamment partagé sur les réseaux sociaux lors de la pandémie de Covid-19. Ses appels sont restés lettre morte.Michael T. Osterholm et Mark Olshaker, qui ont mis en garde dans un livre paru en 2017 contre la menace grandissante représentée par différents agents pathogènes, ont récemment analysé dans Foreign Affairs la réponse des autorités américaines à l’émergence du SARS-CoV-2. Ils utilisent pour ce faire une notion issue de l’économie comportementale : la dévaluation hyperbolique (hyperbolic discounting), qui désigne l’augmentation brutale de l’évaluation d’une récompense lorsqu’on s’en rapproche. Le cas d’un individu impatient qui préfère une petite récompense proche dans le temps à une récompense importante mais lointaine en constitue une illustration. L’existence d’un tel phénomène explique la difficulté qu’éprouvent les responsables publics à placer la possibilité d’une pandémie au premier rang de leurs préoccupations. Michael T. Osterholm et Mark Olshaker constatent par ailleurs que le gouvernement des États-Unis n’a pas interprété correctement les signes indiquant que le SARS-CoV-2 pourrait provoquer une pandémie – signes qui, selon eux, étaient présents dès le début de l’année 2020. L’ampleur des ravages causés par la pandémie de Covid-19 contraint les pouvoirs publics à réviser en profondeur la manière dont ils appréhendent l’incertitude. Dans un ouvrage intitulé « Risque, incertitude et profit », publié en 1921, l’économiste américain Frank Knight a proposé de distinguer les situations risquées, où la distribution de probabilité des cas possibles est connue, des situations incertaines, où les cas possibles ne sont pas connus. Or le risque est beaucoup plus facile à gérer que l’incertitude. Il est par exemple nettement plus aisé de concevoir les dégâts susceptibles d’être provoqués par une tempête ou une marée noire que de se projeter dans une situation où la présence d’un agent pathogène fait courir un risque potentiellement létal à une partie de la population. De façon à se préparer à une telle éventualité, il est indispensable que les pouvoirs publics – qu’il s’agisse de l’administration ou des responsables politiques – renforcent leurs liens avec la communauté scientifique. En France, l’absence quasi totale de culture scientifique aux échelons les plus élevés de l’administration comme au sein de la classe politique constitue un frein majeur à un tel rapprochement. Pour ce qui concerne la fonction publique, les conditions de recrutement des hauts fonctionnaires expliquent largement ce qui apparaît désormais comme une faiblesse dangereuse. Le rapport de la Mission haute fonction publique remis au Premier ministre le 18 février 2020 contient à cet égard des informations et des propositions très révélatrices. Les diplômés de Sciences Po Paris représentent les trois quarts des candidats admis au concours externe de l’École nationale d’administration (ENA). Or les disciplines scientifiques sont presque totalement étrangères au cursus de Sciences Po. Cet établissement ne dote pas davantage les étudiants ayant choisi la filière « Affaires publiques » d’une véritable formation disciplinaire. La formation par la recherche y est enfin réservée aux étudiants s’engageant dans la préparation d’un master recherche ou d’un doctorat. Autre-ment dit, les trois quarts des admis au concours externe de l’ENA – et une proportion plus importante encore si l’on tient compte des admis issus des autres instituts d’études politiques – n’ont pas bénéficié d’une formation intellectuelle rigoureuse permettant d’apprendre à chercher et à identifier des informations pertinentes, à les hiérarchiser, à quantifier et qualifier les liens unissant des variables, et, in fine, à bâtir une pensée originale sur des bases solides. Si les membres de la Mission haute fonction publique soulignent les vertus de la formation par la recherche, « qui développe la créativité, la ténacité, voire l’humilité », ils jugent toutefois préférable que la voie de recrutement réservée aux titulaires d’un doctorat soit limitée à quelques postes par an dans l’école d’administration publique dont ils préconisent la création. Cette conclusion est d’autant plus stupéfiante que le doctorat est, comme le souligne ce rapport, le diplôme de référence dans les organisations internationales. Pour tenter de résoudre cette contradiction, les membres de la Mission haute fonction publique proposent d’encourager les hauts fonctionnaires à préparer un doctorat, par exemple en aménageant leurs premières affectations de façon à ce qu’ils puissent mener une recherche en parallèle. Ceux qui connaissent le mode de fonctionnement de l’administration française savent que la diffusion à dose homéopathique de la formation par la recherche ne changera pas la donne. Pour préparer l’administration à répondre aux défis d’un monde de plus en plus incertain, il est devenu nécessaire de procéder à une révolution culturelle consistant à réduire la place accordée aux gestionnaires et à accroître celle attribuée aux « têtes chercheuses ». La formation par la recherche a une vertu supplémentaire : elle produit des esprits indépendants, qui placent la quête de la vérité scientifique avant toute autre considération. François Mitterrand aurait dit qu’il fallait avoir la nuque raide pour ce que l’on estime juste. Quand le monde devient dangereux, les « nuques raides » sont plus précieuses que les adeptes du consensus mou. Là encore, la comparaison de la façon dont les responsables politiques français et allemands ont répondu à la crise sanitaire du Covid-19 est éclairante. En France, une classe politique déboussolée n’a guère trouvé d’arguments à opposer à la rhétorique guerrière embrassée par le président de la République. En Allemagne, la chancelière s’est appuyée sur son expérience de physicienne pour comprendre les risques associés à la propagation du SARS-CoV-2 et concevoir une stratégie permettant d’enrayer l’épidémie. Quand Emmanuel Macron dramatisait les enjeux et en appelait à l’union nationale, Angela Merkel emportait la conviction en expliquant aux Allemands comment agir pour ralentir la progression du virus. La crise sanitaire a montré que la capacité d’analyse, la rigueur et la pédagogie sont des qualités plus utiles que le brio. C’est une leçon dont nous devrons nous souvenir.

Voir aussi:

Mike Pompeo: « Ce que veut vraiment le président Donald Trump au sujet du nucléaire iranien »

TRIBUNE EXCLUSIVE – Dans Le Figaro, le secrétaire d’État des États-Unis défend la politique «dure» adoptée par Washington à l’égard de l’Iran.

Mike Pompeo

«Il n’y a pas de politique qui vaille en dehors des réalités», a dit Charles de Gaulle. Cette maxime guide la politique des États-Unis à l’égard de la République islamique d’Iran. Nous reconnaissons ce régime pour ce qu’il est: le premier État commanditaire du terrorisme au monde et la principale source d’instabilité au Moyen-Orient. Je pense que nos amis français perçoivent eux aussi la véritable nature de Téhéran. Reste à savoir si la France est disposée à se joindre à nous pour s’opposer à l’Iran afin d’assurer la paix et la stabilité de la région.

La brutalité du régime actuel frappe en premier lieu le peuple iranien lui-même. Au cours de la seule année dernière, les forces de sécurité ont tué au moins 1500 manifestants pacifiques descendus dans les rues de tout le pays après une augmentation du prix des carburants. Le harcèlement, la discrimination et l’emprisonnement abusif sont choses courantes pour les membres de minorités religieuses, les femmes qui refusent de porter le hijab, les homosexuels et ceux qui dénoncent les autorités.

On compte également parmi les victimes de Téhéran certains de mes compatriotes américains. Le Hezbollah, soutenu par l’Iran, a tué des centaines d’Américains (et de nombreux ressortissants français) au cours d’attaques menées au Liban dans les années 1980, notamment lors de l’attentat à la bombe contre la caserne des marines à Beyrouth en 1983. Dix-neuf autres Américains ont péri en Arabie saoudite dans l’attentat des tours de Khobar commis par le Hezbollah en 1996. Et plus de 600 militaires américains ont été tués par des militants soutenus par les Iraniens au cours de la deuxième guerre d’Irak. Aujourd’hui, Téhéran retient trois Américains en otage.

Et cependant, les attentats qui ont fait couler le sang américain et commandités par l’Iran ne sont qu’une des formes de malveillance dans l’histoire de l’Iran au Moyen-Orient. En 2015, les pays libres espéraient que le Plan d’action global commun (PAGC) mettrait fin au comportement néfaste du régime – et en particulier à ses activités nucléaires illicites. Ils espéraient que le renforcement économique de l’Iran modérerait la violence subversive du régime.

Loin de rejoindre la communauté des nations, l’Iran a réagi à l’apaisement de l’Ouest par des massacres et une défiance accrus. Ce sont, l’an dernier, des missiles iraniens qui ont frappé des installations pétrolières saoudiennes, et des mines iraniennes qui ont explosé sur des navires marchands dans le golfe Persique. Au Yémen, les rebelles houthis appuyés par l’Iran alimentent l’une des pires crises humanitaires mondiales. Les milices chiites soutenues par l’Iran, telles que les Kataeb Hezbollah, portent atteinte à la souveraineté nationale et étouffent la démocratie en Irak. Les sables de Syrie sont gorgés du sang d’innocents à cause des forces iraniennes, du régime Assad appuyé par l’Iran et du Hezbollah.

Aucun pays n’a autant souffert que le Liban sous le talon de l’Iran. Le Hezbollah, mercenaire de l’Iran, y est depuis quelque trois décennies le principal acteur politique. Aujourd’hui, à Beyrouth, la corruption règne, le système financier et politique délabré fonctionne à peine, et les jeunes Libanais manifestent dans les rues au son de slogans comme «Iran dehors!».

Malheureusement, la France refuse de désigner l’ensemble du Hezbollah comme une organisation terroriste, comme l’ont fait d’autres pays européens, et freine les progrès de l’Union européenne dans ce sens. Au lieu de cela, Paris s’en tient à cette fiction qu’il existe une «aile politique» du Hezbollah, alors que celui-ci est entièrement contrôlé par un seul terroriste, Hassan Nasrallah. Je partage la frustration des vingt-sept personnalités publiques françaises qui, dans une tribune collective publiée dans Le Figaro , ont récemment appelé la France à adopter cette désignation.

Les faits sont les suivants: une fois le PAGC en place, le budget militaire de l’Iran est monté en flèche et les milices et terroristes soutenus par le pays ont obtenu davantage de fonds pour tuer et affermir leur présence dans tout le Moyen-Orient. L’Iran s’est doté de la plus grande force de missiles balistiques de la région et a enfreint de multiples dispositions de l’accord concernant les questions nucléaires. Le scepticisme manifesté par de nombreux dirigeants français à l’égard de l’accord durant les négociations semble aujourd’hui plus justifié que jamais.

Le président Trump pense que seule une pression maximale exercée sur le régime, et non l’apaisement, peut induire les changements de comportement que nous recherchons tous. C’est pourquoi les États-Unis ont imposé à l’Iran des sanctions économiques sans précédent et rétabli les mesures de dissuasion militaires à son encontre, notamment par l’élimination de Qassem Soleimani.

Notre campagne vise également à nous assurer que l’Iran ne puisse ni acheter ni vendre des armes conventionnelles – chars d’assaut lourds, avions de combat, missiles et autres. C’est ce qu’a fait le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU en imposant à l’Iran des limites de transferts d’armes durant les treize dernières années. Mais les auteurs du PAGC ont commis une terrible erreur en fixant à ces dispositions une date d’expiration: le 18 octobre de cette année.

Les conséquences d’une levée d’embargo sont évidentes: le premier État commanditaire mondial du terrorisme fournira des armes à des terroristes ou à des tyrans. Les infrastructures de transports et d’énergie du Moyen-Orient – qui sont cruciales pour les économies de l’Europe et d’autres régions du monde – tomberont sous le coup d’une menace encore plus forte. Et les populations de la région seront exposées à des souffrances encore plus grandes aux mains des ayatollahs.

Rarement une évolution aussi dangereuse a-t-elle été aussi évitable. Mais le 14 août dernier, la France, et avec elle le Royaume-Uni et l’Allemagne, s’est abstenue d’appuyer la résolution visant la prorogation de l’embargo sur les armes introduite au Conseil de sécurité par les États-Unis.

Le prolongement de l’embargo aurait servi la mission de «maintien de la paix et de la sécurité internationales» qui est celle du Conseil de sécurité, la coopération transatlantique et plus généralement le multilatéralisme. Alors pourquoi nos amis européens n’ont-ils pas soutenu la proposition raisonnable qui était émise, ou au moins proposé une alternative? Pourquoi m’ont-ils affirmé en privé les dangers de la fin de l’embargo, mais n’ont pas agi en public?

Concernant la politique appliquée, il s’agit d’un problème de peur. Nos alliés européens craignent que, s’ils considèrent l’Iran comme responsable de son comportement déstabilisateur, Téhéran réagisse par des violations encore plus nombreuses de l’accord. Cette stratégie d’apaisement ne joue qu’en faveur de la grande stratégie de l’Iran. C’est une campagne d’extorsion diplomatique efficace, forgée par mon prédécesseur, le secrétaire d’État Kerry.

Les calculs politiques entrent également en jeu dans les prises de position de l’Europe, où plusieurs dirigeants refusent d’agir avant l’issue de la prochaine élection présidentielle américaine. Cette manœuvre cynique considère les mutilations et les massacres commis par l’Iran comme des dommages collatéraux acceptables, et estime que Washington, ce qui est regrettable, est plus dangereux pour le monde que Téhéran. Je me demande si les habitants de Beyrouth, de Riyad ou de Jérusalem, les villes les plus exposées à l’Iran, seraient d’accord. Comment est-il possible que la France vote contre l’embargo sur les armes, et que la semaine suivante le président Macron rencontre un haut représentant du Hezbollah à Beyrouth?

Le 20 août, j’ai fait appel à l’autorité des États-Unis afin de rétablir presque toutes les sanctions de l’ONU contre l’Iran que la résolution 2231 du Conseil de sécurité avait suspendues. Le rétablissement de ces sanctions n’a jamais été le premier choix des États-Unis, mais elles seront bientôt en vigueur pour de bon. Tous les pays sont tenus de les appliquer ; ne pas le faire porterait gravement atteinte à l’autorité et à la crédibilité du Conseil de sécurité et risquerait de normaliser une application sélective de ses résolutions. Comment les pays pourraient-ils alors se prétendre légitimement défenseurs du multilatéralisme?

Voir également:

« Nous sommes en guerre » : le verbatim du discours d’Emmanuel Macron

Tandis que l’épidémie due au coronavirus progresse chaque jour en France, le président de la République a annoncé lundi soir une stricte restriction des déplacements pendant au moins quinze jours.

Le Monde

16 mars 2020

Pendant que l’épidémie de Covid-19 progresse chaque jour en France, le président de la République, Emmanuel Macron, s’est exprimé, lundi 16 mars à 20 heures, dans une allocution télévisée. Nous retranscrivons ci-dessous ses propos.

« Françaises, Français, mes chers compatriotes. Jeudi soir, je me suis adressé à vous pour évoquer la crise sanitaire que traverse le pays. Jusqu’alors, l’épidémie de Covid-19 était peut-être pour certains d’entre vous une idée lointaine. Elle est devenue une réalité immédiate, pressante. Le gouvernement a pris, comme je vous l’avais annoncé, des dispositions fermes pour freiner la propagation du virus. Les crèches, les écoles, les collèges, les lycées, les universités sont fermées depuis ce jour. Samedi soir, les restaurants, les bars, tous les commerces non essentiels à la vie de la nation ont également clos leurs portes. Les rassemblements de plus de 100 personnes ont été interdits. Jamais la France n’avait dû prendre de telles décisions, évidemment exceptionnelles, évidemment temporaires en temps de paix. Elles ont été prises avec ordre, préparation, sur la base de recommandations scientifiques avec un seul objectif : nous protéger face à la propagation du virus.

Dans la journée de jeudi, un consensus scientifique et politique s’est formé pour maintenir le premier tour des élections municipales et j’ai pris, avec le premier ministre, la décision de maintenir le scrutin. Hier dimanche, les opérations de vote ont donc pu se tenir. Je veux ce soir remercier les services de l’Etat, les maires, l’ensemble des services des mairies, tous ceux qui ont tenu les bureaux de vote et qui ont donc permis l’organisation de ce scrutin. Je veux aussi saluer chaleureusement les Françaises et les Français qui, malgré le contexte, se sont rendus aux urnes dans le strict respect des consignes sanitaires, des gestes barrières contre le virus. Je veux aussi ce soir adresser mes félicitations républicaines aux candidats élus au premier tour. Environ 30 000 communes sur 35 000 ont après ce premier tour un conseil municipal.

Mais dans le même temps, alors même que les personnels soignants des services de réanimation alertaient sur la gravité de la situation, nous avons aussi vu du monde se rassembler dans les parcs, des marchés bondés, des restaurants, des bars qui n’ont pas respecté la consigne de fermeture. Comme si, au fond, la vie n’avait pas changé.

A tous ceux qui, adoptant ces comportements, ont bravé les consignes, je veux dire ce soir, très clairement, non seulement vous ne vous protégez pas, vous, et l’évolution récente a montré que personne n’est invulnérable, y compris les plus jeunes, mais vous ne protégez pas les autres, même si vous ne présentez aucun symptôme, vous pouvez transmettre le virus. Même si vous ne présentez aucun symptôme, vous risquez de contaminer vos amis, vos parents, grands-parents, de mettre en danger la santé de ceux qui vous sont chers. Dans le Grand-Est, dans les Hauts-de-France, en Ile-de-France, nos soignants se battent pour sauver des vies avec dévouement, avec force.

Au moment où la situation sanitaire se dégrade fortement, où la pression sur nos hôpitaux et nos soignants s’accentue, tout notre engagement, toute notre énergie, toute notre force doivent se concentrer sur un seul objectif : ralentir la progression du virus. Je vous le redis avec force ce soir : respectons les gestes barrières, les consignes sanitaires. C’est le seul moyen de protéger les personnes vulnérables, d’avoir moins de concitoyens infectés et ainsi de réduire la pression sur les services de réanimation pour qu’ils puissent mieux accueillir, mieux soigner. Sans signes graves, contactons notre médecin traitant, n’appelons le SAMU et ne nous rendons à l’hôpital qu’en cas de fortes fièvres, de difficultés à respirer, sans quoi ils ne pourront faire face à la vague de cas graves qui déjà se profile dans certaines régions. Faisons preuve, au fond, d’esprit solidaire et de sens des responsabilités. Chacun d’entre nous doit à tout prix limiter le nombre de personnes avec qui il est en contact chaque jour. Les scientifiques le disent, c’est la priorité absolue.

C’est pourquoi, après avoir consulté, écouté les experts, le terrain et en conscience, j’ai décidé de renforcer encore les mesures pour réduire nos déplacements et nos contacts au strict nécessaire. Dès demain midi et pour quinze jours au moins, nos déplacements seront très fortement réduits. Cela signifie que les regroupements extérieurs, les réunions familiales ou amicales ne seront plus permises. Se promener, retrouver ses amis dans le parc, dans la rue, ne sera plus possible. Il s’agit de limiter au maximum ses contacts au-delà du foyer. Partout sur le territoire français, en métropole comme outre-mer, seuls doivent demeurer les trajets nécessaires. Nécessaire pour faire ses courses avec de la discipline et en mettant les distances d’au moins un mètre, en ne serrant pas la main, en n’embrassant pas. Les trajets nécessaires pour se soigner, évidemment. Les trajets nécessaires pour aller travailler quand le travail à distance n’est pas possible et les trajets nécessaires pour faire un peu d’activité physique mais sans retrouver, là encore, des amis ou des proches. Toutes les entreprises doivent s’organiser pour faciliter le travail à distance. Et quand cela ne sera pas possible, elles devront adapter dès demain leur organisation pour faire respecter ces gestes barrières contre le virus, c’est-à-dire protéger leurs salariés ou, quand il s’agit d’indépendants, se protéger eux-mêmes.

Le gouvernement précisera les modalités de ces nouvelles règles dès ce soir, dès après mon allocution. Toute infraction à ces règles sera sanctionnée. Je vous le dis avec beaucoup de solennité ce soir. Ecoutons les soignants qui nous disent « si vous voulez nous aider, il faut rester chez vous et limiter les contacts ». C’est le plus important, évidemment. Ce soir, je pose des règles nouvelles. Nous posons des interdits. Il y aura des contrôles, mais la meilleure règle, c’est celle qu’en tant que citoyens, vous vous appliquez à vous-mêmes et une fois encore, j’en appelle à votre sens des responsabilités et de la solidarité.

Dans ce contexte, après avoir consulté le président du Sénat, le président de l’Assemblée nationale, mais également mes prédécesseurs, j’ai décidé que le second tour des élections municipales serait reporté. Le premier ministre en a informé aujourd’hui même les chefs de partis représentés au Parlement. Cette décision a fait l’objet d’un accord unanime.

Mes chers compatriotes, je mesure l’impact de toutes ces décisions sur vos vies. Renoncer à voir ses proches, c’est un déchirement. Stopper ses activités quotidiennes, ses habitudes, c’est très difficile. Cela ne doit pas nous empêcher de garder le lien, d’appeler nos proches, de donner des nouvelles, d’organiser aussi les choses avec nos voisins. D’inventer de nouvelles solidarités entre générations. De rester, comme je vous l’ai dit jeudi dernier, profondément solidaires et d’innover là aussi sur ce point. Je sais que je vous demande de rester chez vous.

Je vous demande aussi de garder le calme dans ce contexte. J’ai vu ces dernières heures des phénomènes de panique en tous sens. Nous devons tous avoir l’esprit de responsabilité. Il ne faut pas que les fausses informations circulent à tout-va et en restant chez vous, occupez-vous des proches qui sont dans votre appartement, votre maison ; donnez des nouvelles, prenez des nouvelles, lisez. Retrouvez aussi ce sens de l’essentiel. Je pense que c’est important dans les moments que nous vivons. La culture, l’éducation, le sens des choses est important. Evitez l’esprit de panique, de croire dans les fausses rumeurs. Les demi-experts ou les faux-sachants. La parole est claire, l’information est transparente et nous continuerons de la donner. Mais croyez-moi, cet effort que je vous demande, je sais qu’il est inédit mais les circonstances nous y obligent.

Nous sommes en guerre, en guerre sanitaire certes. Nous ne luttons ni contre une armée ni contre une autre nation, mais l’ennemi est là, invisible, insaisissable, et qui progresse. Et cela requiert notre mobilisation générale. Nous sommes en guerre. Toute l’action du gouvernement et du Parlement doit être désormais tournée vers le combat contre l’épidémie, de jour comme de nuit. Rien ne doit nous en divertir. C’est pourquoi j’ai décidé que toutes les réformes en cours seraient suspendues, à commencer par la réforme des retraites.

Dès mercredi, en conseil des ministres, sera présenté un projet de loi permettant au gouvernement de répondre à l’urgence et, lorsque nécessaire, de légiférer par ordonnance dans les domaines relevant strictement de la gestion de crise. Ce projet sera soumis au Parlement dès jeudi. J’ai vu tout à l’heure les présidents de l’Assemblée nationale et du Sénat afin que ces textes soient votés le plus finement possible, afin aussi que la vie démocratique et le contrôle du Parlement continuent dans cette période. Je les en remercie et je remercie tous nos parlementaires en cet instant.

Nous sommes en guerre. J’appelle tous les acteurs politiques, économiques, sociaux, associatifs, tous les Français à s’inscrire dans cette union nationale qui a permis à notre pays de surmonter tant de crises par le passé. Nous sommes en guerre et la Nation soutiendra ses enfants qui, personnels soignants en ville, à l’hôpital, se trouvent en première ligne dans un combat qui va leur demander énergie, détermination, solidarité. Ils ont des droits sur nous. Nous leur devons évidemment les moyens, la protection. Nous serons là. Nous leur devons, des masques, du gel, tout le matériel nécessaire. Et nous y veillons et y veillerons.

Nous avons décidé avec les scientifiques de réserver les masques en priorité pour l’hôpital et la médecine de ville et de campagne, en particulier les généralistes et les infirmières, désormais en première ligne aussi dans la gestion de la crise. Des masques seront livrés dans les pharmacies dès demain soir, dans les vingt-cinq départements les plus touchés, mercredi pour le reste du territoire national. J’ai aussi entendu le message des spécialistes, en particulier les chirurgiens-dentistes et beaucoup d’autres. Des solutions seront trouvées avec le ministre de la santé dans les prochaines heures.

Nous devons aussi aux soignants la garde de leurs enfants. Un service minimum de garde est en place depuis ce jour dans les crèches et dans les écoles. Nous leur devons aussi sérénité, dans leurs déplacements, et repos. C’est pourquoi j’ai décidé que dès demain les taxis et les hôtels pourront être mobilisés à leur profit. L’Etat paiera.

Nous sommes en guerre, oui. Le pays accompagnera dans cette période les régions les plus touchées aujourd’hui, comme celles qui le seront demain. A ce titre, je veux assurer les habitants, les personnels soignants du Grand-Est que nous serons au rendez-vous pour les appuyer face à l’afflux de patients et à la saturation des hôpitaux. Je sais ce qu’ils vivent depuis des jours et des jours. Nous sommes avec eux. J’ai décidé pour cela qu’un hôpital de campagne du service de santé des armées serait déployé dans les jours à venir en Alsace. Les armées apporteront aussi leur concours pour déplacer les malades des régions les plus affectées et ainsi réduire la congestion des hôpitaux de certains territoires.

Nous sommes en guerre. Aussi, comme je vous l’ai dit jeudi, pour nous protéger et contenir la dissémination du virus, mais aussi préserver nos systèmes de soins, nous avons pris ce matin, entre Européens, une décision commune. Dès demain midi, les frontières à l’entrée de l’Union européenne et de l’espace Schengen seront fermées. Concrètement, tous les voyages entre les pays non européens et l’Union européenne seront suspendus pendant trente jours. Les Françaises et les Français qui sont actuellement à l’étranger et souhaitent rentrer pourront bien entendu rejoindre leur pays. Nous devons prendre cette décision parce que je vous demande ce soir d’importants efforts et que nous devons, dans la durée, nous protéger. Et je veux dire à tous nos compatriotes qui vivent à l’étranger que là aussi, en bon ordre, ils doivent se rapprocher des ambassades et consulats et que nous organiserons pour celles et ceux qui le souhaitent, et là où c’est nécessaire, le rapatriement.

Vous l’aurez compris, vous le pressentez, cette crise sanitaire sans précédent aura des conséquences humaines, sociales, économiques majeures. C’est aussi ce défi que nous devons mener. Je vous demande des sacrifices pour ralentir l’épidémie. Jamais ils ne doivent mettre en cause l’aide aux plus fragiles, la pérennité d’une entreprise, les moyens de subsistance des salariés comme des indépendants.

Pour les plus précaires, pour les plus démunis, pour les personnes isolées, nous ferons en sorte, avec les grandes associations, avec aussi les collectivités locales et leurs services, qu’ils puissent être nourris, protégés, que les services que nous leur devons soient assurés. Pour la vie économique, pour ce qui concerne la France, aucune entreprise, quelle que soit sa taille, ne sera livrée au risque de faillite. Aucune Française, aucun Français ne sera laissé sans ressources.

S’agissant des entreprises, nous mettons en place un dispositif exceptionnel de report de charges fiscales et sociales, de soutien au report d’échéances bancaires et de garanties de l’Etat à hauteur de 300 milliards d’euros pour tous les prêts bancaires contractés auprès des banques. Pour les plus petites d’entre elles, et tant que la situation durera, celles qui font face à des difficultés n’auront rien à débourser ni pour les impôts, ni pour les cotisations sociales. Les factures de gaz ou d’électricité ainsi que les loyers devront être suspendus.

En outre, afin que personne ne soit laissé sans ressources, pour les salariés le dispositif de chômage partiel sera massivement élargi, comme je vous l’avais annoncé jeudi dernier, et comme le gouvernement a commencé à le préciser. Pour les entrepreneurs, commerçants, artisans, un fonds de solidarité sera créé, abondé par l’Etat, et auquel le premier ministre proposera aux régions aussi de contribuer.

Le gouvernement, dès demain, précisera toutes ces mesures. Elles seront en fonction des besoins, des réalités économiques, des nécessités secteur par secteur, évidemment adaptées. Nous serons au rendez-vous pour que notre économie soit préservée dans cette période si dure et pour que l’ensemble des travailleuses et des travailleurs puissent avoir cette sécurité aussi en termes de pouvoir d’achat, de continuité de leur vie.

Mes chers compatriotes, la France vit un moment très difficile. Nul ne peut en prévoir précisément la durée et à mesure que les jours suivront les jours, que les problèmes succéderont aux problèmes, il faudra en lien avec les éclairages donnés par les scientifiques, des expériences de terrain, il faudra nous adapter. Nous allons continuer aussi pendant cette période de travailler, de progresser sur les traitements et je sais le dévouement de plusieurs équipes partout sur notre territoire avec les premiers espoirs qui naissent, et nous continuerons aussi d’avancer sur le vaccin.

Régulièrement, je m’adresserai à vous. Je vous dirai à chaque fois, comme je l’ai fait, comme le gouvernement le fait, la vérité sur l’évolution de la situation. J’ai une certitude : plus nous agirons ensemble et vite, plus nous surmonterons cette épreuve. Plus nous agirons en citoyens, plus nous ferons preuve de la même force d’âme, de la même abnégation patriote que démontrent aujourd’hui nos personnels soignants, nos sapeurs-pompiers, l’ensemble des acteurs de la sécurité civile, plus vite nous sortirons de cette vie au ralenti. Nous y arriverons.

Mes chers compatriotes, en étant unis, solidaires, je vous demande d’être responsables tous ensemble et de ne céder à aucune panique, d’accepter ces contraintes, de les porter, de les expliquer, de vous les appliquer à vous-mêmes. Nous nous les appliquerons tous, il n’y aura pas de passe-droits. Mais là aussi de ne céder ni à la panique ni au désordre. Nous gagnerons, mais cette période nous aura beaucoup appris. Beaucoup de certitudes, de convictions seront balayées, seront remises en cause. Beaucoup de choses que nous pensions impossibles adviennent. Ne nous laissons pas impressionner, agissons avec force, mais retenons cela, le jour d’après, quand nous aurons gagné, ce ne sera pas un retour aux jours d’avant. Nous serons plus forts moralement. Nous aurons appris et je saurai aussi avec vous en tirer toutes conséquences, toutes les conséquences. Hissons-nous, individuellement et collectivement, à la hauteur du moment. Je sais, mes chers compatriotes, pouvoir compter sur vous. Vive la République ! Vive la France ! »

Voir encore:

Présidentielle américaine: cette campagne de 2020 dont la musique rappelle étrangement 2016

ANALYSE – Dans les provinces profondes, personne ou presque ne prête attention à la charge de la cavalerie antitrumpiste.

Laure Mandeville
Le Figaro
17 septembre 2020

Bien sûr, il y a le Covid, les 200.000 morts, les masques, le virus qui continue de courir, les frontières fermées, le business qui souffre. Toutes ces circonstances qui font de l’élection qui approche un défi gigantesque pour le président sortant. Mais pour l’essentiel, la musique de fond de cette drôle de campagne 2020, où les démocrates mobilisent en ligne pour montrer qu’ils sont «responsables» et «respectueux des experts», tandis que Trump s’en va en chair et en os chez ses électeurs pour leur dire que l’Amérique est vivante et «toujours grande», ressemble à s’y tromper à celle de 2016: pour ou contre Trump, jusqu’à la caricature. D’un côté, une polyphonie orchestrée par tout ce que l’élite compte de sommités monte au créneau, avec tambours et trompettes médiatiques, pour affirmer que le président est «inapte à gouverner».

De l’autre, les chœurs du peuple trumpien scandent «quatre ans de plus» sans prêter la moindre attention à la cascade de livres et de révélations censés accabler leur héros. Du coup, le pays vit en schizophrène, dans deux salles de «concert électoral» qui ne communiquent pas, comme c’est le cas depuis quatre ans.

Dans la première – journaux, télés, Twitter – on parle des dernières révélations du livre Rage du journaliste Bob Woodward, ancien «tombeur de Nixon». Il est sorti de ses 17 conversations avec le président «effaré», notamment après que ce dernier lui ait confié avoir «sous-estimé» publiquement la dangerosité du Covid, parce qu’il ne voulait pas semer la panique. Preuve de son incapacité et de son amoralité, dénoncent les éditorialistes. «Un mélange de couard, raciste, menteur, frimeur, narcisse, arnaqueur et vantard», écrit notamment Roger Cohen à la une du New York Times. Mais cette propension à diaboliser Trump pourrait paradoxalement s’avérer contre-productive, les démocrates donnant le sentiment de n’avoir tiré aucune leçon de l’échec essuyé en 2016.

Pour l’instant, l’essentiel des analystes parient toujours sur Joe Biden. Mais les sondages se resserrent. Les débats seront sans doute déterminants

La plus singulière surprise de 2020 est en effet que, malgré le Covid, les ratages, les innombrables défauts de Trump, et les grincements de dents de l’élite, il continue de porter les espoirs de quelque 45 % de la population! Les démocrates s’acharnent sur l’homme. Mais lui chevauche une colère réelle qui ne passe pas. C’est ainsi que dans les provinces profondes, personne ou presque ne prête attention à la charge de la cavalerie antitrumpiste. C’est ce que confie au téléphone Lynette Vilano, activiste républicaine de Pennsylvanie, dégoûtée par la manière dont les médias traitent «son président». «Depuis le premier jour, ils ne lui donnent aucune chance. Alors nous n’écoutons plus», dit-elle.

Même le fait que Trump ait fait la paix entre Israël, les Émirats arabes unis et Bahreïn, n’a été pas mis à son crédit, regrette l’activiste, qui affirme que «CNN a totalement sous-couvert» la percée diplomatique car elle ne colle pas à leur discours sur le désastre de sa politique étrangère. Lynette Vilano affirme que le soutien à Trump dans son comté, «ne cesse de grandir» et que «de nombreux démocrates continuent de migrer vers le Parti républicain». Comme en 2016. Un constat intéressant mais qui reste à l’échelle locale, se hâte-t-elle de dire. Pour l’instant, l’essentiel des analystes parient toujours sur Joe Biden qui, selon la militante républicaine, ressemble à son mari «quand il s’est mis à vieillir et à ne plus trop s’orienter». Mais les sondages se resserrent. Les débats seront sans doute déterminants.

Voir enfin:

La Suède défend une stratégie « durable » contre le Covid-19

Alors que le spectre d’une deuxième vague se profile en Europe, la propagation du coronavirus reste limitée dans le royaume scandinave, convaincu de l’efficacité de sa méthode.

Anne-Françoise Hivert

Le Monde

17 septembre 2020

La rentrée des classes – non masquée – a eu lieu il y a près d’un mois en Suède. Et pour le moment, les nouvelles sont plutôt bonnes sur le front du Covid-19. Le nombre de contaminations reste stable et rien n’indique qu’une reprise de la pandémie se prépare. Mardi 15 septembre, le gouvernement a même suspendu l’interdiction des visites en maison de retraite, en vigueur depuis le 1er avril.

Elles resteront tout de même strictement encadrées. Pas question de risquer une nouvelle propagation du virus dans les établissements d’hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes, dont les résidents comptent pour près de la moitié des victimes du Covid-19. « Nous nous trouvons toujours au milieu d’une pandémie, a rappelé la ministre des affaires sociales, Lena Hallengren. Même si la plupart des chiffres pointent dans la bonne direction, nous pouvons être frappés par une recrudescence des cas. »

En attendant, la Suède, très critiquée pour ne pas avoir confiné sa population au printemps, savoure l’accalmie, en espérant éviter une seconde vague. Si la situation semblait hors de contrôle au début de l’été, alors que le pays de 10 millions d’habitants affichait un des taux d’incidence les plus élevés du monde, le reflux observé depuis se maintient.

Selon les chiffres de l’agence de la santé publique Folkhälsomyndigheten, publiés le 16 septembre, 1 584 nouveaux cas ont été enregistrés sur les sept derniers jours. Au total, 130 malades sont soignés à l’hôpital et 13 patients se trouvent en réanimation. Depuis près d’un mois, la Suède n’enregistre plus qu’un ou deux décès journaliers.

« Des mesures moins drastiques qu’ailleurs »

Avec 5 860 morts (soit 58 décès pour 100 000 habitants) depuis le début de la pandémie, le pays reste toutefois le onzième le plus touché au monde. Un bilan particulièrement lourd si on le compare à celui de ses voisins nordiques, qui ont tous opté pour un semi-confinement : en Suède, le virus a tué cinq fois plus qu’au Danemark et dix fois plus qu’en Finlande ou en Norvège.

Alors comment expliquer l’embellie de ces dernières semaines, au moment même où le Covid-19 regagne du terrain presque partout en Europe, y compris au Danemark et en Norvège ? La stratégie suédoise, tellement décriée à l’étranger, serait-elle enfin en train de faire ses preuves ?

Contrairement au quotidien Svenska Dagbladet, qui titrait récemment sur « la revanche » du modèle suédois, son principal architecte, l’épidémiologiste en chef, Anders Tegnell, interrogé par Le Monde, se garde bien de faire preuve de triomphalisme. Il n’exclut pas que l’évolution de l’épidémie dans son pays soit décalée et que « ce qui se passe en France [aujourd’hui] s’y produise dans un mois ».

Anders Tegnell, cependant, penche plutôt pour une autre explication. Il veut croire que « le modèle suédois, basé sur des mesures moins drastiques qu’ailleurs, mais qui restent les mêmes et s’inscrivent dans la durée, commence à fonctionner ». S’il a fallu patienter plusieurs mois pour en voir les résultats, c’est en raison de deux facteurs, explique-t-il : « Les dispositifs un peu moins drastiques prennent plus de temps à agir. Peut-être aussi que nous avions une telle propagation du virus qu’il a fallu attendre avant de voir une réponse importante aux mesures que nous avions mis en place » dans les régions les plus touchées par le virus, celle de Stockholm et de Göteborg.

Concernant le confinement, qu’il a qualifié « d’expérimentation » par le passé, l’épidémiologiste « peut comprendre » que des gouvernements aient fait ce choix « quand les systèmes de santé ont atteint la saturation ». Mais « cela n’a jamais été le cas en Suède », rappelle-t-il.

Malgré le nombre élevé de morts, qu’il attribue aux failles dans la gestion des maisons de retraite plutôt qu’à la stratégie mise en place par le pays, Anders Tegnell est convaincu que la Suède a fait le bon choix : « Le virus ne va pas disparaître. A l’avenir, il sera sans doute plus facile à gérer, notamment quand nous aurons un vaccin. Mais nous allons devoir vivre longtemps avec et il est important que les mesures que nous prenons fonctionnent sur le long terme, sans avoir de conséquences trop négatives sur d’autres aspects de la santé ».

Le dépistage est monté en puissance cet été

Si le royaume scandinave n’a pas confiné, il n’a pas non plus déconfiné. Les recommandations et les quelques restrictions, imposées depuis mars, n’ont jamais changé. Elles continuent d’être répétées lors des conférences de presse, organisées deux fois par semaine au siège de Folkhälsomyndigheten. Retransmises en direct sur la chaîne publique SVT et sur YouTube, « elles sont suivies par 1 million de personnes, soit 1 Suédois sur 10 », selon Dan Eliasson, le directeur général de l’Agence de la protection civile.

Les Suédois sont priés de rester chez eux au moindre symptôme, de se laver régulièrement les mains et de garder leur distance, notamment avec les personnes de plus de 70 ans. Le dépistage, qui avait pris du retard à l’allumage, est monté en puissance cet été. Désormais, même les enfants sont invités à se faire diagnostiquer en cas de maladie, ce qui provoque des files d’attente, malgré 142 000 tests atteints la deuxième semaine de septembre.

Prohibés depuis le 27 mars, les rassemblements publics de plus de 50 personnes restent interdits, y compris à l’intérieur des théâtres, des cinémas ou des stades. Des assouplissements sont envisagés, mais l’agence de la santé publique a déjà fait savoir qu’elle exigerait une distance d’au moins un mètre et n’autoriserait pas plus de 500 spectateurs.

Le télétravail continue d’être recommandé, jusqu’au 31 décembre au moins. Les Suédois sont également priés d’éviter les transports en commun, et de privilégier la marche et le vélo aux heures de pointe. A Stockholm, la compagnie locale de bus et de métro SL a constaté une baisse de près de 50 % du nombre de passagers. La société ferroviaire SJ, pour sa part, ne permet plus de réserver qu’un siège sur deux, dans ses trains.

« Relation de confiance entre les autorités et les citoyens »

Une des décisions les plus controversées, mi-mars, avait été de maintenir les crèches, les écoles et les collèges ouverts. Les lycées et les universités avaient fermé. Ils ont rouvert mi-août. Le bilan provisoire est en demi-teinte : plusieurs établissements ont dû repasser en l’enseignement à distance, après des cas de contamination, même si le taux d’incidence reste stable chez les moins de 18 ans.

Le masque, lui, n’est toujours pas recommandé. « Garder ses distances est bien plus important », argue Anders Tegnell. Cependant, l’épidémiologiste n’exclut plus de l’imposer « pour une courte période, dans un endroit spécifique, si les cas augmentent et que les mesures habituelles ne fonctionnent pas ». Mais les exemples, ailleurs en Europe, ne le convainquent pas : « On voit bien que dans les pays qui l’ont rendu obligatoire, les contaminations ne baissent pas de façon drastique », remarque-t-il.

Selon la dernière enquête d’opinion réalisée par l’agence de la protection civile, 60 % des Suédois ont confiance dans la gestion de la pandémie par leur pays et 70 % approuvent le choix des mesures prises. Pour Dan Eliasson, les chiffres montrent que « la stratégie suédoise est bien ancrée au sein de la société ». Il y voit la condition de son efficacité : « Notre stratégie repose sur une relation de confiance entre les autorités et les citoyens. Plutôt que de donner des ordres ou de pointer du doigt, nous faisons des recommandations, mais c’est à eux d’agir, sur la base des informations que nous leur fournissons. » Et même si tous ne suivent pas les recommandations en permanence, admet-il, « la plupart des Suédois ont changé leur comportement ».

Est-ce que cela sera suffisant pour éviter une seconde vague ? L’agence de la santé publique n’exclut pas qu’une certaine immunité de la population puisse être en partie responsable du ralentissement de la propagation du virus. En Suède, plus de 87 575 personnes ont été testées positive au Covid-19 depuis le début de la pandémie. Mais le nombre de contaminés pourrait être bien plus élevé.


Anti-américanisme: Vous avez dit ‘étatsunien’ ? (Forget statues – let’s rename the whole map, starting with America’s very name !)

20 juillet, 2020

5 things you need to know now - No agreement on recovery plan yet ...jcdurbant (@jcdurbant) | Twitter
Don’t know much about history (…) Don’t know much about geography … Sam Cooke
Faut-il détruire l’Occident ? Le mettre à feu et à sang pour mieux le reconstruire ou mieux le piétiner dans ses ruines ? Cette géographie, qui participe autant de l’histoire que des imaginaires, partage les avis et divise les ardeurs des anti-tout qui y habitent. Entre ceux qui y craignent la fin du monde et ceux qui la veulent, ceux qui la fabriquent et ceux qui la redoutent. Collapsologues, écologistes messianiques, antiracistes radicaux, populistes, tiers-mondistes nostalgiques et populistes du victimaire, ardents de la « souche » et racialistes inversés : ils sont foule et la foule fait désormais effet d’armées. On aura beau le nier et le relativiser, il y a déjà un instinct de mort dans les airs de la révolution totale imaginée par chacun. L’Occident étant coupable par définition selon certains, on se retrouve non dans la revendication du changement mais, peu à peu, dans celle de la destruction, la restauration d’une barbarie de revanche. Les raisons ? Elles sont diverses. La colère longtemps tue, la culpabilité chez les élites occidentales « de souche », la fin d’un sursis obscur donné aux démocraties traditionnelles, les populismes rageurs et les réseaux sociaux. Il ne faut jamais oublier qu’Internet a réveillé les foules comme le firent les imprimeries il y a des siècles, ou les papyrus il y a si longtemps. On ne change pas de moyens d’impression et de diffusion sans changer la manière de faire les révolutions ou de réveiller les foules. Les armuriers viennent après les écrans, pas avant, rappelons-le. De fait, il y a comme une convergence des luttes pour la meilleure fin d’un monde : victimaires, antiracistes, mais aussi masochistes intellectuels et sceptiques professionnels, suprémacistes et défaitistes esthètes. Le vœu de changer l’Occident se retrouve contaminé, profondément, par celui de le voir mourir dans la souffrance. Et, dans l’élan, on gomme cette conséquence suicidaire que par sa mort on se tuera soi-même, on tuera le rêve d’y vivre ou d’y aller par chaloupes ou par avions, on tue le seul espace où il est justement possible de crier sa colère. D’ailleurs, le fait même de défendre l’Occident comme espace de liberté, certes incomplète et imparfaite, est jugé blasphématoire dans cette nouvelle lutte des classes et des races. Il est interdit de dire que l’Occident est aussi le lieu vers où l’on fuit quand on veut échapper à l’injustice de son pays d’origine, à la dictature, à la guerre, à la faim, ou simplement à l’ennui. Il est de bon ton de dire que l’Occident est coupable de tout pour mieux définir sa propre innocence absolue. L’Occident sera alors crucifié pour notre salut à tous en quelque sorte, confondu, dans le même corps blanc, dans une trinité horizontale, avec les deux autres voleurs à la gauche et à la droite de ce Christ géant. Erreurs et illusions coûteuses. L’Occident est à la fois coupable et innocent. Or, tuer un coupable ne brise pas la chaîne de la douleur. Elle fait échanger les robes des victimes et des bourreaux. On le sait tous, et c’est une banalité utile à remémorer. Il est urgent de rappeler que sur les colères d’aujourd’hui se greffent trop de radicalités pour qu’on puisse éviter la violence si on continue dans le même aveuglement. Brûler l’Occident, ce rêve si facile qu’Internet et ces militants agitateurs des réseaux commercialisent en guise de « néopureté » et de légitimité, est une erreur qui aura de lourdes conséquences. On se retrouvera, dans quelques décennies, à vivre dans ces champs nus, à construire la barbarie qu’on a cru dénoncer. Ces procès anti-Occident à la soviétique, si faciles et si confortables, à peine coûteux quand on ne vit pas dans la dictature qu’on a fuie, menés par les intellectuels du sud en exil confortable en Occident ou par des fourvoyés locaux sont une impasse, une parade ou une lâcheté. Ils n’ont ni courage, ni sincérité, ni utilité. Il n’est même plus besoin de relire les insanités d’un journaliste qui a fui son pays du Maghreb il y a vingt ans, se contentant de dénoncer la dictature « locale » sans y mettre les pieds, tout en passant son temps à fustiger les démocraties qui l’ont accueilli. La règle de ce confort est qu’il est plus facile de déboulonner la statue d’un tyran, au nord, sous les smartphones, que de déboulonner un vrai tyran vivant au « sud ». Et il n’est pas même utile de répondre à ceux qui, lorsque vous tenez ces propos pourtant réalistes, vous accusent de servilité intellectuelle. (…) l’Occident est ce qu’il est : imparfait et à parfaire. Il n’est pas à détruire. Ceux qui en rêvent sont ceux qui n’ont pas su avoir de rêve meilleur que la barbarie de revanche, pas su dépasser des rancunes intimes. C’est, à mon avis, ce qu’il faut rappeler pour éviter aux colères justes des assouvissements faciles et détestables. L’antiracisme est un combat juste. Il ne doit pas devenir un acte de vandalisme intellectuel ou de désordre dans ce monde si fragile. Son but est un avenir meilleur, pas un passé aveuglant. Pour tous. Kamel Daoud
Il faut garder à l’autodafé ses racines : jugement, inquisition, acte de foi, pénitence publique, exécutions d’hérétiques. Il faut encore une fois le rappeler pour alerter des esprits : on ne brûle pas de livres, on ne censure pas des œuvres, on ne déboulonne pas des statues uniquement parce qu’on a raison, mais parce qu’on le croit absolument. Ce qui suffit pour se tromper avec enthousiasme et inaugurer de nouveaux tribunaux d’opinion. Car, avec le grand élan de l’antiracisme, l’autodafé est de retour. On l’a connu, il y a quelques décennies, d’abord sous forme d’un fascisme (ou totalitarisme) qui brûle des livres, puis un demi-siècle après sous celle d’un livre (sacré) qui brûle le monde, aujourd’hui il se fait au nom d’une cause juste avec quelques effets mauvais : celle de la lutte contre le racisme dont certains profitent pour revisiter la littérature et les représentations, mais avec des torches incendiaires et pas avec des consciences calmes. Le chroniqueur est de ceux qui croient que le racisme est un crime et qu’au crime il faut réparation et justice. Mais il croit aussi, pour l’avoir vécu chez lui et pour le subir encore sous forme de meutes idéologiques adverses, qu’on se trompe en imaginant que construire l’avenir, c’est déboulonner les statues du passé et les remplacer par les siennes. Un révisionnisme « culturel » au nom de la lutte antiraciste est dangereux. Il ouvre la voie à des radicalités et pousse à juger les vivants pour le crime des morts, il nourrit du coup une radicalité adverse, mue par la peur. Le déboulonnage des statues, sous les hourras des foules, n’est jamais un moment de sérénité, mais de danger : on sait souvent où il mène. Et pour être un homme du « sud », né entre les enthousiasmes détournés pour les indépendances et l’esprit « décolonial » permanent, il sait de quoi on peut fabriquer des conforts et des facilités puis des féodalités. Autant de raisons qui font qu’aujourd’hui le révisionnisme culturel, l’autodafé des héritages parfois ambigus des siècles passés, l’effet de foule et les contre-inquisitions par l’épiderme provoquent un malaise. Il s’agit pourtant d’illusions à combattre. Celles qui font croire que parce qu’on a une couleur de peau, on est nanti d’une supériorité ou parce qu’on en a une autre, celle de la victime, on est excusé de tout tort et investi d’une grande mission révolutionnaire. Le déboulonnage est un moment d’illusion. Il fait croire qu’en abattant des pierres on est dispensé d’un travail commun sur la mémoire, d’un retour apaisé sur les erreurs monstrueuses du passé. Il fait croire qu’il s’agit d’un acte meilleur que celui de brûler une voiture alors qu’il procède de la même myopie juvénile. Le déboulonnage et l’autodafé sont toujours un fourvoiement : ils perpétuent l’idée que la lecture du passé ne peut se faire que selon la force. On ne sort pas du cycle. Et on ne peut le réussir que par une pédagogie de la mémoire. Le débat sur le racisme est vital. Mais il sera vite rattrapé par les castes et les haines sélectives s’il se limite au procès de l’Occident. Car, à dénoncer aussi le racisme dans le « sud » et à souhaiter un débat sur les histoires locales de l’esclavage, on est vite accusé de vouloir diluer le crime de l’Occident et de participer à l’excuser. Et on se retrouve avec des slogans qui veulent la fin de l’Occident où l’on vit et où, au moins, on rêve de vivre. (…) déboulonner n’est pas construire, censurer n’est pas relire, lutter contre le racisme n’est pas lutter contre l’Occident. Car ce lieu, s’il est coupable de crimes, est aussi l’espace où l’on peut crier sa colère ou transformer ses visions d’avenirs. Il reste l’espace d’une démocratie à parfaire et non à détruire. Car ailleurs, osons le dire, le racisme « n’existe pas », il faut vivre un tant soit peu en démocratie pour pouvoir le dénoncer. Ne l’oublions pas. Il s’agit de construire un monde (meilleur), pas une fin du monde. Kamel Daoud
The 1619 project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. 1619 Project (2019)
The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. 1619 Project (2020)
1619. It is not a year that most Americans know as a notable date in our country’s history. Those who do are at most a tiny fraction of those who can tell you that 1776 is the year of our nation’s birth. What if, however, we were to tell you that this fact, which is taught in our schools and unanimously celebrated every Fourth of July, is wrong, and that the country’s true birth date, the moment that its defining contradictions first came into the world, was in late August of 1619? 1619 Project (2019)
1619 is not a year that most Americans know as a notable date in our country’s history. Those who do are at most a tiny fraction of those who can tell you that 1776 is the year of our nation’s birth. What if, however, we were to tell you that the moment that the country’s defining contradictions first came into the world was in late August of 1619? 1619 Project (2020)
In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. 1619 Project (2019)
In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. 1619 Project (2020)
The history of the American Revolution isn’t the only thing the New York Times is revising through its 1619 Project. The “paper of record” has also taken to quietly altering the published text of the project itself after one of its claims came under intense criticism. (…) Throughout the controversy, the line about the year 1619 being “our true founding” continued to haunt the Times. This criticism did not aim to denigrate the project’s titular date or the associated events in the history of slavery. Rather, the passage came to symbolize the Times’s blurring of historical analysis with editorial hyperbole. The announced intention of reframing the country’s origin date struck many readers across the political spectrum as an implicit repudiation of the American revolution and its underlying principles. Rather than address this controversy directly, the Times—it now appears—decided to send it down the memory hole—the euphemized term for selectively editing inconvenient passages out of old newspaper reports in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Without announcement or correction, the newspaper quietly edited out the offending passage (…) Discovery of this edit came about earlier this week when Nikole Hannah-Jones went on CNN to deny that she had ever sought to displace 1776 with a new founding date of 1619. She repeated the point in a now-deleted tweet: “The #1619Project does not argue that 1619 was our true founding. We know this nation marks its founding at 1776.” It was not the first time that Hannah-Jones had tried to alter her self-depiction of the project’s aims on account of the controversial line. She attempted a similar revision a few months ago during an online spat with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. But this time the brazen rewriting of her own arguments proved too much. Hannah-Jones’s readers scoured her own Twitter feed and public statements over the previous year, unearthing multiple instances where she had in fact announced an intention to displace 1776 with 1619. The foremost piece of evidence against Hannah-Jones’s spin, of course, came from the opening passage of from the Times’s own website where it originally announced its aim “to reframe the country’s history” around the year “1619 as our true founding.” When readers returned to that website to cite the line however, they discovered to their surprise that it was no longer there. The Times quietly dropped the offending passage at some point during the intervening year, although multiple screencaps of the original exist. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine suggests the alteration came around late December 2019, when the 1619 Project was facing an onslaught of criticism over this exact point from several distinguished historians of the American founding. It wasn’t the only edit that the newspaper made to further conceal its previous denigration of 1776. Prompted by the discovery of the first deletion, Twitter users noticed another suspicious change to the project’s text. The print edition of the 1619 Project from August 2019 contained an introductory passage [in which an] additional reference to the 1619 origin point, underlined in the original print version, is no more. Whatever the exact occasion for the changes, the Times did not disclose its edits or how they obscured one of the most controversial claims in the entire 1619 Project. They simply made the problematic passages disappear, hoping that nobody would notice. Phillip W. Magness
As many of you know, my name is Lilith Sinclair. I’m an Afro-indigenous, non-binary local organizer here in Portland, organizing for the abolition of not just the militarized police state, but also the United states as we know it. Lilith Sinclair
Someone from a country that calls itself Ecuador may not be in a very strong position to object to the appropriation of geography in the cause of national identity. John Ryle
J’emploie ici le mot américain au sens « noble ». Animateur de Radio-Canada
Some people would restrict the use of the word « American » to indicate any inhabitant of the Americas (which Europeans tend to consider a single continent, called « America ») rather than specifically a citizen of the United States; and perceive the latter usage of « American » to be potentially ambiguous, and perhaps aggressive in tone or imperialistic, a rather widespread view in Latin America. However, many in the US assert that the word « America » in « United States of America » denotes the country’s proper name, and is not a geographical indicator. They argue that the interpretation of United States of America to mean a country named United States located in the continent of America is mistaken. Instead, they argue that the preposition of is equivalent to the of in Federative Republic of Brazil, Commonwealth of Australia, Federal Republic of Germany. That is, the of indicates the name of the state. In addition, other countries use « United » or « States » in their names as well. Indeed, the formal name of Mexico is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, currently officially translated as « United Mexican States » but in the past translated as « United States of Mexico ». Regardless, many question a nation’s right to formally appropriate the name of a continent for itself, citing the fact that America existed long before the United States of America. Indeed, Amerigo Vespucci (who travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean basin) never set foot on present US territory One counter-argument is that the United States of America is the first sovereign American state to arise from the European colonies, and therefore is perfectly entitled to lay claim to this name for itself, although the appropriation of a continental name by a single country has no historical precedent. The rebellious colonies perceived themselves, in their quest for independence, as moral representatives of all the colonized European inhabitants of the continent. This view is evident in the name of the colonial allied government, the Continental Congress. Another counter-argument is that it is not particularly unusual for a nation or organization to name itself after a geographical feature, even one that it does not uniquely occupy. Ecuador is the Spanish word for the equator, which runs through the country of Ecuador, athough other countries also lie on the equator. In addition, the United States of America is not the only entity which shares a name with a larger entity, yet is considered more well-known than the larger entity. The City of New York lies within the State of New York. However, the term New Yorker is generally used to refer to a resident of New York City. Most proponents of the « US citizen = American » nomenclature have no problem with the simultaneous usage of « American » as an adjective for all inhabitants of the Americas, and make the distinction between the demonym for a country and the demonym for a continent (or continents). They argue that there is no reason the two cannot share the term if it is used in distinct but equally legitimate contexts. In other cases, the motivation is not so much political as it is academic, to avoid a perceived ambiguity. For instance, in legal circles a citizen of the United States is usually referred to as a ‘U.S. citizen’, not an ‘American citizen’, which could arguably apply to citizens of other American nation states as well. Wikipedia
As many people from the various nations throughout the New World consider themselves to be « Americans », some people think the common usage of « American » to refer to only people from the U.S. should be avoided in international contexts where it might be ambiguous. Many neologisms have been proposed to refer to the United States instead of « American ». However, they are virtually unused, and most commentators feel that it is unlikely that they will catch on. Encyclopedia
Il n’y a pas de plus grand monument à l’assujettissement colonial des peuples autochtones que le Mont Rushmore, et le projet du président de profaner davantage ce sol sacré avec des feux d’artifice et sa propre présence sans avoir été convié est un autre affront impardonnable. Il est temps de récupérer ou de démolir tous les monuments racistes. En tant que société, nous devons nous engager à respecter en permanence les populations marginalisées. Lakota People’s Law Project
Over the past month, I have been spellbound by the actions of activists determined to compel America to confront the ugliness of its past. The protests at the Emancipation Memorial, the removal of Teddy Roosevelt’s statue in New York, and now even the bold calls for rethinking Mount Rushmore on the site of Lakota land reveal that our country has more learning to do about what we choose to glorify. But last week, as many celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling that Oklahoma—almost half of it at least—belongs to the jurisdiction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, I have also been thinking about the relics of our past that are so ingrained in our present that we misremember our history. One such relic is the names of the very places in which we live. (…) On July 3, in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore, President Trump said, “As we meet here tonight there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for.” He then doubled down, saying, “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.” Children are being indoctrinated, but not in the way Trump suggests. Instead, they are being fed an uncomplex version of history—one that minimizes the experiences of those on the margins to turn white men who did evil things into heroes. The name Bixby had become so common in my area that we didn’t think about where it came from. That’s why we tear down, rename and rethink. We do it to tell the whole story, not just the parts that make us feel good. Perhaps we need to do this not just for statues and monuments and schools and sports teams but for cities and counties too. Perhaps we should begin again with the full weight of history upon which we stand. (…) People who marginalized and oppressed didn’t just affect those who lived at the time–Bixby’s actions, along with so many others’, caused the Creek Nation to lose the jurisdictional power they just, in part, won back–and the places that bear their names should no longer remain without scrutiny. History demands that we remember all of it or it isn’t true history at all. Caleb Gayle
[L’appellation américain] n’est pas non plus confondante. Lorsqu’on parle des Américains, on sait bien qu’il ne s’agit pas des Canadiens ou des Mexicains. Le français dispose d’ailleurs du terme Nord-Américain, qui englobe tous les habitants de l’Amérique du Nord, et du terme Sud-Américain, qui désigne ceux de l’Amérique du Sud. Paul Roux
Plusieurs ont remarqué que le mot a repris du poil de la bête depuis l’an 2000. Certains pensent qu’il est revenu dans la foulée du 11-Septembre; c’est une possibilité. Il y a six ou sept ans, il était à peine employé. Si Robert Solé a pris la peine d’en parler dans une chronique de langue du Monde le 10 novembre 2003, pour dire que « le terme ne passe pas », c’est que le mot commençait à se rencontrer plus souvent tout en restant assez discret. Si on traçait un graphique de son emploi depuis le début, on verrait le terme monter, atteindre un plateau, descendre un peu plus tard, puis remonter tranquillement après une longue absence. On peut se demander s’il ne connaît pas un regain passager, avant de retomber à nouveau hors d’usage. Bien des facteurs entrent en jeu. Il y a notamment le contraste entre l’usage québécois et l’usage français, et aussi celui entre les grands médias et les sources plus marquées politiquement, notamment sur le Web. (…) Et le mot revient souvent sous la plume des mêmes journalistes. À la Presse, Joneed Khan s’en est fait le champion. Il parle du président états-unien, du Congrès états-unien, du retrait états-unien d’Irak, du projet états-unien de Zone de libre-échange des Amériques. Il est frappant de voir que même lui n’a pas renoncé à américain : il a mentionné le Congrès américain en juillet dernier et le secrétaire d’État américain le 13 septembre. Moments d’inattention? Dans les grandes encyclopédies électroniques comme l’Universalis ou Encarta, les occurrences se comptent sur les doigts de la main. Wikipédia renferme quelque deux mille états-unien, par exemple il est question de la « guerre de sécession états-unienne » à l’article sur le film Le bon, la brute et le truand. Mais ces états-unien font face à cent mille américain. En outre, un bon nombre d’entre eux viennent de pages où les collaborateurs poursuivent justement des discussions, parfois musclées, sur l’opportunité d’accepter le mot dans l’encyclopédie. C’est un peu la cour du roi Pétaud dans cette merveilleuse encyclopédie, mais il n’est pas du tout sûr que le mot s’y imposera. C’est véritablement dans les médias et les sites contestataires ou militants qu’états-unien fleurit. Le réseau Voltaire, « réseau de presse non alignée », est exemplaire à cet égard : les rédacteurs l’emploient deux fois plus souvent qu’américain. On le rencontre souvent sur le site des « Amis de la Terre », groupe de défense de l’environnement, et sur « Grand Soir », « un journal alternatif d’information militante ». Mais américain reste quand même plus fréquent : on continue de parler des élections américaines, on n’en est pas encore aux élections états-uniennes. Il ne fait pas de doute que le mot est marqué à gauche sur l’échiquier politique. Il suffit pour s’en convaincre de jeter un coup d’oeil sur le journal communiste français L’Humanité : 118 occurrences d’états-unien en 2007, un net contraste avec le reste de la presse française. Mais la pente n’est pas à pic là non plus : 127 occurrences en 2005, 105 en 2006 – contre des milliers d’américain. On s’attendrait à le rencontrer souvent dans les pages de publications comme Courrier international, mais l’une des rares occurrences que j’y ai trouvées apparaissait dans un article reproduit du Devoir! Je note enfin qu’un wikipédiste a affirmé que le mot figurait dans certains manuels scolaires de géographie. On peut résumer la situation comme suit. Dans la presse en général, le terme s’est mis à grimper des deux côtés de l’Atlantique il y a quelques années, pour atteindre assez vite un plateau. Il semble avoir déjà amorcé sa descente en France. Il reste plus fréquent chez nous, mais il serait exagéré de dire qu’il a le vent dans les voiles. Pour le reste, l’usage est assez circonscrit. En fait, l’avenir du terme dépendra en grande partie de l’influence qu’exerceront des sites comme ceux que j’ai mentionnés, et ils ne sont pas négligeables, ainsi que de la détermination des blogueurs et autres internautes à l’employer. Il faut avouer que cinquante ans d’allées et venues dans les dictionnaires et une fréquence encore relativement faible dans l’usage lui donnent un peu l’air d’un néologisme attardé. Mais qui sait, peut-être que la diffusion de l’article du New York Times et le blogue du Monde lui donneront un nouvel élan. Avec Internet les choses peuvent changer vite. Il faudrait quand même toute une rééducation pour en généraliser l’emploi. Pensons à tout ce qu’il faudrait rebaptiser. Ne dites pas : la guerre américano-mexicaine, dites : la guerre mexicano-états-unienne. Ne dites pas : la révolution américaine, les relations canado-américaines, le vin américain, etc. Dites : l’armée états-unienne, les Noirs états-uniens, Je me suis acheté une voiture états-unienne. Et n’oublions pas les cinquante États états-uniens. Nul ne contestera que la logique plaide pour états-unien. Mais en face il y a l’histoire, l’usage, la langue, l’euphonie, les habitudes. C’est beaucoup. Pour être efficace, il faudrait en même temps intensifier l’emploi géographiquement correct d’américain, ce qui ferait surgir l’ambiguïté de partout. Remarquons que les États-Uniens continueraient d’être des Américains – comme nous! Combien parmi nous sont prêts à se définir comme « Américains »? On peut prédire une certaine résistance. De plus, s’il y a un brin d’anti-américanisme dans la promotion d’états-unien, forcément il sera lui aussi péjoratif. C’est comme si on remettait chaque fois sous le nez des Américains la carte du continent. Plusieurs ont rappelé qu’il serait abusif d’accuser ces derniers de s’être appelés ainsi à cause de prétentions hégémoniques. Comme le rappelle le Grand dictionnaire terminologique de l’OQLF, ils ont formé leur gentilé à partir du nom de leur pays, États-Unis d’Amérique, de la même manière que, plus tard, les Mexicains à partir d’États-Unis du Mexique. Il faut revenir au point de départ et se demander où est le problème. Nous arrive-t-il souvent de rester perplexes parce que le mot américain devant nos yeux est ambigu? Prend-on les Canadiens pour des habitants des États-Unis? Paul Roux a répondu à la question dans son blogue « Les amoureux du français » sur le site de la Presse le 9 novembre 2006 : (…) « Lorsqu’on parle des Américains, on sait bien qu’il ne s’agit pas des Canadiens ou des Mexicains. Le français dispose d’ailleurs du terme Nord-Américain, qui englobe tous les habitants de l’Amérique du Nord, et du terme Sud-Américain, qui désigne ceux de l’Amérique du Sud. » Les Américains en ont attrapé eux-mêmes un complexe et ont cherché d’autres noms. (…) Quelques exemples des termes qui ont été proposés au fil du temps : Usian, Usanian, USAian, Usonian, Columbard, Fredonian, United Statesian, Colonican, U-S-ian, USAn, etc. Du côté espagnol, la situation est bien différente. Le Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas de la Real Academia Española, qui recueille l’usage de l’ensemble des pays hispanophones, recommande d’employer estadounidense, et non americano, pour désigner nos voisins du Sud. Dans son Diccionario de la Lengua Española, l’académie précise que estadounidense veut dire « Natural de los Estados Unidos de América », tandis que americano est défini comme « Natural de América ». Mais il est normal que le monde hispanophone et les Latino-Américains en particulier soient plus sensibles à l’emploi du mot americano. Estadounidense est aussi très euphonique. On m’a fait remarquer par ailleurs que l’agence de presse espagnole EFE, qui recommande aussi l’emploi de estadounidense dans son vade-mecum, incline à penser que norteamericano reste plus fréquent dans l’usage (« Norteamericanos es tal vez el más usado, si bien no es el más preciso »). Norteamericano? On dirait que, vu d’Europe ou d’Amérique latine, le Canada se retrouve toujours dans un angle mort. Jacques Desrosiers

Vous avez dit ‘étatsunien’ ?

A l’heure où après l’hystérie collective du virus chinois

Le psychodrame racialiste des Vies noires qui comptent …

Nos nouveaux iconoclastes et flagellants s’attaquent …

Quand ce n’est pas à leurs propres propagandistes

Non seulement à la police …

Mais, entre noms de rue et statues, à notre histoire

Quitte, quand c’est trop gros à l’instar du « quotidien de référence » américain, à supprimer discrètement des passages controversés de leur révisionnisme en espérant que personne ne remarque …

Et à présent à notre géographie

Retour sur ce nouveau tic de nos anti-américains …

Où, entre médias et universitaires, le dernier chic est le barbarisme « étatsunien » …

Nos voisins les « États-Uniens »
Jacques Desrosiers
L’Actualité langagière, volume 4, numéro 4
BTB
2007

Mon collègue André Racicot a discuté du mot états-unien dans sa chronique de L’Actualité terminologique il y a sept ans1. Il arrivait à la conclusion qu’il était trop tard pour renverser un usage solidement établi. Je ne suis pas plus optimiste que lui sur l’avenir de ce drôle de gentilé, mais il est intéressant de revenir sur la question, parce que le mot s’est gagné des partisans depuis l’an 2000, et que le débat a même fait surface l’été dernier dans rien de moins que le New York Times.

L’article du Times – plaisamment intitulé « There’s a Word for People Like You » – était une traduction maison d’un topo que venaient de faire paraître les deux correcteurs du journal Le Monde sur leur blogue « Langue sauce piquante2  ». Ils n’apportaient pas de solution au problème, si problème il y a, mais expliquaient aux lecteurs du Times qu’en français le mot américain désignait les habitants des États-Unis de façon maladroite – n’y a-t-il pas aussi sur le continent « américain » des Canadiens, des Mexicains, des Argentins…? – et qu’un concurrent, états-unien, avait pris place à ses côtés, sans vraiment annoncer sa mort, puisque américain avait une légitimité historique.

Il aurait été audacieux de proposer autre chose que la cohabitation. Leur topo leur avait d’ailleurs valu des volées de bois vert des nombreux internautes qui fréquentent leur site. Beaucoup y décelaient une marque d’anti-américanisme, certains voyaient même se pointer la « machine de guerre altermondialiste ». Difficile de nier qu’états-unien dissimule mal une certaine réserve à l’égard des États-Unis. Récemment un animateur de Radio-Canada précisait en posant une question à son invité au sujet des relations Québec-Mexique : « J’emploie ici le mot américain au sens « noble ». » Il évoquait le continent. Américain au sens courant est presque péjoratif aux yeux de certains. Les correcteurs du Monde s’étaient défendus en affirmant que « les Québécois et les autres francophones canadiens utilisent depuis bien avant la naissance du mouvement altermondialiste le terme « états-uniens » ». C’était beaucoup nous prêter.

Mais l’article avait le singulier mérite de rappeler que le mot a été inventé au Québec il y a une soixantaine d’années, sans donner de source. Sa fréquence a d’ailleurs été plus élevée de ce côté-ci de l’Atlantique. Ce n’est pas étonnant : nous sommes les premiers concernés. Gaston Dulong le fait d’ailleurs figurer dans son Dictionnaire des canadianismes publié chez Larousse, ainsi que Sinclair Robinson et Donald Smith dans le Dictionnaire du français canadien, bien qu’étrangement ces derniers le classent dans la langue « populaire et familière ».

Le mot a eu une présence erratique dans les dictionnaires français depuis quelques décennies. Il a fait une première apparition, sans trait d’union, dans le Grand Larousse encyclopédique en 1961. Pierre Gilbert le notait dans son Dictionnaire des mots nouveaux en 19713. Il en avait trouvé trois occurrences, dont l’une de 1955 dans Esprit, les deux autres des années soixante. Dupré en recommandait l’emploi en 1972 dans l’Encyclopédie du bon français, « lorsque américain serait absurde et ambigu, et qu’on ne peut employer « des États-Unis », par exemple lorsqu’il y a un autre complément par de : la politique états-unienne d’aide à l’Amérique latine ». On ne peut pas dire que cet avis ait provoqué une révolution. Pourquoi d’ailleurs ne pourrait-on dire : la politique d’aide des États-Unis à l’Amérique latine?

Il est absent du Grand dictionnaire encyclopédique Larousse (le GDEL) publié en 1983, mais réapparaît en 1995 dans son successeur, le Grand Larousse universel. En 1985, la deuxième édition du Grand Robert le donnait encore comme rare. Aujourd’hui il figure à peu près partout, mais je note que le Petit Robert ne l’a pas gardé dans son édition de poche 2008.

Le Petit Robert le fait remonter à 1955. Il s’appuie sans doute sur la citation dénichée par Pierre Gilbert. Un traducteur du Bureau m’avait pourtant signalé que le mot avait été à la mode au Québec aux alentours de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Or dans une page d’archives reproduite par le Devoir en mai 2007, je suis tombé sur un article du 7 mai 1945 résumant une conférence d’André Laurendeau, qui déclarait dans un débat sur la langue :

« Vous auriez d’un côté une langue solidement assise, bien enracinée, parlée par huit millions de Canadiens et 140 millions d’États-Uniens, et comprise par trois millions et demi de Canadiens jadis d’expression française4… »

Un wikipédiste a trouvé une occurrence plus vieille encore, dans un article paru en 1942 dans la French Review, « La Vie Intellectuelle au Canada Français », sous la plume de Marine Leland :

« Le roman canadien-français ne peut se comparer, ni du point de vue de la qualité ni de celui de la quantité, à la poésie ou à l’histoire canadienne. Il ne peut se comparer non plus au roman états-unien5. »

Leland, une Franco-Américaine d’origine québécoise, était une éminente spécialiste des études canadiennes-françaises. D’après la page reproduite en fac-similé dans Internet, l’article avait d’abord paru dans Le Travailleur, un hebdo publié au Massachusetts. Le mot était donc connu des Franco-Américains, du moins dans les milieux intellectuels.

Mais la plus vieille référence est celle mentionnée par le Dictionnaire culturel en langue française, publié par les éditions Le Robert en 2005 sous la direction d’Alain Rey, qui a retracé états-unien dans un article d’André Laurendeau (encore lui!) paru en 1941, « L’Enseignement secondaire », sans préciser davantage la source. Il doit s’agir de L’Action nationale, dont Laurendeau était le directeur à l’époque.

Ces références montrent que le mot était en vogue dans les années 40. Pourtant, à ma connaissance, Bélisle ne le fera entrer dans son Dictionnaire général de la langue française au Canada qu’au moment de la deuxième édition en 1971, en le faisant précéder d’une petite fleur de lys pour indiquer que c’était un québécisme, avec l’exemple : la marine états-unienne. Son usage a sans doute été marginal, même pendant la guerre. Laurendeau lui-même était loin de l’employer systématiquement. Plus tard, dans un éditorial du Devoir du 16 mars 1955 portant sur les relations canado-américaines, il emploie exclusivement américain6. La vogue était passée, semble-t-il.

Plusieurs ont remarqué que le mot a repris du poil de la bête depuis l’an 2000. Certains pensent qu’il est revenu dans la foulée du 11-Septembre; c’est une possibilité. Il y a six ou sept ans, il était à peine employé. Si Robert Solé a pris la peine d’en parler dans une chronique de langue du Monde le 10 novembre 2003, pour dire que « le terme ne passe pas », c’est que le mot commençait à se rencontrer plus souvent tout en restant assez discret. Si on traçait un graphique de son emploi depuis le début, on verrait le terme monter, atteindre un plateau, descendre un peu plus tard, puis remonter tranquillement après une longue absence. On peut se demander s’il ne connaît pas un regain passager, avant de retomber à nouveau hors d’usage.

Bien des facteurs entrent en jeu. Il y a notamment le contraste entre l’usage québécois et l’usage français, et aussi celui entre les grands médias et les sources plus marquées politiquement, notamment sur le Web.

Prenons l’usage français. Pour le Monde, les moteurs de recherche relèvent dans les cinq dernières années une vingtaine d’articles où apparaît le terme (en tenant compte du féminin et du pluriel). Ce n’est pas beaucoup. En 2007, de janvier à la fin octobre, on n’en trouve que quelques-uns. Quand on restreint le domaine à lemonde.fr et à l’année écoulée, Google recense une centaine de pages, mais en regardant de près on verra que presque toutes les occurrences viennent de blogues ou de réactions d’abonnés à des articles, et non des journalistes maison. Dans les archives de L’Express, une dizaine en tout, et en 2007 deux seulement. Et tout comme dans le Monde, ces occurrences isolées sont écrasées par un millier d’américain. Tout se passe comme si, en France, états-unien avait essayé de se tailler une place dans les années 2002 à 2006, mais qu’il était déjà sur une pente descendante.

Du côté québécois, la fréquence est plus élevée, mais encore modeste toutes proportions gardées. Dans la Presse, le terme revient dans 200 articles de janvier à octobre 2007. Le chiffre est constant depuis quelques années. Dans le Devoir, si l’on interroge le moteur de recherche du site, on passe de quelques articles par année avant l’an 2000, à une soixantaine par année de 2001 à 2004, puis à une centaine de 2005 à 2007. J’ai noté plus précisément : 90 de janvier à octobre 2005, 90 de janvier à octobre 2006, et 105 de janvier à octobre 2007. Ce n’est pas une montée vertigineuse. De plus, il faut mettre ces chiffres en perspective : dans le cas de la Presse, américain apparaît dans plus de 20 000 articles par année. L’autre ne lui fait pas beaucoup d’ombre.

Et le mot revient souvent sous la plume des mêmes journalistes. À la Presse, Joneed Khan s’en est fait le champion. Il parle du président états-unien, du Congrès états-unien, du retrait états-unien d’Irak, du projet états-unien de Zone de libre-échange des Amériques. Il est frappant de voir que même lui n’a pas renoncé à américain : il a mentionné le Congrès américain en juillet dernier et le secrétaire d’État américain le 13 septembre. Moments d’inattention?

Dans les grandes encyclopédies électroniques comme l’Universalis ou Encarta, les occurrences se comptent sur les doigts de la main. Wikipédia renferme quelque deux mille états-unien, par exemple il est question de la « guerre de sécession états-unienne » à l’article sur le film Le bon, la brute et le truand. Mais ces états-unien font face à cent mille américain. En outre, un bon nombre d’entre eux viennent de pages où les collaborateurs poursuivent justement des discussions, parfois musclées, sur l’opportunité d’accepter le mot dans l’encyclopédie. C’est un peu la cour du roi Pétaud dans cette merveilleuse encyclopédie, mais il n’est pas du tout sûr que le mot s’y imposera.

C’est véritablement dans les médias et les sites contestataires ou militants qu’états-unien fleurit. Le réseau Voltaire, « réseau de presse non alignée », est exemplaire à cet égard : les rédacteurs l’emploient deux fois plus souvent qu’américain7. On le rencontre souvent sur le site des « Amis de la Terre », groupe de défense de l’environnement, et sur « Grand Soir », « un journal alternatif d’information militante ». Mais américain reste quand même plus fréquent : on continue de parler des élections américaines, on n’en est pas encore aux élections états-uniennes8.

Il ne fait pas de doute que le mot est marqué à gauche sur l’échiquier politique. Il suffit pour s’en convaincre de jeter un coup d’oeil sur le journal communiste français L’Humanité : 118 occurrences d’états-unien en 2007, un net contraste avec le reste de la presse française. Mais la pente n’est pas à pic là non plus : 127 occurrences en 2005, 105 en 2006 – contre des milliers d’américain9. On s’attendrait à le rencontrer souvent dans les pages de publications comme Courrier international, mais l’une des rares occurrences que j’y ai trouvées apparaissait dans un article reproduit du Devoir10!

Je note enfin qu’un wikipédiste a affirmé que le mot figurait dans certains manuels scolaires de géographie.

On peut résumer la situation comme suit. Dans la presse en général, le terme s’est mis à grimper des deux côtés de l’Atlantique il y a quelques années, pour atteindre assez vite un plateau. Il semble avoir déjà amorcé sa descente en France. Il reste plus fréquent chez nous, mais il serait exagéré de dire qu’il a le vent dans les voiles. Pour le reste, l’usage est assez circonscrit. En fait, l’avenir du terme dépendra en grande partie de l’influence qu’exerceront des sites comme ceux que j’ai mentionnés, et ils ne sont pas négligeables, ainsi que de la détermination des blogueurs et autres internautes à l’employer. Il faut avouer que cinquante ans d’allées et venues dans les dictionnaires et une fréquence encore relativement faible dans l’usage lui donnent un peu l’air d’un néologisme attardé. Mais qui sait, peut-être que la diffusion de l’article du New York Times et le blogue du Monde lui donneront un nouvel élan. Avec Internet les choses peuvent changer vite.

Il faudrait quand même toute une rééducation pour en généraliser l’emploi. Pensons à tout ce qu’il faudrait rebaptiser. Ne dites pas : la guerre américano-mexicaine, dites : la guerre mexicano-états-unienne. Ne dites pas : la révolution américaine, les relations canado-américaines, le vin américain, etc. Dites : l’armée états-unienne, les Noirs états-uniens, Je me suis acheté une voiture états-unienne. Et n’oublions pas les cinquante États états-uniens.

Nul ne contestera que la logique plaide pour états-unien. Mais en face il y a l’histoire, l’usage, la langue, l’euphonie, les habitudes. C’est beaucoup. Pour être efficace, il faudrait en même temps intensifier l’emploi géographiquement correct d’américain, ce qui ferait surgir l’ambiguïté de partout. Remarquons que les États-Uniens continueraient d’être des Américains – comme nous! Combien parmi nous sont prêts à se définir comme « Américains »? On peut prédire une certaine résistance. De plus, s’il y a un brin d’anti-américanisme dans la promotion d’états-unien, forcément il sera lui aussi péjoratif. C’est comme si on remettait chaque fois sous le nez des Américains la carte du continent.

Plusieurs ont rappelé qu’il serait abusif d’accuser ces derniers de s’être appelés ainsi à cause de prétentions hégémoniques. Comme le rappelle le Grand dictionnaire terminologique de l’OQLF, ils ont formé leur gentilé à partir du nom de leur pays, États-Unis d’Amérique, de la même manière que, plus tard, les Mexicains à partir d’États-Unis du Mexique.

Il faut revenir au point de départ et se demander où est le problème. Nous arrive-t-il souvent de rester perplexes parce que le mot américain devant nos yeux est ambigu? Prend-on les Canadiens pour des habitants des États-Unis? Paul Roux a répondu à la question dans son blogue « Les amoureux du français » sur le site de la Presse le 9 novembre 2006 :

« [l’appellation américain] n’est pas non plus confondante. Lorsqu’on parle des Américains, on sait bien qu’il ne s’agit pas des Canadiens ou des Mexicains. Le français dispose d’ailleurs du terme Nord-Américain, qui englobe tous les habitants de l’Amérique du Nord, et du terme Sud-Américain, qui désigne ceux de l’Amérique du Sud. »

Les Américains en ont attrapé eux-mêmes un complexe et ont cherché d’autres noms. L’Encyclopedia4u.com résume ainsi le problème :

« As many people from the various nations throughout the New World consider themselves to be « Americans », some people think the common usage of « American » to refer to only people from the U.S. should be avoided in international contexts where it might be ambiguous. Many neologisms have been proposed to refer to the United States instead of « American ». However, they are virtually unused, and most commentators feel that it is unlikely that they will catch on. »

Quelques exemples des termes qui ont été proposés au fil du temps : Usian, Usanian, USAian, Usonian, Columbard, Fredonian, United Statesian, Colonican, U-S-ian, USAn, etc.

Du côté espagnol, la situation est bien différente. Le Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas de la Real Academia Española, qui recueille l’usage de l’ensemble des pays hispanophones, recommande d’employer estadounidense, et non americano, pour désigner nos voisins du Sud. Dans son Diccionario de la Lengua Española, l’académie précise que estadounidense veut dire « Natural de los Estados Unidos de América », tandis que americano est défini comme « Natural de América ». Mais il est normal que le monde hispanophone et les Latino-Américains en particulier soient plus sensibles à l’emploi du mot americano. Estadounidense est aussi très euphonique. On m’a fait remarquer par ailleurs que l’agence de presse espagnole EFE, qui recommande aussi l’emploi de estadounidense dans son vade-mecum, incline à penser que norteamericano reste plus fréquent dans l’usage (« Norteamericanos es tal vez el más usado, si bien no es el más preciso11 »). Norteamericano? On dirait que, vu d’Europe ou d’Amérique latine, le Canada se retrouve toujours dans un angle mort12.

NOTES

REMARQUE

Après la date de tombée de cet article, j’ai relevé sur le site de L’Action nationale, qui reproduit maintenant le contenu complet de ses numéros depuis 1933, une occurrence d’états-unien dans un article d’octobre 1934, « La radio », signé par Arthur Laurendeau. Un article de 1936 attribue la paternité du mot à Paul Dumas, membre du mouvement Jeune-Canada. Le mot revient dans une soixantaine d’articles de 1934 à 1945. Ensuite il apparaît de façon plus éparse. – J. D.

Voir aussi:

Etats-Uniens

Langue sauce piquante

Le blog des correcteurs du Monde

Le continent américain est vaste, et il est tout de même étrange de faire d’un pays un continent, répondions-nous à un lecteur abonné et étonné de lire dans la lettre matinale du Monde.fr (baptisée « Check-List ») le terme « Etats-Uniens » pour désigner les habitants… des Etats-Unis. Et nous ajoutions : « Il ne faut pas voir dans le choix de ce terme la patte de l’altermondialisme ou une marque d’anti-américanisme. Car parler des ‘Américains’ pour désigner les seuls habitants des Etats-Unis, cela ne fait-il pas aussi Grand Satan ? » Martine Jacot, journaliste au Monde et ancienne correspondante du journal à Montréal, rappelle que « les Québécois et autres francophones canadiens utilisent depuis bien avant la naissance du mouvement altermondialiste le terme ‘états-uniens’ ». Si l’on persiste à appeler « Américains » les Etats-Uniens, il faudra alors faire de même pour les Mexicains par exemple, puisque géographiquement parlant, le Mexique fait partie de l’Amérique… du Nord.

Reconnaissons qu’ »Etats-Uniens » a contre lui la coalition de deux mots renforcés par une div’, un combat inégal avec la puissance toute nue du Ricain.

Voir également:

Canada. “Anglos” et “francos”, compatriotes malgré tout

Josée Blanchette
Le Devoir – Montréal
02/03/2005

Chaque samedi, une chaîne anglophone diffuse une émission sur le Québec présentée par une chanteuse à la mode. L’occasion pour une chroniqueuse du Devoir de s’interroger avec humour sur l’identité canadienne

Pauvre Mitsou. Une partie des médias s’acharne sur son cas parce qu’elle représentera tout le Canada français le samedi soir sur la CBC [télévision publique canadienne anglophone]. L’émission [destinée à présenter l’actualité du Québec aux anglophones] s’intitule Au Courant…
et la moitié du bottin de l’Union des artistes a été sollicitée pour animer cette vitrine de nos mœurs et de notre culture à l’intention du ROC (rest of Canada).
Allez comprendre quelque chose aux “anglos”. Ils éprouvent un je-ne-sais-quoi devant les avantages de Mitsou. Why not, coconut ? She’s so French ! A mon avis, il faut tirer parti de cet émoi visuel et simplement aiguiller l’aiguillon en aidant Mitsou à mieux représenter les “francos” du Canada. Elle est charmante, son sourire ferait craquer la Joconde, elle va faire grimper les cotes d’écoute et c’est ce qu’on attend d’une émission, même plate. Comme animatrice, elle s’inscrit parfaitement dans la tendance télévisuelle des émissions d’information : format sexy et contenu mou. De la part d’un pays qui subventionne les danseuses roumaines, donne sa bénédiction au mariage homosexuel et paie des pushers [revendeurs] de marijuana à des fins médicales, il ne faut pas s’attendre à beaucoup plus de sérieux.
Mitsou devra d’abord apprendre à connaître ceux à qui elle s’adresse, l’autre solitude [“les deux solitudes” est l’expression consacrée pour désigner les francos et les anglos au Canada], et s’abonner à Canadian Geographic. Les Canadiens du ROC sont aussi différents de Terre-Neuve à Vancouver qu’un Gaspésien peut l’être d’un Cayen. L’ancien Premier ministre Mackenzie King disait que certains pays avaient trop d’histoire et que le Canada avait trop de géographie. Du moins, c’est un pays horizontal. En général, les Canadiens sont fiers de l’être et ne comprennent pas l’indifférence, entretenue ou viscérale, à l’endroit de l’unifolié [le drapeau national, avec sa feuille d’érable].
Un journaliste de la CBC m’a appelée “from Toronto” l’autre jour pour me demander de lui résumer de quelle façon je me sentais canadienne.
“Mais d’aucune façon ! Le programme des commandites [programme fédéral destiné à promouvoir le Canada auprès des Québécois, qui s’est terminé par un scandale] a été un échec, faut croire !
— Vous n’êtes pas fière de [l’astronaute] Julie Payette ? a-t-il insisté.
— J’espère que ses parents le sont. Pas moi. Je n’ai rien à voir là-dedans. D’ailleurs, je n’ai rien à voir dans le fait que mes propres parents aient baisé au Canada plutôt qu’au Tibet pour me concevoir.”

Six fuseaux horaires multiculturels

Les Canadiens ont bien des marottes, dont celle de visiter leur pays et de traverser ses six fuseaux horaires en entier, a mari usque ad mare [de la mer à la mer]. Ils ne le feront probablement jamais, mais c’est une façon de montrer qu’ils tiennent très fort à leur peu d’attachement les uns pour les autres. Ça, je l’ai puisé dans mon guide de voyage préféré en terre canadienne : Xenophobe’s Guide to the Canadians. La mosaïque culturelle qui nous tient lieu de pays y est dépeinte avec beaucoup d’éloquence.
On y apprend que nos obsessions nationales sont le hockey et la feuille d’érable (que bien des Etats-Uniens épinglent sur leur sac à dos lorsqu’ils voyagent), que les maisons canadiennes sont équipées de deux portes d’entrée, voire d’une troisième qui ferme le vestibule, et que les Canadiens sont extrêmement polis. On a même retrouvé une femme Alzheimer errant à Los Angeles. Les policiers ont déduit qu’elle était canadienne parce qu’elle s’excusait lorsqu’on lui marchait sur les pieds.
On ajoute aussi que le ROC a peur de perdre le Québec à cause de toutes ces années à bûcher pour apprendre le français. Oh yeah ? Call me stupid ! Et, plus que tout, les Canadiens ne sont pas des Etats-Uniens, même si 90 % de la population vit à moins de 300 kilomètres de la frontière. [Le Premier ministre] Paul Martin est un béni-oui-oui qui couche avec un éléphant [le symbole des républicains américains], c’est tout. En raison de son multiculturalisme, la devise du Canada est : “Take the best, leave the rest” [Prenons le meilleur, laissons le reste].
Quelques sujets qui plairont aux anglos :
– La poutine [plat typique composé de frites, de sauce brune et de cheddar] au foie gras du restaurant Au pied de cochon. Même la poutine peut être snob et le foie gras prolo.
– Comment traverser un passage piétonnier sans se faire tuer à Montréal. “Vive la différence !” – Notre cidre de glace, qui figure même sur la carte des vins du George V à Paris. Those crazy French !
– Référendum : la seule fois que les Québécois ont voté oui, c’était en 1919, pour savoir si la prohibition devait prendre fin. La seule fois qu’ils étaient sobres pour y répondre, aussi…
– Le Québec, dernier cendrier du Canada. Notre attachement viscéral au mégot et à la fumée secondaire.
– L’avortement, en hausse constante au Québec : 30 000 l’an dernier (contre 73 000 naissances). Notre mort la plus certaine et notre peu d’enthousiasme à nous reproduire au Canada.

Voir de même:

The trouble with Americans
John Ryle
The Guardian
7 September 1998

A reader in Ecuador takes me to task for my use of the word ‘American’. Why, asks Lincoln Reyes, is it routine to use this word, without qualification, as a synonym for ‘citizen of the United States’ when the majority of Americans, properly speaking, are not from there, but from other countries in North, South or Central America? If you are a Latin American like him, he says, it is galling to be consistently written out of the geography of the continent that gave you birth. No wonder people regard the US as imperialist, when it appropriates the entire hemisphere for its own exclusive domain name. How do I think it feels to be Mexican, Chilean or Canadian, confronted every day with such linguistic chauvinism? What I think is that Mexicans and Canadians have got used to it. They’ve had to. It is not impossible to change the name of a country. (Where, we may ask, are the Zaires of yesteryear?) But renaming the most powerful country in the world is not on the agenda. When Osama bin Laden declares war on ‘America’, we know he does not include Ecuador or Mexico. The usage is worldwide and unlikely to change. This column, though, has never been one to turn its back on lost causes. So let us ask why it is that, in an age of political correctness, of sedulous public avoidance of terms that can cause offence to nations and ethnic groups, America has been exempted from reproach? The US is the home of political correctness. What Lincoln Reyes is suggesting is that it take a dose of its own medicine. Does the US have some proprietorial claim on the name of the continent it occupies? Some kind of historical precedence? Not at all. Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian who almost certainly never set foot in North America. He did explore the coast of South America, however, and in the 16th century a German cartographer named the southern part of the continent after him; only later was the term extended to include the north. So the US calling itself ‘America’ is something like South Africa calling itself ‘Africa’, or the Federal Republic of Germany ‘Europa’. Even the phrase ‘United States’ is not the preserve of the authors of the US Constitution: Brazil’s official name is the United States of Brazil.

Luckily, since there’s no other claimant for the name ‘Brazil’, it is seldom used. Even Lincoln Reyes would permit the USA to call itself the United States. But there is a problem when it comes to US citizens. United Statespersons? Usanians? Hardly. If we are to follow the Reyes Rule we will have to refer to them as ‘people from’ or ‘citizens of’ the US. Both take up a lot of breath. Since we talk about the US so much, we need short words and synonyms to avoid monotony. And synecdoche to avoid redundancy: ‘Washington’ is used to stand for the US government and ‘America’ stands for the country itself – the whole represents the part. But it seems there is no figure of speech that can produce a concise and acceptable term in English for its inhabitants.

There’s a word in Spanish, estadounidense, but it is hard to get your tongue around. ‘Gringo’, of course, is the word most Spanish speakers use. But apart from its pejorative overtones, the word ‘gringo’ is not specific enough. Canadians are gringos; and you and I, if we are anglophone, are probably gringos too, whether we are white or black or brown.

Contrariwise, in some parts of South America ‘gringo’ is used for anyone, even a native, who is fair in colouring. What about ‘yanqui’? It is also pejorative, of course. And the word means something different and more specific within the US. The use of ‘yanqui’ in South America is a reversal, in fact, of the rhetorical move that enshrines ‘American’ as a synonym for US citizen. Where people in the US, in calling themselves Americans, have taken the whole for the part; Spanish speakers, in borrowing ‘yankee’ for a New Englander, and extending it to the whole of the United States, have used the part for the whole. The negative connotation of ‘yanqui’ in Spanish reflects the distaste for US hegemony that my Ecuadorian correspondent exemplifies. ‘Yankee’, its equivalent in British English, has a weird, jocular air. We haven’t used ‘yank’ for yonks. It belongs with ‘Old Blighty’ and ‘Johnny Foreigner’. If political correctness does not proscribe such terms, good taste surely does.

Let us, then, register Lincoln Reyes’s proposal. But someone from a country that calls itself Ecuador may not be in a very strong position to object to the appropriation of geography in the cause of national identity. There are other countries that lie on the Equator; any of them could claim the name for their own. I don’t suppose people in Equatorial Guinea are too upset about Ecuador’s bid for nominal rights over the noughth parallel, but if Lincoln Reyes is serious about curtailing US linguistic imperialism, he may have to look at changing the name of his own country as well.

Voir de plus:

Caleb Gayle
Time
July 13, 2020
Caleb Gayle is a writer and author of forthcoming book, Cow Tom’s Cabin (under contract with Riverhead Books), a narrative account of how many Black Native Americans, including Cow Tom’s descendants, were marginalized by white supremacy in America

When I was growing up in Tulsa, my teachers would move quickly from the Trail of Tears that began in the 1830s to the oil boom in Oklahoma of the first half of the 20th century. During the early 19th century, the state of Oklahoma became the destination for Native American Nations who were forcibly removed from the south and southeastern United States, but no one drew a straight line from the marginalization of Native Americans to white men’s accumulation of land on which they could profit. The way history was taught, I assumed that the devastation happened so many years ago that it wasn’t relevant. I even had one teacher mention that Native Americans were “standing in the way of progress.” I didn’t know that that teacher was echoing the sentiments of the namesake of the town, Bixby.

Over the past month, I have been spellbound by the actions of activists determined to compel America to confront the ugliness of its past. The protests at the Emancipation Memorial, the removal of Teddy Roosevelt’s statue in New York, and now even the bold calls for rethinking Mount Rushmore on the site of Lakota land reveal that our country has more learning to do about what we choose to glorify. But last week, as many celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling that Oklahoma—almost half of it at least—belongs to the jurisdiction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, I have also been thinking about the relics of our past that are so ingrained in our present that we misremember our history. One such relic is the names of the very places in which we live.

Tams Bixby, a Minnesotan, became chairman of something called the Dawes Commission in 1903, as its founder Henry Dawes took ill. “Henry Dawes may have given the commission its name, but Tams Bixby defined its character and would serve as its leader during the critical period of enrollment and allotment, and he would make the daily decisions that affected the life and future of all of the people in Indian Territory,” Kent Canter wrote in the Dawes Commission And the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914.

The Dawes Commission was a government body designed to persuade the Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations (once called the Five Civilized Tribes) to abandon the communal land ownership system they had long used and to divide the land into allotments that would belong to individuals. In order to complete that process, the commission had to determine who belonged to each tribe, a question Dawes and then Bixby sought to answer using ancestral bloodlines. But, as Sandy Grande, director of the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity at Connecticut College, wrote in Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought, “Since there was no ‘scientific’ means of determining precise bloodlines, commission members often ascribed blood status based on their own racist notions of what it meant to be Indian—designating full-blood status to ‘poorly assimilated’ Indians and mixed blood status to those who most resembled whites.” The decisions, made by the commission and not by members of the tribe, determined who got which land, and still have ramifications for tribal membership today. Crucially, any land left over once the tribal territories were divided would be available for the U.S. government, and in turn to white settlers. This process would lead to these Nations losing more than 100 million acres of land—land they were promised would be theirs and theirs alone.

Until I started writing a book about the history of Black citizens of the Creek Nation, I did not know that the town of Bixby, on the outskirts of my childhood home, was named in honor of the man who led this devastating effort. My teachers never told me about him, likely because they weren’t given the chance to weigh the full measure of history either.

On July 3, in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore, President Trump said, “As we meet here tonight there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for.” He then doubled down, saying, “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”

Children are being indoctrinated, but not in the way Trump suggests. Instead, they are being fed an uncomplex version of history—one that minimizes the experiences of those on the margins to turn white men who did evil things into heroes. The name Bixby had become so common in my area that we didn’t think about where it came from. That’s why we tear down, rename and rethink. We do it to tell the whole story, not just the parts that make us feel good. Perhaps we need to do this not just for statues and monuments and schools and sports teams but for cities and counties too. Perhaps we should begin again with the full weight of history upon which we stand.

It’s not just Bixby, of course. In Oklahoma, Jackson County is named for Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, while Roger Mills County is named for Roger Q. Mills, a U.S. senator who served in the Confederate Army and had ties to the Ku Klux Klan. I’ve driven through both of them without even thinking about the origins of their names. Likewise, Stephens County, Texas, was named after Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States, and his boss, Jefferson Davis, has counties named in Texas, Georgia and Mississippi as well as a parish in Louisiana. People who marginalized and oppressed didn’t just affect those who lived at the time–Bixby’s actions, along with so many others’, caused the Creek Nation to lose the jurisdictional power they just, in part, won back–and the places that bear their names should no longer remain without scrutiny.

History demands that we remember all of it or it isn’t true history at all.

When I was growing up in Tulsa, my teachers would move quickly from the Trail of Tears that began in the 1830s to the oil boom in Oklahoma of the first half of the 20th century. During the early 19th century, the state of Oklahoma became the destination for Native American Nations who were forcibly removed from the south and southeastern United States, but no one drew a straight line from the marginalization of Native Americans to white men’s accumulation of land on which they could profit. The way history was taught, I assumed that the devastation happened so many years ago that it wasn’t relevant. I even had one teacher mention that Native Americans were “standing in the way of progress.” I didn’t know that that teacher was echoing the sentiments of the namesake of the town, Bixby.
Over the past month, I have been spellbound by the actions of activists determined to compel America to confront the ugliness of its past. The protests at the Emancipation Memorial, the removal of Teddy Roosevelt’s statue in New York, and now even the bold calls for rethinking Mount Rushmore on the site of Lakota land reveal that our country has more learning to do about what we choose to glorify. But last week, as many celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling that Oklahoma—almost half of it at least—belongs to the jurisdiction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, I have also been thinking about the relics of our past that are so ingrained in our present that we misremember our history. One such relic is the names of the very places in which we live.
Tams Bixby, a Minnesotan, became chairman of something called the Dawes Commission in 1903, as its founder Henry Dawes took ill. “Henry Dawes may have given the commission its name, but Tams Bixby defined its character and would serve as its leader during the critical period of enrollment and allotment, and he would make the daily decisions that affected the life and future of all of the people in Indian Territory,” Kent Canter wrote in the Dawes Commission And the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914.
The Dawes Commission was a government body designed to persuade the Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations (once called the Five Civilized Tribes) to abandon the communal land ownership system they had long used and to divide the land into allotments that would belong to individuals. In order to complete that process, the commission had to determine who belonged to each tribe, a question Dawes and then Bixby sought to answer using ancestral bloodlines. But, as Sandy Grande, director of the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity at Connecticut College, wrote in Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought, “Since there was no ‘scientific’ means of determining precise bloodlines, commission members often ascribed blood status based on their own racist notions of what it meant to be Indian—designating full-blood status to ‘poorly assimilated’ Indians and mixed blood status to those who most resembled whites.” The decisions, made by the commission and not by members of the tribe, determined who got which land, and still have ramifications for tribal membership today. Crucially, any land left over once the tribal territories were divided would be available for the U.S. government, and in turn to white settlers. This process would lead to these Nations losing more than 100 million acres of land—land they were promised would be theirs and theirs alone.
Until I started writing a book about the history of Black citizens of the Creek Nation, I did not know that the town of Bixby, on the outskirts of my childhood home, was named in honor of the man who led this devastating effort. My teachers never told me about him, likely because they weren’t given the chance to weigh the full measure of history either.
On July 3, in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore, President Trump said, “As we meet here tonight there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for.” He then doubled down, saying, “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”
Children are being indoctrinated, but not in the way Trump suggests. Instead, they are being fed an uncomplex version of history—one that minimizes the experiences of those on the margins to turn white men who did evil things into heroes. The name Bixby had become so common in my area that we didn’t think about where it came from. That’s why we tear down, rename and rethink. We do it to tell the whole story, not just the parts that make us feel good. Perhaps we need to do this not just for statues and monuments and schools and sports teams but for cities and counties too. Perhaps we should begin again with the full weight of history upon which we stand.
It’s not just Bixby, of course. In Oklahoma, Jackson County is named for Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, while Roger Mills County is named for Roger Q. Mills, a U.S. senator who served in the Confederate Army and had ties to the Ku Klux Klan. I’ve driven through both of them without even thinking about the origins of their names. Likewise, Stephens County, Texas, was named after Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States, and his boss, Jefferson Davis, has counties named in Texas, Georgia and Mississippi as well as a parish in Louisiana. People who marginalized and oppressed didn’t just affect those who lived at the time–Bixby’s actions, along with so many others’, caused the Creek Nation to lose the jurisdictional power they just, in part, won back–and the places that bear their names should no longer remain without scrutiny.
History demands that we remember all of it or it isn’t true history at all.

Voir encore:

There’s a Word for People Like You
Martine Rousseau and Olivier Houdart
The New York Times
July 6, 2007

Paris
WHAT is the proper term to refer to those of you who live in the United States of America? The word “American” is so deeply embedded in your nation’s identity that it may seem curious to you that there could be any discussion about it, but some people — in Latin America, for example — find it offensive, while others, including some in France, simply find it imprecise.

“Américain” (in French the ethnonym is capitalized, the adjective is lower case) is a word with many meanings, depending on context: “américains” applies to all Américains (from the United States), yet all Américains (from North and South America) are not necessarily américains.

That’s why “Américain,” which first appeared in French as early as the 16th century and is applicable to groups other than just the inhabitants of the United States (in contrast to Canadien, Mexicain, Argentin, etc.), has a certain unsatisfactory quality about it, and it would be preferable to find something more precise. The French do use certain diminutives — like “Ricains” (first attestation in 1918), “Amerlos” (1936) and “Amerloques” (1945) — that refer to only the United States, but the news media can’t use them; they aren’t necessarily hostile but they did take on a pejorative tinge during the cold war.

Helpfully, though, in Quebec about six decades ago the word États-Unien, derived from the French for United States, États-Unis, was born. Its spread was modest at first, but today it’s frequent in the news media, and there’s even a radio program here that uses it exclusively. In ordinary conversation, though, the French still say “Américains.” A recent occurrence of “États-Uniens” (though far from the first) on the Web site of our newspaper, Le Monde, provoked the ire of readers who saw anti-American and anti-globalist sentiment behind it.

When we published a note on our language blog defending the use of États-Uniens — the word is neither pretty nor musical, but it answers a certain need — we had an outpouring of responses. They ranged from absolute opposition to the word (because of its supposed anti-Americanism, its ugliness, its snobbishness, its sarcastic tone, its lack of usefulness for anyone but academics — and because it sounds like space aliens) to enthusiastic approval, notably as a counter to the “imperialist” appropriation of a whole continent by one country’s ethnonym.

Readers also suggested similar terms that they considered more melodic, like Usaniens or Usiens (following the example of the Greek word Usanos, derived from U.S.A., even though those initials are actually the equivalent of I.P.A. in that language).

One reader even declared, “The United States of America is the only country in the world that doesn’t have a name: the first two words define its political organization, the last the continent it sits on.” That doesn’t seem entirely fair: while the United States at least mentions a continent, the old Soviet Union had no geographic anchorage at all.

As for us, although we’d be delighted to be the founders of a new linguistic mandate, we find that Américain has historical legitimacy, while États-Unien, its challenger, solves a lexical problem — indeed, they complement each other and we should let the two of them cohabit. Besides, we can then prove wrong Pierre Bayle, the great French historian of the 17th century, who wrote that as in nature, “the birth of one word is usually the death of another.” Therefore we say, during the week of your national holiday, vive l’Américain — and l’États-Unien.

Voir par ailleurs:

« L’Occident est imparfait et à parfaire, il n’est pas à détruire »

L’antiracisme ne doit pas devenir « un acte de vandalisme », juge l’écrivain Kamel Daoud dans une tribune au « Monde ». A vouloir juger l’Occident coupable de tout, on risque de donner naissance à une « barbarie de revanche ».

Kamel Daoud

Le Monde

22 juin 2020

Tribune. Faut-il détruire l’Occident ? Le mettre à feu et à sang pour mieux le reconstruire ou mieux le piétiner dans ses ruines ? Cette géographie, qui participe autant de l’histoire que des imaginaires, partage les avis et divise les ardeurs des anti-tout qui y habitent. Entre ceux qui y craignent la fin du monde et ceux qui la veulent, ceux qui la fabriquent et ceux qui la redoutent. Collapsologues, écologistes messianiques, antiracistes radicaux, populistes, tiers-mondistes nostalgiques et populistes du victimaire, ardents de la « souche » et racialistes inversés : ils sont foule et la foule fait désormais effet d’armées.

On aura beau le nier et le relativiser, il y a déjà un instinct de mort dans les airs de la révolution totale imaginée par chacun. L’Occident étant coupable par définition selon certains, on se retrouve non dans la revendication du changement mais, peu à peu, dans celle de la destruction, la restauration d’une barbarie de revanche.

Un espace de liberté

Les raisons ? Elles sont diverses. La colère longtemps tue, la culpabilité chez les élites occidentales « de souche », la fin d’un sursis obscur donné aux démocraties traditionnelles, les populismes rageurs et les réseaux sociaux. Il ne faut jamais oublier qu’Internet a réveillé les foules comme le firent les imprimeries il y a des siècles, ou les papyrus il y a si longtemps. On ne change pas de moyens d’impression et de diffusion sans changer la manière de faire les révolutions ou de réveiller les foules. Les armuriers viennent après les écrans, pas avant, rappelons-le.

De fait, il y a comme une convergence des luttes pour la meilleure fin d’un monde : victimaires, antiracistes, mais aussi masochistes intellectuels et sceptiques professionnels, suprémacistes et défaitistes esthètes. Le vœu de changer l’Occident se retrouve contaminé, profondément, par celui de le voir mourir dans la souffrance. Et, dans l’élan, on gomme cette conséquence suicidaire que par sa mort on se tuera soi-même, on tuera le rêve d’y vivre ou d’y aller par chaloupes ou par avions, on tue le seul espace où il est justement possible de crier sa colère.

« Sur les colères d’aujourd’hui se greffent trop de radicalités pour qu’on puisse éviter la violence si on continue dans le même aveuglement »

D’ailleurs, le fait même de défendre l’Occident comme espace de liberté, certes incomplète et imparfaite, est jugé blasphématoire dans cette nouvelle lutte des classes et des races. Il est interdit de dire que l’Occident est aussi le lieu vers où l’on fuit quand on veut échapper à l’injustice de son pays d’origine, à la dictature, à la guerre, à la faim, ou simplement à l’ennui. Il est de bon ton de dire que l’Occident est coupable de tout pour mieux définir sa propre innocence absolue. L’Occident sera alors crucifié pour notre salut à tous en quelque sorte, confondu, dans le même corps blanc, dans une trinité horizontale, avec les deux autres voleurs à la gauche et à la droite de ce Christ géant.

Erreurs et illusions coûteuses. L’Occident est à la fois coupable et innocent. Or, tuer un coupable ne brise pas la chaîne de la douleur. Elle fait échanger les robes des victimes et des bourreaux. On le sait tous, et c’est une banalité utile à remémorer.

Il est urgent de rappeler que sur les colères d’aujourd’hui se greffent trop de radicalités pour qu’on puisse éviter la violence si on continue dans le même aveuglement. Brûler l’Occident, ce rêve si facile qu’Internet et ces militants agitateurs des réseaux commercialisent en guise de « néopureté » et de légitimité, est une erreur qui aura de lourdes conséquences. On se retrouvera, dans quelques décennies, à vivre dans ces champs nus, à construire la barbarie qu’on a cru dénoncer.

Ne pas confondre antiracisme et vandalisme

Ces procès anti-Occident à la soviétique, si faciles et si confortables, à peine coûteux quand on ne vit pas dans la dictature qu’on a fuie, menés par les intellectuels du sud en exil confortable en Occident ou par des fourvoyés locaux sont une impasse, une parade ou une lâcheté. Ils n’ont ni courage, ni sincérité, ni utilité. Il n’est même plus besoin de relire les insanités d’un journaliste qui a fui son pays du Maghreb il y a vingt ans, se contentant de dénoncer la dictature « locale » sans y mettre les pieds, tout en passant son temps à fustiger les démocraties qui l’ont accueilli. La règle de ce confort est qu’il est plus facile de déboulonner la statue d’un tyran, au nord, sous les smartphones, que de déboulonner un vrai tyran vivant au « sud ». Et il n’est pas même utile de répondre à ceux qui, lorsque vous tenez ces propos pourtant réalistes, vous accusent de servilité intellectuelle.

Monstrueux quand il a faim, selon l’expression d’un internaute, injuste et au passé vandale, beau, fascinant dans la nuit du monde, nimbé dans le rêve et le fantasme pour le migrant, vertueux par une démocratie inachevée, hypocrite à cause de sa prédation des ressources, son passé colonial tueur, inconscient et heureux, l’Occident est ce qu’il est : imparfait et à parfaire. Il n’est pas à détruire. Ceux qui en rêvent sont ceux qui n’ont pas su avoir de rêve meilleur que la barbarie de revanche, pas su dépasser des rancunes intimes.

C’est, à mon avis, ce qu’il faut rappeler pour éviter aux colères justes des assouvissements faciles et détestables. L’antiracisme est un combat juste. Il ne doit pas devenir un acte de vandalisme intellectuel ou de désordre dans ce monde si fragile. Son but est un avenir meilleur, pas un passé aveuglant. Pour tous. Telle est ma conviction.

Kamel Daoud est écrivain et journaliste. Il est notamment l’auteur de Meursault, contre-enquête (Actes Sud, 2014, prix Goncourt du premier roman en 2015), et de Le Peintre dévorant la femme (Stock, 2018). Il tient une chronique au Monde des religions depuis janvier 2019.

Voir enfin:

Kamel Daoud – Déboulonner n’est pas construire

Racisme, antiracisme, autodafé et révisionnisme culturel : attention danger. En sortir n’est posible que grâce à une pédagogie de la mémoire.

Kamel Daoud

 Le Point
Il faut garder à l’autodafé ses racines : jugement, inquisition, acte de foi, pénitence publique, exécutions d’hérétiques. Il faut encore une fois le rappeler pour alerter des esprits : on ne brûle pas de livres, on ne censure pas des œuvres, on ne déboulonne pas des statues uniquement parce qu’on a raison, mais parce qu’on le croit absolument. Ce qui suffit pour se tromper avec enthousiasme et inaugurer de nouveaux tribunaux d’opinion. Car, avec le grand élan de l’antiracisme, l’autodafé est de retour. On l’a connu, il y a quelques décennies, d’abord sous forme d’un fascisme (ou totalitarisme) qui brûle des livres, puis un demi-siècle après sous celle d’un livre (sacré) qui brûle le monde, aujourd’hui il se fait au nom d’une cause juste avec quelques effets mauvais : celle de la lutte contre le racisme dont certains profitent pour revisiter la littérature et les représentations, mais avec des torches incendiaires et pas avec des consciences calmes.

Médias: A l’exemple de Saturne, la Révolution dévore ses enfants (Spot the error when the mainstream media want to cut ties with even moderate anti-Trump conservatives… because they won’t bend the knee to critical theory’s version of reality !)

17 juillet, 2020

https://www.click2houston.com/resizer/YvjRZGx6lUqtkm5X7MTSZcpEyHg=/1600x1059/smart/filters:format(jpeg):strip_exif(true):strip_icc(true):no_upscale(true):quality(65):fill(FFF)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/gmg/T4YEM7I2WFDCZCGZOC3NFKOH7M.jpg

A l’exemple de Saturne, la révolution dévore ses enfants. Jacques Mallet du Pan (1793)
On pensait d’ordinaire que le socialisme était une sorte de libéralisme augmenté d’une morale. L’État allait prendre votre vie économique en charge et vous libérerait de la crainte de la pauvreté, du chômage, etc., mais il n’aurait nul besoin de s’immiscer dans votre vie intellectuelle privée. Maintenant la preuve a été faite que ces vues étaient fausses. George Orwell (Literature and Totalitarianism, 1941)
Déjà, nous ne savons littéralement presque rien de la Révolution et des années qui la précédèrent. Tous les documents ont été détruits ou falsifiés, tous les livres récrits, tous les tableaux repeints. Toutes les statues, les rues, les édifices, ont changé de nom, toutes les dates ont été modifiées. Et le processus continue tous les jours, à chaque minute. L’histoire s’est arrêtée. Rien n’existe qu’un présent éternel dans lequel le Parti a toujours raison. Je sais naturellement que le passé est falsifié, mais il me serait impossible de le prouver, alors même que j’ai personnellement procédé à la falsification. Winston (1984, George Orwell)
Nous sommes une société qui, tous les cinquante ans ou presque, est prise d’une sorte de paroxysme de vertu – une orgie d’auto-purification à travers laquelle le mal d’une forme ou d’une autre doit être chassé. De la chasse aux sorcières de Salem aux chasses aux communistes de l’ère McCarthy à la violente fixation actuelle sur la maltraitance des enfants, on retrouve le même fil conducteur d’hystérie morale. Après la période du maccarthisme, les gens demandaient : mais comment cela a-t-il pu arriver ? Comment la présomption d’innocence a-t-elle pu être abandonnée aussi systématiquement ? Comment de grandes et puissantes institutions ont-elles pu accepté que des enquêteurs du Congrès aient fait si peu de cas des libertés civiles – tout cela au nom d’une guerre contre les communistes ? Comment était-il possible de croire que des subversifs se cachaient derrière chaque porte de bibliothèque, dans chaque station de radio, que chaque acteur de troisième zone qui avait appartenu à la mauvaise organisation politique constituait une menace pour la sécurité de la nation ? Dans quelques décennies peut-être les gens ne manqueront pas de se poser les mêmes questions sur notre époque actuelle; une époque où les accusations de sévices les plus improbables trouvent des oreilles bienveillantes; une époque où il suffit d’être accusé par des sources anonymes pour être jeté en pâture à la justice; une époque où la chasse à ceux qui maltraitent les enfants est devenu une pathologie nationale. Dorothy Rabinowitz
A statue of Jesus Christ was decapitated and knocked off a pedestal at a Catholic church in Florida, another in a string of similar incidents nationwide. (…) In a separate incident, a Catholic congregation in Ocala, several hours north of Miami, was targeted Saturday morning while preparing for Mass. Steven Anthony Shields, 24, is accused of slamming his vehicle into the church before setting it on fire. (…) In another act of violence, the pastor of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., found a statue of Mary decapitated on Saturday and they have not located the statue’s head, Catholic News Agency reports. (…) Statues of the Virgin Mary also were vandalized in Boston and New York City over the weekend. A 249-year-old Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles caught fire Saturday morning. Capt. Antonio Negrete of the San Gabriel Fire Department told the local Fox 11 news outlet the recent destruction of monuments to Junipero Serra, the founder of the California mission system – whom Indigenous activists view as a symbol of oppression – will be a factor in the investigation. Following George Floyd’s police-related death in May, Black Lives Matter leaders and protesters called for the toppling of statues, from Confederate symbols to former U.S. presidents and abolitionists. Activist Shaun King called for all images depicting Jesus as a « White European » and his mother to be torn down because they’re forms of « White supremacy » and « racist propaganda. » Meanwhile, people on social media point out the lack of mainstream coverage of the recent anti-Catholic incidents. « Churches are being burned to the ground. What?, » Mike Cernovich, a controversial right-leaning author, said in a video on Twitter. « Why is this not the biggest story of the day? » Sean Feucht, a California worship leader and pastor, commenting on the incidents asked, « Where’s the outrage? » Fox 5
J’ai été embauchée dans le but de faire venir au journal les voix qui n’apparaîtraient pas dans ses pages autrement : (…) les centristes, les conservateurs et ceux qui ne se sentent pas chez eux au New York Times. La raison de ce recrutement était claire : le journal n’avait pas anticipé le résultat de l’élection présidentielle de 2016, ce qui montrait qu’il n’avait pas une bonne compréhension du pays qu’il couvre. Pourtant , le journal n’a pas tiré les enseignements qui auraient dû suivre le scrutin. Mes incursions dans la pensée non orthodoxe ont fait de moi l’objet d’un harcèlement constant de la part de mes collègues qui ne partagent pas mes opinions. Ils me traitent de nazie et de raciste (…). Mon travail et ma personne sont ouvertement dénigrés sur les chaînes Slack [outil de communication interne] de la société (…). Certains collaborateurs y soutiennent qu’il faut se débarrasser de moi si le journal veut être véritablement ‘inclusif’ et d’autres postent l’émoji de la hache [‘ax’ signifie à la fois ‘hache’ et ‘virer’] à côté de mon nom. Bari Weiss
Chaque jour des jeunes noirs sont tués par des gangs à Chicago. Où sont les militants de Black Lives Matter? Quand des Noirs tuent des Noirs, les militants Black Lives Matter ne viennent pas faire ce bazar. Femme noire de Chicago
On pose une équivalence entre Histoire et Occident. Selon cette logique, toute l’histoire, surtout quand elle est criminelle, est faite par l’Occident. Lorsque quelque chose de mal se passe, c’est donc l’Occident qui est responsable. Comme si rien ne pouvait advenir sans nous. Or, ce n’est absolument pas le cas. Notre impérialisme absolu sur l’histoire nous conduit à une culpabilisation absolue de nous-mêmes et à une victimisation tout aussi absolue d’autrui. Gabriel Martinez-Gros
Pour l’instant, les médias ne s’intéressent à la vie des Noirs que quand ils sont tués par des Blancs (ce qui est en fait statistiquement très rare). Et cela contribue à invisibiliser encore davantage la vie des Noirs. (….) Aux Etats-Unis, 93 % des Noirs victimes d’un homicide sont tués par d’autres Noirs. S’il est normal de condamner le meurtre [?] ignoble et tragique de George Floyd, il est curieux de voir nombre de personnes s’en prendre à la police américaine dans son ensemble et ne rien dire sur les gangs, alors que les gangs tuent bien plus de Noirs (et de manière bien plus «systémique») que ne le fait la police. Si nous pensons véritablement que «Black Lives Matter», alors nous devons nous intéresser à TOUTES les vies noires et ne pas sélectionner une toute petite minorité d’entre elles à cause d’arrière-pensées idéologiques. Derrière cette volonté de ne s’intéresser aux Noirs que lorsqu’ils sont tués par des Blancs, il existe un véritable arrière-fond raciste, non seulement raciste anti-blancs, mais aussi et surtout raciste anti-Noirs: la vie des Noirs n’aurait d’intérêt que quand elle viendrait valider l’idée d’un «racisme systémique» des sociétés occidentales. Une telle vision est en fait le fruit de l’ethnocentrisme délirant qui caractérise l’Occident. L’Occident pense qu’il est le centre de l’Histoire, que tout tourne autour de lui et que tout ce qui arrive dans le monde (bon ou mauvais) est de son fait. Dans le passé, cette «folie des Blancs» (pour reprendre une expression employée par l’écrivain André Malraux dans son roman La Voie royale, qui se déroule dans l’Indochine coloniale) a poussé l’Occident à se croire supérieur aux autres civilisations, à broyer la diversité du monde et à coloniser une bonne partie du globe. Aujourd’hui, le même ethnocentrisme pousse certains à considérer que l’Occident est la source de tous les maux. Dans la vision ethnocentrique, peu importe que l’Occident soit défini comme supérieur (la Colonisation) ou comme coupable (la repentance), il doit toujours être le pivot de l’Histoire. Rien ne saurait arriver en dehors de lui. L’Occident a beaucoup de mal à admettre qu’il n’est qu’une civilisation comme les autres et parmi d’autres: il préfèrera même parfois s’enfermer dans la repentance et dans une culpabilité imaginaire (mais qui lui permettent de rester l’acteur central) plutôt que de le reconnaître. Egocentrique, il ne s’intéresse à la vie des Noirs que quand ce sont des Blancs qui sont les assassins. (…) Le plus grand paradoxe est que la mouvance «décoloniale», qui constitue la pointe avancée des événements actuels, n’a absolument pas décolonisé son imaginaire et continue d’imaginer que le «Grand Méchant Occident» est à l’origine de tous les maux dont souffre le monde. Or, une telle vision, en plus d’être totalement fausse sur le plan factuel, est paternaliste: elle infantilise les populations non-blanches et les dépossède de leur Histoire, de leur parole, de leur action. On l’a bien vu dans certaines vidéos récentes. À Chicago, une femme noire s’oppose aux militants de l’ultra-gauche, déclarant: «Chaque jour des jeunes noirs sont tués par des gangs à Chicago. Où sont les militants de Black Lives Matter? Quand des Noirs tuent des Noirs, les militants Black Lives Matter ne viennent pas faire ce bazar.» Une militante (blanche) lui fait la leçon et lui répond de manière surréaliste. Complètement déconnectée des réalités du ghetto noir, où les meurtres intra-communautaires sont en effet quotidiens, elle lui fait la leçon et lui répond dans un jargon d’universitaire: «Mais que faîtes-vous de l’oppression systémique?». De même, des militants décoloniaux (blancs), voulant déboulonner la statue de Frederick Douglass (ancien esclave noir et militant abolitionniste!), se sont opposés à des guides touristiques noirs qui ont vaillamment défendu la statue. Si elles n’étaient pas accompagnées d’explications, les images feraient vraiment penser que les manifestants sont des suprémacistes blancs racistes et non pas des militants de gauche agissant au nom de l’antiracisme et prétendant que «Black Lives Matter». Mais cette ressemblance n’a rien d’un hasard, car suprémacistes blancs et militants décoloniaux partagent le même imaginaire ethnocentrique selon lequel l’Homme blanc serait au centre de tout (soit pour être supérieur, comme le pensent les suprémacistes, soit pour faire le mal comme le pensent les décoloniaux), ce qui prive mécaniquement les Noirs de toute histoire autonome. C’est ce qu’a bien souligné, en France, l’écrivaine (noire) Tania de Montaigne, fustigeant le concept de «privilège blanc» défendu récemment par la réalisatrice et militante décoloniale (blanche) Virginie Despentes. Tania de Montaigne voit dans cette notion un fantasme raciste qui ne correspond à rien de réel et qui, sous prétexte d’anti-racisme, réédite inconsciemment le discours raciste traditionnel de la hiérarchie des races, plaçant les Blancs au sommet d’une pyramide, et fait les non-Blancs comme d’éternels mineurs, toujours victimisés et qui devraient être aidés avec condescendance. Il en va de même dans les discours sur l’esclavage et la colonisation. Comme le souligne dans les colonnes du Figaro, l’historien Pierre Vermeren,: «La guerre et l’esclavage appartiennent de manière continue à la longue histoire des sociétés humaines (…) Aujourd’hui, il subsiste près de 46 millions d’esclaves dans le monde, dont la moitié en Asie (Chine, Inde et Pakistan) et près d’une autre en Afrique, au Sahel notamment. Les sociétés de la péninsule Arabique sont également concernées.» Et Pierre Vermeren nous rappelle qu’en ce qui concerne l’esclavage africain, il a existé trois traites distinctes: la traite européenne à destination des Amériques (où des Africains vendaient aux Européens les captifs issus de tribus rivales, car on oublie trop souvent de dire que si des Européens ont acheté des esclaves, c’est bien que quelqu’un les leur avait vendus sur place), la traite arabo-musulmane (à propos de laquelle les travaux de l’historien sénégalais Tidiane N’Diaye ont démontré que dix-sept millions de victimes noires furent asservies par les Arabes, parfois mutilées et assassinées, pendant plus de treize siècles sans interruption) et la traite interne à l’Afrique subsaharienne (qui continue encore aujourd’hui et qui fut combattue jadis par les colonisateurs français et britanniques, la colonisation ayant globalement eu lieu après que ces deux pays eurent aboli l’esclavage). Mais là encore, l’Occident ne veut pas admettre l’extrême banalité historique de la guerre et de l’esclavage. Il veut en avoir le monopole. Il préfère être pleinement coupable et se sentir ainsi toujours à part plutôt que de se trouver commun, rangé au côté des autres. Ainsi les traites d’esclaves commises par d’autres et où il n’a pris aucune part ne l’intéressent pas. Plutôt que de lutter concrètement contre l’esclavage actuel en Libye ou en Mauritanie, on préférera donc se flageller en s’en prenant à Colbert (alors que le Code noir ne représente qu’une infime partie de la vie et de l’œuvre de ce grand serviteur de l’État, les statues à son effigie honorant son rôle dans la construction de l’administration française et nullement son rôle supposé dans la traite esclavagiste, qui d’ailleurs ne posait pas de problèmes moraux à l’époque). Le plus dramatique est que toute ces actions hystériques, qui sapent la paix sociale, n’améliorent absolument pas la cause des Noirs. Si les vies noires comptent vraiment, alors, plutôt que de déboulonner des statues, les militants du Black Lives Matter (blancs pour une grande partie d’entre eux) feraient mieux d’alerter l’opinion sur les massacres inter-ethniques en Afrique ou d’aller sur place pour lutter contre les maladies et la famine. Ou plus simplement, ils pourraient aller dans les ghettos noirs des États-Unis pour protester contre la tyrannie des gangs, faire du soutien scolaire pour les enfants, distribuer de la nourriture et assister la population. Il faudra bien le dire un jour: Philippe de Villiers, en mettant sur pied un programme de co-développement humanitaire avec le Bénin lorsqu’il était président du conseil général de Vendée, a fait bien davantage pour les vies noires que les déboulonneurs de statue. De même, certaines universités américaines décident de retirer certains auteurs de leurs programmes sous prétexte que les hommes blancs sont trop représentés. Comme le faisait remarquer Christopher Lasch dans La Révolte des élites, ce genre de décisions prises par des gauchistes blancs généralement issus de la bourgeoisie, n’améliore absolument pas la situation concrète des minorités. Il serait plus pertinent au contraire de garder la culture classique intacte et de la diffuser à tous, Noirs compris. Et comme le fait remarquer au Figaro, Willfred Reilly, professeur afro-américain de sciences politiques, à propos de l’hystérie actuelle: «Tout cela ne va pas améliorer les scores des minorités aux tests universitaires. » Mais ce racisme anti-Noir inconscient ne se limite pas à la seule sphère «décoloniale». Ainsi Joe Biden, invité le 22 mai sur une radio noire, par un animateur noir, a déclaré: «Si vous n’arrivez pas à vous décider entre moi et Trump, c’est que vous n’êtes pas réellement noir.» Pour Biden, les électeurs noirs semblent être un troupeau de moutons, privés de tout libre arbitre politique. Jean-Loup Bonnamy
I’m glad that the law enforcement agencies are subject to the same standard as everybody else. Mark McCloskey
The reason high-income people leave the city, and why I can’t talk my friends into moving in, is crime. Why live where your life is at risk, where you are affronted by thugs, bums, drug addicts and punks when you can afford not to. What St. Louis can do without are the murderers, beggars, drug addicts and street corner drunks. St. Louis needs more people of substance and fewer of subsistence. Mark McCloskey (1993)
Une foule d’au moins 100 personnes a abattu le portail historique en fer forgé de Portland Place, ils se sont précipités vers ma maison, où ma famille dînait dehors et nous ont fait craindre pour nos vies. J’étais terrifié que nous soyons assassinés en quelques secondes, que notre maison soit brûlée, nos animaux de compagnie tués. Nous étions seuls face à une foule en colère. Il s’agit d’une propriété privée. Il n’y a pas de trottoirs ou de rues publics. Mark McCloskey
La scène est à peine croyable. Des manifestants américains du mouvement «Black lives matter» se rendant devant le domicile de la maire de Saint Louis, Lyda Krewson, pour exiger sa démission, ont été menacés dimanche par un couple d’avocats, lourdement armés, alors qu’ils passaient devant leur villa. Mark et Patricia McCloskey ont ainsi été filmés pointant leurs armes en direction des 300 personnes marchant devant eux. Lui tenait un fusil de type AR-15, quand sa femme préférait brandir une arme de poing. NBC News rapporte que les portails de plusieurs propriétés du quartier ont été détériorés. Ironie de l’histoire, le couple en question a fait de la défense des victimes de dommages corporels sa spécialité. Cnews
I think that a total elimination is something we need to reevaluate. Right now, bad guys are saying if you don’t see a blue and white you can do whatever you want. Eric Adams (Brooklyn Borough President)
The guns keep going off and now we have a 1-year-old and the blood is on the hands of the mayor and the state Legislature. Community activist Tony Herbert
It says something when you’re at a Black Lives Matter protest; you have more minorities on the police side than you have in a violent crowd. And you have white people screaming at black officers ‘you have the biggest nose I’ve ever seen.’ You hear these things and you go ‘Are these people, are they going to say something to this person?’ No. (…) Having people tell you what to do with your life, that you need to quit your job, that you’re hurting your community but they’re not even a part of the community. Once again you as a privileged white person telling someone of color what to do with their life. (…) When you’re standing on the line and they’re getting called those names and they’re being accused of being racist when you’ve seen those officers helping people of color, getting blood on them trying to rescue someone who has been shot—gang violence, domestic violence—and you see them and they’re truly trying to help save someone’s life and they they turn around and are called a racist by people that have never seen anything like that, that have never had to put themselves out there. It’s disgusting. Officer Jakhary Jackson (Portland)
Mark McCloskey graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1982, where he studied sociology, criminal justice and psychology before attending the Southern Methodist University of Law in 1985. He is a Missouri native and graduated from Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School in Ladue, Missouri, in 1975, according to his Facebook profile. On his law firm’s website, McCloskey is described as, “an AV rated attorney who has been nominated for dozens of awards and honors and has been voted by his peers for memberships to many exclusive ‘top rated lawyer’ and ‘multimillion dollar lawyer’ associations throughout the country.” The website also notes McCloskey has appeared on in the media, including KSDK in St. Louis and Fox News. The website states, “several of his cases have been cited in national legal publications as the highest verdicts recovered in the country for those particular injuries.” McCloskey’s profile also says: Since 1986, he has exclusively represented individuals seriously injured as a result of accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and the negligence of others. For the past 21 years, his firm has concentrated on the representation of people injured or killed through traumatic brain injuries, neck, back or other significant neurological or orthopedic injury. Mark T. McCloskey is licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Missouri, Illinois, Texas and the Federal Courts of Nebraska. Additionally, he has represented individuals injured through medical malpractice, dangerous products, automobiles, cars, motorcycles, boats, defective hand guns, airplane crashes, explosions, electrocution, falls, assaults, rapes, poisoning, fires, inadequate security, premises liability, dram shop liability (serving intoxicating patrons), excessive force by police, construction accidents, and negligent maintenance of premises (including retail establishments, parking lots, government property, homes, schools, playgrounds, apartments, commercial operations, parks and recreational facilities) for the past 30 years and has filed and tried personal injury lawsuits in over 28 states. Heavy.com
According to her Facebook profile, Patricia Novak McCloskey is a native of Industry, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Western Beaver High School in 1977. McCloskey then studied at Penn State University, graduating in 1982 with a degree in labor studies and a minor in Spanish. She, like her husband, attended SMU Law School in Dallas, graduating in 1986. According to their law firm’s website, “Patricia N. McCloskey is a Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude graduate of Pennsylvania State University, graduating first in her class and with the highest cumulative average in her department in forty-seven years. Patricia N. McCloskey is also a graduate of Southern Methodist University School of Law, which she completed while simultaneously working full time and still graduating in the top quarter of her class.” The website adds: After several years working with a major law firm in St. Louis on the defense side, she moved to representation of the injured. Since 1994, she has exclusively represented those injured by the negligence of others with Mark McCloskey. She has acted in various roles in the community including being a past Board Member of Therapeutic Horsemanship, a law student mentor, a member of the Missouri Bar Association ethical review panel and a St. Louis city committee woman. Patricia McCloskey has extensive trial experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases arising out of all aspects of negligence, including traumatic brain injury, products liability and product defect, medical malpractice, wrongful death, neck, back and spinal cord injuries, motor vehicle collisions, motorcycle collisions, airplane crashes, and many others as set forth further. Heavy.com
Notre nation fait face à une campagne visant à effacer notre histoire, diffamer nos héros, supprimer nos valeurs et endoctriner nos enfants. (…) Le désordre violent que nous avons vu dans nos rues et nos villes qui sont dirigées par des libéraux démocrates dans tous les cas est le résultat d’années d’endoctrinement extrême et de partialité dans l’éducation, le journalisme et d’autres institutions culturelles. (…) Nous croyons en l’égalité des chances, une justice égale et un traitement égal pour les citoyens de toutes races, origines, religions et croyances. Chaque enfant, de chaque couleur – né et à naître – est fait à l’image sainte de Dieu. Donald Trump
Nous sommes en train de passer à côté d’un processus essentiel en jeu actuellement, l’articulation, désastreuse entre les sociétés de la honte et de l’honneur (« shame culture ») et les civilisations de la culpabilité (« guilt culture »), distinction établie par Dodds, un ethnologue. La honte est définie par lui comme un fait social extériorisé (perdre la face) et la culpabilité comme un sentiment intériorisé (…) Les membres des sociétés de la honte ne se sentent pas honteux « par essence », mais l’honneur est pour eux une valeur dominante qui ne concerne pas que soi, mais aussi le groupe familial, culturel auquel on appartient. Reconnaître une faute devant les personnes qui y sont extérieures, c’est déshonorer son groupe, c’est « l’achouma », mot clé au Maghreb qui signifie la honte. On ne peut reconnaître que la moindre erreur ait pu être commise par soi ou les autres membres de son groupe sous peine de déshonneur, la faute en incombe forcément à l’extérieur. Le modèle relationnel dominant prend la forme d’être le plus fort ou d’être humilié. Qui va mépriser l’autre ? Qui va faire honte à l’autre ou avoir honte ? Qui va soumettre l’autre ? Dans le TER, trois personnes d’origine sahélienne ont les pieds sur les sièges et téléphonent à tue-tête avec un poste de radio ouvert à côté d’eux. Je leur demande poliment de respecter le règlement. Réponse sèche : « Vous dites ça parce qu’on est étrangers », suivi d’une augmentation du volume sonore vocal du téléphone. Me voilà désigné comme un blanc raciste en quelques secondes, et c’est moi qui suis coupable, qui devrais donc avoir honte. Je parcours le train à la recherche d’un contrôleur, en vain. En l’absence d’un tiers incarnant une loi qui est la même pour tous, je n’ai pas d’autre solution que de m’incliner dans l’espace public. Je me sens… misérable. De même, quand dans les « quartiers », un jeune de 14 ans, sur un scooter volé, sans casque parce que « c’est pour les petits », se tue en percutant à toute vitesse un véhicule, il ne meurt pas à cause d’une accumulation d’imprudences mais forcément à cause d’autrui. De préférence à cause de la police. On ne décède pas accidentellement, on est tué. Comment une interpellation pourrait-elle de dérouler calmement avec ce modèle relationnel ? Qu’il soit à pied, en scooter, ou en voiture, celui qui accepte de se soumettre (et oui ! le mot est dit) à un contrôle policier ne rencontrera aucun problème de violence policière. Et les représentants du pays d’accueil tout désignés pour être méprisés puisqu’ils incarnent la légalité de la société dans l’espace public sont les policiers sur lesquels on crache sans vergogne. Le policier n’a pas le droit de répondre, il sera méprisé s’il agit (la sanction) ou s’il ne fait rien (la soumission). Quelle inversion ! C’est celui qui crache qui devrait être méprisé pour sa lâcheté car il ne risque rien. Le piège, c’est que les membres des sociétés de la honte ont compris que les membres des civilisations de la culpabilité, judéo-chrétiennes, ont une forte tendance à accepter de se sentir coupable, et il est alors « pratique » de leur faire éprouver de la honte au lieu de la ressentir soi-même. Et plus les membres de la civilisation de la culpabilité se sentent coupables, plus les membres de la société de la honte se décrivent comme victimes, dans une inflation interminable, alors que le problème initial de situe à l’intérieur même de leur société. (…) Cet écart entre société de la honte et civilisation de la culpabilité crée d’importantes tensions concernant l’acceptation d’une loi commune, ensemble de contraintes qui se situent au-dessus de tous, et de la reconnaissance d’une dette. Dans les sociétés de la honte, la relation à la loi n’inclut pas sa notion pourtant fondatrice de culpabilité. Accepter les contraintes extérieures signifie non pas reconnaître la nécessité de respecter d’indispensables limites pour une vie en commun, mais est vécue comme une immixtion intolérable dans le fonctionnement familial et groupal. (…) Et lorsqu’on argue qu’il y a du racisme dans la police puisque les personnes issues des sociétés de la honte font l’objet de contrôles policiers beaucoup plus fréquents que les autres, la réponse est qu’elles sont plus nombreuses à ne pas respecter la loi que les personnes qui ont intégré la culpabilité. Faut-il que chaque fois qu’un tel jeune est contrôlé, une dame sortant d’un super marché avec son cabas de légumes le soit aussi pour éviter toute discrimination ? La société de la honte, c’est aussi l’incapacité de reconnaître une dette envers le milieu d’accueil. Dans le cadre d’une immigration économique, tous sont venus au départ parce que leur pays ne les nourrissait pas assez, ne les soignait pas, était profondément corrompu, sinon ils retourneraient y vivre. Cette blessure originelle ne se referme pas et laisse les sujets dans une sorte d’entre-deux. Reconnaître ce qu’on doit au pays d’accueil, c’est accepter de penser que sa propre origine est entachée, conflictuelle, et la solution à ce malaise peut consister à dire que c’est l’extérieur, le lieu d’accueil, qui est inhospitalier et doit être dénigré. Reconnaître ce qu’on reçoit de bien, c’est trahir ses origines, de même que les policiers noirs ou maghrébins heureux d’exercer leur métier sont qualifiés de traîtres. Il est donc nécessaire de remettre l’achouma à sa place, de rétablir le lieu de la honte et de la remettre dans le camp de ceux qui font tout pour la projeter sur autrui. Ceux qui ont la volonté de se désigner de toutes façons comme victimes ont besoin de désigner des agresseurs. Mais ce n’est pas parce que des individus ou leurs parents ont été victimes dans leur histoire personnelle, familiale, culturelle, que d’autres doivent accepter d’endosser ce rôle de bourreau. Plus les membres d’une civilisation de la culpabilité se laissent accuser, plus ils sont méprisés. Au contraire, imaginons (on a le droit de rêver) qu’une seule personnalité politique ose déclarer : « Vous devriez avoir honte d’élever vos enfants sans leur inculquer un minimum de respect pour le pays qui vous accueille et qui vous soigne gratuitement, de ne pas leur expliquer que rien n’est dû, de laisser vos enfants conduire des véhicules volés, d’abîmer la démocratie qui vous protège et de mentir en vous présentant comme des victimes, etc. ». Énoncer ceci ne changerait rien à la manière de se comporter des délinquants en question, pas plus qu’égrener leurs délits et parler de « sauvageons », et ne calmerait en rien les militants communautaristes. Mais ceci donnerait aux autres le sentiment que la honte n’est pas en eux, et leur permettrait d’éprouver un sentiment de légitimité dont beaucoup de citoyens éprouvent le besoin qu’il soit reconnu. Une telle formulation constitue le fondement incontournable de toute action politique efficace car elle permettrait d’arrêter de tendre l’autre joue. Et d’accepter enfin l’idée que dans certaines circonstances, seules la force de caractère et la force physique inspirent du respect. Maurice Berger
Andy Warhol disait que « tout le monde doit avoir son quart d’heure de célébrité ». « Maintenant, tout le monde, blanc, doit avoir son quart d’heure de honte. On est entré dans une flagellation collective. Mais c’est encore plus compliqué que ça. On a les sociétés de la honte et les civilisations de la culpabilité. Pour les premiers, ce sont des sociétés où la honte est une valeur dominante, comme reconnaître qu’on a fait une faute, se déshonorer, déshonorer son groupe, sa culture, à l’inverse, des sociétés « judéo-chrétiennes. Toutes les personnes des minorités ne fonctionnent pas comme ça, de même de que toutes les personnes de la civilisation de la culpabilité ne se sentent pas prêts à se sentir coupable. On a une imbrication entre des personnes qui vont forcément se présenter comme victimes, quoi qu’elles aient fait d’illégal et en face des membres de la civilisation de la culpabilité qui vont forcément se sentir coupable. Plus ces personnes se reconnaissent coupables, plus ceux qui ont tendance à se sentir victimes vont en abuser. (…) J’y suis opposé. Que les Américains fassent cela pour ce qui s’est produit dans leur pays, j’en ai que faire. Ce n’est même pas un symbole, c’est quelque chose de littéral : on s’humilie alors qu’on n’a pas de quoi s’humilier. C’est un geste de soumission, c’est quelque chose qui inverse tout. Je ne vois pas de quoi nous devrions avoir honte, nous en France. Maurice Berger
Nous vivons (…) une époque qui rappelle le Moyen Âge avec son oligarchie, ses clercs et son dogme. Une sorte d’aristocratie de la tech a émergé et a fait alliance avec la classe intellectuelle, pour mettre en place une nouvelle vision de la société, qui a pour ambition de remplacer les valeurs plus traditionnelles portées depuis l’après-guerre par la classe moyenne. Tout l’enjeu futur de la politique est de savoir si «le tiers état» d’aujourd’hui – les classes moyennes paupérisées et les classes populaires – se soumettra à leur contrôle. Nous sommes entrés dans le paradigme d’une oligarchie concentrant la richesse nationale à un point jamais atteint à l’époque contemporaine. Cinq compagnies détiennent l’essentiel de la richesse nationale en Amérique! Une poignée de patrons de la tech et «leurs chiens de garde» de la finance, contrôlent chacun des fortunes de dizaines de milliards de dollars en moyenne et ils ont à peine 40 ans, ce qui veut dire que nous allons devoir vivre avec eux et leur influence pour tout le reste de nos vies! (…) La globalisation et la financiarisation ont été des facteurs majeurs de cette concentration effrénée de la richesse. La délocalisation de l’industrie vers la Chine a coûté 1,5 million d’emplois manufacturiers au Royaume-Uni, et 3,4 millions à l’Amérique. Les PME, les entreprises familiales, l’artisanat, ont été massivement détruits, débouchant sur une paupérisation des classes moyennes, qui étaient le cœur du modèle capitaliste libéral américain. La crise du coronavirus a accéléré la tendance. Les compagnies de la tech sortent grandes gagnantes de l’épreuve. Jeff Bezos, le patron d’Amazon, vient juste d’annoncer que sa capitalisation a progressé de 30 milliards de dollars alors que les petites compagnies se noient! Les inégalités de classe ne font que s’accélérer, avec une élite intellectuelle et managériale qui s’en sort très bien – les fameux clercs qui peuvent travailler à distance – , et le reste de la classe moyenne qui s’appauvrit. Les classes populaires, elles, ont subi le virus de plein fouet, ont bien plus de risques de l’attraper, ont souffert du confinement dans leurs petits appartements, et ont pour beaucoup perdu leur travail. C’est un tableau très sombre qui émerge avec une caste de puissants ultra-étroite et de «nouveaux serfs», sans rien de substantiel entre les deux: 70 % des Américains estiment que leurs enfants vivront moins bien qu’eux. (…) La Silicon Valley, jadis une terre promise des self-made-men est devenue le visage de l’inégalité et des nouvelles forteresses industrielles. Les géants technologiques comme Google ou Facebook ont tué la culture des start-up née dans les garages californiens dans les années 1970 et qui a perduré jusque dans les années 1990, car ils siphonnent toute l’innovation. Je suis évidemment pour la défense de l’environnement, mais l’idéologie verte très radicale qui prévaut en Californie avantage aussi les grandes compagnies qui seules peuvent survivre aux régulations environnementales drastiques, alors que les PME n’y résistent pas ou s’en vont ailleurs. On sous-estime cet aspect socio-économique de la «transition écologique», qui exclut les classes populaires et explique par exemple vos «gilets jaunes», comme le raconte le géographe Christophe Guilluy. Vu la concentration de richesses, l’immobilier californien a atteint des prix records et les classes populaires ont été boutées hors de San Francisco, pourtant un bastion du «progressisme» politique. La ville, qui se veut l’avant-garde de l’antiracisme et abritait jadis une communauté afro-américaine très vivante, n’a pratiquement plus d’habitants noirs, à peine 5 %, un autre paradoxe du progressisme actuel. (…) Il y a un vrai parallèle entre la situation d’aujourd’hui et l’alliance de l’aristocratie et du clergé avant la Révolution française. Et cela vaut pour tous les pays occidentaux. Ces clercs rassemblent les élites intellectuelles d’aujourd’hui, qui sont presque toutes situées à gauche. Si je les nomme ainsi, c’est pour souligner le caractère presque religieux de l’orthodoxie qu’elles entendent imposer, comme jadis l’Église catholique. Au XIIIe siècle, à l’université de Paris, personne n’aurait osé douter de l’existence de Dieu. Aujourd’hui, personne n’ose contester sans risque les nouveaux dogmes, j’en sais quelque chose. Je suis pourtant loin d’être conservateur, je suis un social-démocrate de la vieille école, qui juge les inégalités de classe plus pertinentes que les questions d’identité, de genre, mais il n’y a plus de place pour des gens comme moi dans l’univers mental et politique de ces élites. Elles entendent remplacer les valeurs de la famille et de la liberté individuelle qui ont fait le succès de l’Amérique après-guerre et la prospérité de la classe moyenne, par un credo qui allie défense du globalisme, justice sociale (définie comme la défense des minorités raciales et sexuelles, NDLR), modèle de développement durable imposé par le haut et redéfinition des rôles familiaux. Elles affirment que le développement durable est plus important que la croissance qui permettait de sortir les classes populaires de la pauvreté. Ce point créera une vraie tension sociale. Ce qui est frappant, c’est l’uniformité de ce «clergé». (…) Parmi les journalistes, seulement 7 % se disent républicains. C’est la même chose, voire pire, dans les universités, le cinéma, la musique. On n’a plus le droit d’être en désaccord avec quoi que ce soit! Écrire que le problème de la communauté noire est plus un problème socio-économique que racial, est devenu risqué, et peut vous faire traiter de raciste! J’ai travaillé longtemps comme journaliste avant d’enseigner, et notamment pour le Washington Post, le Los Angeles Times et d’autres… Il arrive que j’y trouve encore de très bons papiers, mais dans l’ensemble, je ne peux plus les lire tellement ils sont biaisés sur les sujets liés à la question raciale, à Trump ou à la politique! Je n’ai aucune sympathie pour Donald Trump, que je juge toxique, mais la haine qu’il suscite va trop loin. On voit se développer un journalisme d’opinion penchant à gauche, qui mène à ce que la Rand Corporation (une institution de recherche prestigieuse, fondée initialement pour les besoins de l’armée américaine, NDLR) qualifie de «décomposition de la vérité». (…) Je dois dire avoir aussi été très choqué par le «projet 1619» (ce projet affirme que l’origine de l’Amérique n’est pas 1776 et la proclamation de l’Indépendance, mais 1619 avec l’arrivée de bateaux d’esclaves sur les côtes américaines, NDLR), lancé par le New York Times, qui veut démontrer que toute l’histoire américaine est celle d’un pays raciste. Oui, l’esclavage a été une chose horrible, mais les succès et progrès américains ne peuvent être niés au nom des crimes commis. Je n’ai rien contre le fait de déboulonner les généraux confédérés, qui ont combattu pour le Sud esclavagiste. Mais vouloir déboulonner le général Ulysse Grant, grand vainqueur des confédérés, ou encore George Washington, est absurde. La destruction systématique de notre passé, et du sens de ce qui nous tient ensemble, est très dangereuse. Cela nous ramène à l’esprit de la Révolution culturelle chinoise. Si l’on continue, il n’y aura plus que des tribus. (…) Je crois que c’est Huxley qui dans Le Meilleur des mondes, affirme qu’une tyrannie appuyée sur la technologie ne peut être défaite. La puissance des oligarchies et des élites culturelles actuelles est renforcée par le rôle croissant de la technologie, qui augmente le degré de contrôle de ce que nous pensons, lisons, écoutons… Quand internet est apparu, il a suscité un immense espoir. On pensait qu’il ouvrirait une ère de liberté fertile pour les idées, mais c’est au contraire devenu un instrument de contrôle de l’information et de la pensée! Même si les blogs qui prolifèrent confèrent une apparence de démocratie et de diversité, la réalité actuelle, c’est quelques compagnies basées dans la Silicon Valley qui exercent un contrôle de plus en plus lourd sur le flux d’informations. Près des deux tiers des jeunes s’informent sur les réseaux sociaux. De plus, Google, Facebook, Amazon sont en train de racheter les restes des médias traditionnels qu’ils n’ont pas tués. Ils contrôlent les studios de production de films, YouTube… Henry Ford et Andrew Carnegie n’étaient pas des gentils, mais ils ne vous disaient pas ce que vous deviez penser. (…) Ils sont persuadés que tous les problèmes ont une réponse technologique. Ce sont des techniciens brillants, grands adeptes du transhumanisme, peu préoccupés par la baisse de la natalité ou la question de la mobilité sociale, et bien plus déconnectés des classes populaires que les patrons d’entreprises sidérurgiques d’antan. Leur niveau d’ignorance sur le plan historique ou littéraire est abyssal, et en ce sens, ils sont sans doute plus effrayants encore que l’aristocratie d’Ancien Régime. De plus, se concentrer sur les sujets symboliques comme le genre, les transgenres, le changement climatique, leur permet d’évacuer les sujets de «classe», qui pourraient menacer leur pouvoir. (…) Je pense que Zuckerberg a eu raison et qu’il a du courage, mais il semble être poussé à adopter un rôle de censeur. Un auteur que je connais, environnementaliste dissident, vient de voir sa page Facebook supprimée. C’est une tendance dangereuse, car laisser à quelques groupes privés le pouvoir de contrôler l’information, ouvre la voie à la tyrannie. Cela me ramène au thème central de ce livre qui se veut un manifeste en faveur de la classe moyenne, menacée de destruction après avoir été le pilier de nos démocraties. La démocratie est fondamentalement liée à la dispersion de la propriété privée. C’est pour cela que j’ai toujours eu de l’admiration pour les Pays-Bas, pays qui a toujours créé de la terre, en gagnant sur la mer, et a donc toujours assuré la croissance de sa classe moyenne. Quand cela cesse et que la richesse se concentre entre quelques mains, on revient à un contrôle de la société par le haut, qu’il soit établi par des régimes de droite ou de gauche. (…) Trump est un idiot et un type détestable, qui, je l’espère, sera désavoué, car il suscite beaucoup de tensions négatives. Mais je n’ai jamais vu un président traité comme il l’a été. La volonté de le destituer était déjà envisagée avant même qu’il ait mis un pied à la Maison-Blanche! Je pense aussi que la presse n’est pas honnête à son sujet. Prenons par exemple son discours au mont Rushmore, l’un des meilleurs qu’il ait faits, et dans lequel il tente de réconcilier un soutien au besoin de justice raciale, et la défense du patrimoine américain. Il y a cité beaucoup de personnages importants comme Frederick Douglass ou Harriet Tubman, mais la presse n’en a pas moins rapporté qu’il s’agissait d’un discours raciste, destiné à rallier les suprémacistes blancs! On l’accuse de tyrannie, mais la plus grande tyrannie qui nous menace est l’alliance des oligarques et des clercs. Le seul avantage de Trump, c’est d’être un contre-pouvoir face à eux. Malheureusement, cela ne signifie pas qu’il ait une vision cohérente. Surtout, il divise terriblement le pays, or nous avons besoin d’une forme d’unité minimale. (…) Je dirais à ce stade que Trump va avoir du mal à gagner – j’évalue ses chances à une sur trois. Il pourrait revenir si une forme de rebond économique se dessine ou s’il s’avérait évident que Joe Biden n’a plus toutes ses capacités intellectuelles. Si les démocrates l’emportent, ma prédiction est qu’ils en feront trop, et qu’une nouvelle rébellion, qui nous fera regretter Trump, surgira en boomerang. À moins qu’une nouvelle génération de jeunes conservateurs – comme Josh Hawley, JD Vance ou Marco Rubio – capables de défendre les classes populaires tout en faisant obstacle à la révolution culturelle de la gauche, ne finisse par émerger. J’aimerais aussi voir un mouvement remettant vraiment le social à l’honneur se dessiner à gauche, mais je n’y crois pas trop, vu l’obsession de l’identité… Ce qui est sûr, c’est que l’esprit de 2016 et des «gilets jaunes» ne va pas disparaître. Regardez ce qui s’est passé en Australie: on pensait que les travaillistes gagneraient, mais ce sont les populistes qui ont raflé la mise, parce que la gauche verte était devenue tellement anti-industrielle, que les classes populaires l’ont désertée! Joel Kotkin
« Le Meilleur des mondes » décrit par Aldous Huxley serait-il en train de pointer le nez sur les côtes de Californie et de gagner l’Amérique? Dans son nouveau livre, L’Avènement du néo-féodalisme, le géographe américain Joel Kotkin, cousin californien du géographe français Christophe Guilluy, qui scrute depuis des années avec inquiétude la destruction des classes moyennes à la faveur de la délocalisation et de la financiarisation de l’économie, s’interroge sur la «tyrannie» que dessine l’émergence d’une oligarchie ultra-puissante et contrôlant une technologie envahissante. Joel Kotkin décrit l’alliance de l’oligarchie de la Silicon Valley, composée de quelques milliardaires passionnés de transhumanisme, et persuadés que la technologie est la réponse à tous les problèmes, avec une classe intellectuelle de «clercs» qui se comporte comme un «nouveau clergé» et instaure de nouveaux dogmes – sur la globalisation, le genre, «le privilège blanc» – avec une ferveur toute religieuse. Il devient dangereux d’exprimer ses désaccords, regrette cet ancien social-démocrate, qui explique ne plus avoir sa place à gauche. Une situation d’intolérance que le départ fracassant de la journaliste Bari Weiss du New York Times, forcée de quitter le navire sous la pression de pairs devenus «censeurs», vient d’illustrer avec éloquence. Laure Mandeville
The intellectually intolerant mob claimed two high-profile victims Tuesday with the resignations of New York Times editor Bari Weiss and New York Magazine journalist Andrew Sullivan. These are just two examples of the deadly virus spreading through our public life: McCarthyism of the woke. McCarthyism is the pejorative term liberals gave to the anti-communist crusades of 1950s-era Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. From his perch as chair of the Government Operations Committee, McCarthy launched a wave of investigations to ferret out supposed communist subversion of government agencies. Armed with his favorite question — “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” — McCarthy terrorized his targets and silenced his critics. Thousands of people lost their jobs as a result, often based on nothing more than innuendo or chance associations. The mob fervor extended to the state governments and the private sector, too. States enacted “loyalty oaths” requiring people employed by the government, including tenured university faculty members, to disavow “radical beliefs” or lose their jobs. Many refused and were fired. Hollywood notoriously rooted out real and suspected communists, creating the infamous “blacklist” of people who were informally barred from any work with Hollywood studios. The “red scare” even nearly toppled America’s favorite television star, Lucille Ball, who had registered to vote as a communist in the 1930s. Today’s “cancel culture” is nothing more than McCarthyism in a woke costume. It stems from a noble goal — ending racial discrimination. Like its discredited cousin, however, it has transmogrified into something sinister and inimical to freedom. Battling racism is good and necessary; trying to suppress voices that one disagrees with is not. Woke McCarthyism goes wrong when it seeks to do the one thing that America has always sworn not to do: enforce uniformity of thought. Indeed, this principle, enshrined in the First Amendment, is so central to American national identity that it is one of the five quotes inscribed in the Jefferson Memorial: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Weiss’s resignation letter describes numerous examples of her colleagues judging her guilty of “wrongthink” and trying to pressure superiors to fire or suppress her. She explains that “some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name.” Others, she wrote, called her a racist and a Nazi, or criticized her on Twitter without reprimand. She notes that this behavior, tolerated by the paper through its editors, constitutes “unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge.” Sullivan’s reason for departure is less clear — though he said it is “self-evident.” He had publicly supported Weiss, writing: “The mob bullied and harassed a young woman for thoughtcrimes. And her editors stood by and watched.” In other words, both Weiss and Sullivan — like so many others — seem to have left their jobs because they were targeted for refusing to conform to its ideas of right thinking. Do you now or have you ever thought that Donald Trump might make a good president? Congratulations, president of Goya Foods: Your company is boycotted. Are you now or have you ever been willing to publish works from a conservative U.S. senator that infuriated liberal Twitter? Former New York Times editor James Bennet, the bell tolls for thee. The mob even sacrifices people whose only crime is familial connection on its altar. The stepmother of the Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, Melissa Rolfe, was fired from her job at a mortgage lender because some employees felt uncomfortable working with her. Such tactics work best when they force people to confess to seek repentance for the crimes they may or may not have committed. McCarthy knew this, and so he always offered lenience to suspected communists who would “name names” and turn in other supposed conspirators. The woke inquisition uses the same tactic, forcing those caught in its maw to renounce prior statements they find objectionable. NFL quarterback Drew Brees surrendered to the roar while noted leftists such as J.K. Rowling and Noam Chomsky are being pilloried for their defense of free speech. McCarthy was enabled by a frightened and compliant center-right. They knew he was wrong, but they also knew the anti-communist cause was right and were unsure how to embrace the just cause and excise the zealous overreach. It wasn’t until McCarthy attacked the U.S. Army that one man, attorney Joseph Welch, had the courage to speak up. “Have you no decency, sir?” he said as McCarthy tried to slander a colleague. The bubble burst, and people found the inquisitorial emperor had no clothes. The Senate censured him in 1954, and McCarthy died in 1957, a broken man. It won’t be as easy to defeat the woke movement. There isn’t one person whose humiliation will break the spell. This movement is deep, decentralized and widespread.  Henry Olsen
Every cultural revolution starts at year zero, whether explicitly or implicitly. The French Revolution recalibrated the calendar to begin anew, and the genocidal Pol Pot declared his own Cambodian revolutionary ascension as the beginning of time. Somewhere after May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd, while in police custody, sparked demonstrations, protests, and riots. And they in turn ushered in a new revolutionary moment. Or at least we were told that — in part by Black Lives Matter, in part by Antifa, in part by terrified enablers in the corporate world, the new Democratic Party, the military, the universities, and the media. What was uniquely different about this cultural revolution was how willing and quickly the entire progressive establishment — elected officials, celebrities, media, universities, foundations, retired military — was either on the side of the revolution or saw it as useful in aborting the Trump presidency, or was terrified it would be targeted and so wished to appease the Jacobins. This reborn America was to end all of the old that had come before and supposedly pay penance for George Floyd’s death and, by symbolic extension, America’s inherent evil since 1619. As in all cultural revolutions, the protestors claimed at first at that they wanted only to erase supposedly reactionary elements: Confederate statues, movies such as Gone with the Wind, some hurtful cartoons, and a few cranky conservative professors and what not. But soon such recalibration steam rolled, fueled by acquiescence, fright, and timidity. Drunk with ego and power, it moved on to attack almost anything connected with the past or present of the United States itself. Soon statues of General Grant, and presidents including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson were either toppled or defaced. The message was that their crimes were being white and privileged — in the way that today’s white and privileged should meet a similar fate. Or, as the marchers, who tried to storm Beverly Hills, put it: “Eat the Rich.” They were met by tear gas, and not a single retired general double-downed on his outrage at law enforcement for using tear gas against civilians. Did the BLM idea of cannibalizing the billionaires include LeBron James, Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, and likely soon-to-be billionaire Barack Obama? Name changing is always a barometer of a year-zero culture revolution that seeks to wipe out the past and, with it, anyone wedded to it. And so it was only a matter of time that the Woodrow Wilson Princeton School of Public and International Affairs was Trotskyized. Liberals cringed but kept silent, given that Wilson is still a hero for his support of the League of Nations, and his utopian efforts at Versailles, despite his characteristic progressive allegiance to pseudoscientific race-based genetics. Any revolution that claims it will not tolerate commemoration of any century-old enemies must put its handwipes where its mouth is. And revolutionaries always follow the path of least resistance. So in our era, that means the mob has focused on the hollow men and women now serving as university presidents, corporate CEOs, sports-franchise owners and coaches, politicians, news anchors, and even in some cases retired high-ranking officers of the military. It was easy wringing promises from these hierarchies to remove the trademark faces of Aunt Jemimah and Uncle Ben from popular food brands, and to win hundreds of new, costly diversity-coordinator billets, more mandatory race and gender indoctrination training, a “black” national anthem to be played at sporting events, and promises to BLM to rename military bases. Indeed, in no time, these elites were volunteering to debase themselves. Dan Cathy, CEO of the Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant chain, urged white people to shine the shoes of blacks in the manner that the disciples had washed the feet of Jesus — and indeed Dan Cathy sort of did just that when he polished the sneakers of rapper Lecrae. Such is the new bottom line of profits in corporate America. (…) The 1960s saw Southern rural folk culture as a sort of hippie alternative to the dominant wealth and suburbanism of the mainstream. And all that is supposedly over now? Could Ry Cooder sing “I’m a Good Old Rebel” for a movie like The Long Riders, exploring the contradictions of ex-Confederate thugs like the James boys and the Youngers? Would anyone play the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” or even the version of it by leftist Joan Baez? Could Ken Burns now still make The Civil War, 30 years after its original release, with a folksy Shelby Foote contextualizing the Confederate defeat as thousands of brave men dying for a tragic cause beneath them? Would a liberal Southerner like the late Jody Powell still dare to voice the words of Stonewall Jackson or Horton Foote or Jefferson Davis? In our more enlightened revolutionary times, were all these players useful idiots in the cause of racism? (…) In the exhilaration of exercising power ruthlessly and unchecked, the cultural revolutionists soon turn on their own: poor Trump-hating Dan Abrams losing his cop reality show, the two liberal trial lawyers armed on their mansion lawn in St. Louis terrified of the mob entering their gated estate community, bewildered CHOP activists wondering where the police were once mayhem and death were among them, the inner city of Chicago or New York in the age of police drawbacks wondering how high the daily murder rate will climb once shooters fathom that there are no police, and inner-city communities furious that the ER is too crowded with shooting victims to properly treat COVID-19 arrivals. Do we now really expect that the Wilson Center in Washington will be cancelled, the Washington Monument cut down to size, and Princeton, Yale, and Stanford renamed? The logic of the revolution says yes, but the liberal appeasers of it are growing uneasy. They are realizing that their own elite status and referents are now in the crosshairs. And so they are on the verge of becoming Thermidors. And what will the new icons be under our new revolutionary premises? Will we say the old statues were bad because they were not perfect, but the new replacements are perfect despite being a tad bad in places? Will we dedicate more memorials to Martin Luther King Jr., the great advocate of the civil-rights movement, or do we focus instead on his plagiarism, his often poor treatment of women, and his reckless promiscuity? Gandhi is gone, but who replaces him, Subhas Chandra Bose? Will Princeton rename their school of diplomacy in honor of the martyred Malcom X, slain by the black nationalist Nation of Islam? Malcom may now become ubiquitous, but he said things about white people that would have made what Wilson said about black people look tame. Puritanical cultural revolutionaries are always a minority of society. But whether they win or lose — that is, whether they end up as Bolsheviks or Jacobins — hinges on how successfully they terrify the masses into submission, and how quickly they can do that before repulsion grows over their absurd violence and silly rhetoric. When the backlash comes, as it must when mobs destroy statues at night, loot, burn, and obliterate what Mao called the “four olds” of a culture revolution — Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas — it may not be pretty. We can see its contours already: Asian Americans further discriminated against to allow for new university mandates jettisoning SAT scores and GPAs, while schools set new larger percentages of African-American admissions and transform their entire diversity industry into a black-advocacy enterprise; virtue-signaling and now hard-left white CEOs and college presidents and provosts asked to step down, to do their own small white-male part in yielding their prized jobs to someone more woke and less pink. Gun sales are at record levels. I supposed the revolutionaries never investigated the original idea of a police force and the concept of the government’s legal monopoly on violence? It was not just to protect the law-abiding from the criminal, but to protect the criminal from the outraged vigilante. Only police can stop blood feuds such as the ones we see in Chicago or like the medieval ones of Iceland’s Njáls saga, or the postbellum slaughtering of the Hatfields and McCoys. We are already seeing a counterrevolution — as the Left goes ballistic that anyone would appear on his lawn pointing a semiautomatic rifle to protect mere “brick and mortar.” Without a functioning police force, do we really believe that the stockbroker is going to walk home in the evening in New York City without a firearm, or that the suburbanite in Minneapolis in an expansive home will not have a semiautomatic rifle, or that the couple who drives to Los Angeles with the kids to visit Disneyland will not have a 9mm automatic in their car console? The Left has energized the Second Amendment in a way the NRA never could, and for the next decade, there will be more guns in pockets, cars, and homes than at any time in history. Do Nike, the NFL, and the NBA really believe that their fan clientele will buy into the Black Lives Matter special national anthem and BLM corporate logos on their uniforms? Publicly, perhaps their clients will say so, but at home and in private where fans have absolute control of the remotes or their Amazon accounts, probably not. (…) The BLM problem is that never in history has a radical cultural revolution at its outset declared itself both race-based and yet predicated on a small minority of the population, whose strategy was to shame and debase the majority that was sympathetic to the idea of relegating race to insignificance. If sowing the wind has been getting ugly, reaping the whirlwind will be more so. Victor Davis Hanson
A l’exemple de Saturne, la Révolution dévore ses enfants
En ces temps étranges …
Où après l’hystérie collective du virus chinois
Puis, le psychodrame des iconoclastes (y compris religieux) du Black Lives Matter …
Certains policiers noirs commencent à s’inquiéter du chaos laissé dans leurs quartiers par des manifestations Black Lives Matter où il y a plus de blancs que dans les forces de police en face d’elles …
Et des responsables noirs américains en sont à plaider, devant la recrudescence des violences, pour le retour de la police
Et à l’heure où après le départ fracassant, pour cause de pensée non conforme, d’une journaliste du New York Times …
Un autre de ses confrères progressistes se voit pousser dehors du New York magazine …
Comment ne pas repenser …
A la célèbre formule, au moment justement où la révolution française commençait à dévorer ses propres enfants, du journaliste et publiciste genevois Jacques Mallet du Pan  ?
Et comment ne pas en voir la meilleure métaphore …
Dans la fulfurance avec laquelle …
Un couple de stars du barreau de Saint Louis il y a deux semaines  …
Est passé pilori médiatique oblige …
Pour être descendus les armes à la main pieds nus dans leur jardin …
Dans la panique suscitée par un groupes de manifestants Black lives matter passant devant leurs portes…
De valeureux défenseurs des victimes en tous genres de la société américaine …
A meilleurs mais bien involontaires supports publicitaires de la NRA ?
Year Zero
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review
July 7, 2020Every cultural revolution starts at year zero, whether explicitly or implicitly. The French Revolution recalibrated the calendar to begin anew, and the genocidal Pol Pot declared his own Cambodian revolutionary ascension as the beginning of time.

Somewhere after May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd, while in police custody, sparked demonstrations, protests, and riots. And they in turn ushered in a new revolutionary moment. Or at least we were told that — in part by Black Lives Matter, in part by Antifa, in part by terrified enablers in the corporate world, the new Democratic Party, the military, the universities, and the media.

What was uniquely different about this cultural revolution was how willing and quickly the entire progressive establishment — elected officials, celebrities, media, universities, foundations, retired military — was either on the side of the revolution or saw it as useful in aborting the Trump presidency, or was terrified it would be targeted and so wished to appease the Jacobins.

This reborn America was to end all of the old that had come before and supposedly pay penance for George Floyd’s death and, by symbolic extension, America’s inherent evil since 1619. As in all cultural revolutions, the protestors claimed at first at that they wanted only to erase supposedly reactionary elements: Confederate statues, movies such as Gone with the Wind, some hurtful cartoons, and a few cranky conservative professors and what not.

But soon such recalibration steam rolled, fueled by acquiescence, fright, and timidity. Drunk with ego and power, it moved on to attack almost anything connected with the past or present of the United States itself.

Soon statues of General Grant, and presidents including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson were either toppled or defaced. The message was that their crimes were being white and privileged — in the way that today’s white and privileged should meet a similar fate. Or, as the marchers, who tried to storm Beverly Hills, put it: “Eat the Rich.” They were met by tear gas, and not a single retired general double-downed on his outrage at law enforcement for using tear gas against civilians. Did the BLM idea of cannibalizing the billionaires include LeBron James, Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, and likely soon-to-be billionaire Barack Obama?

Name changing is always a barometer of a year-zero culture revolution that seeks to wipe out the past and, with it, anyone wedded to it. And so it was only a matter of time that the Woodrow Wilson Princeton School of Public and International Affairs was Trotskyized. Liberals cringed but kept silent, given that Wilson is still a hero for his support of the League of Nations, and his utopian efforts at Versailles, despite his characteristic progressive allegiance to pseudoscientific race-based genetics.

Rebranding

Any revolution that claims it will not tolerate commemoration of any century-old enemies must put its handwipes where its mouth is. And revolutionaries always follow the path of least resistance. So in our era, that means the mob has focused on the hollow men and women now serving as university presidents, corporate CEOs, sports-franchise owners and coaches, politicians, news anchors, and even in some cases retired high-ranking officers of the military.

It was easy wringing promises from these hierarchies to remove the trademark faces of Aunt Jemimah and Uncle Ben from popular food brands, and to win hundreds of new, costly diversity-coordinator billets, more mandatory race and gender indoctrination training, a “black” national anthem to be played at sporting events, and promises to BLM to rename military bases.

Indeed, in no time, these elites were volunteering to debase themselves. Dan Cathy, CEO of the Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant chain, urged white people to shine the shoes of blacks in the manner that the disciples had washed the feet of Jesus — and indeed Dan Cathy sort of did just that when he polished the sneakers of rapper Lecrae. Such is the new bottom line of profits in corporate America.

Yet, the culture of erasure takes some time to reach all the eddies and pools of a huge society as variegated as America. Take the new reconstruction of the Civil War. In the old days before this May, the war was considered a catastrophic nemesis due a hubristic Confederacy. Yet, given that there were only 7 to 8 percent of the nation’s households in 1860 owning slaves, it should have been possible to end slavery without harvesting nearly 700,000 Americans.

But it was not, because — according to the traditional American tragic theme — millions of non-slave-owning white poor of the Confederacy fought tenaciously, and ultimately for a plantation culture that had marginalized them. Their rationale was that their sacred soil and homes were “invaded” by “Yankees” in a war of “Northern aggression.”

Liberal Hollywood bought into this tragic notion of misguided but somewhat honorable losers who had headed westward, penniless in defeat, after the war. Most Westerns of the 1950s — John Ford’s The Searchers or George Stevens’s Shane — saw Confederate pedigrees of a losing and disreputable cause as central to the outsider’s creed of the gunfighter. These Confederate vets were dead-enders useful in ridding a fragile civilization on the frontier of its demons, but too volatile to live within it during the peaceful aftermath when gunplay was no longer needed.

The 1960s saw Southern rural folk culture as a sort of hippie alternative to the dominant wealth and suburbanism of the mainstream.

And all that is supposedly over now?

Could Ry Cooder sing “I’m a Good Old Rebel” for a movie like The Long Riders, exploring the contradictions of ex-Confederate thugs like the James boys and the Youngers?

Would anyone play the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” or even the version of it by leftist Joan Baez?

Could Ken Burns now still make The Civil War, 30 years after its original release, with a folksy Shelby Foote contextualizing the Confederate defeat as thousands of brave men dying for a tragic cause beneath them? Would a liberal Southerner like the late Jody Powell still dare to voice the words of Stonewall Jackson or Horton Foote or Jefferson Davis? In our more enlightened revolutionary times, were all these players useful idiots in the cause of racism?

Are there now three Americas? One of white guilt and penance, one of black anger and victimization, and another seething in silence as they see their 244 years of history written off as something worse than the pasts of Somalia, Peru, Iran, or Serbia.

There are now two realities — beyond two national anthems, beyond black and white dorms, black and white segregated safe spaces on campus, and beyond now segregated black and white history, language, philosophy, and science and math.

For blatantly racist diatribes dug up from the past, there is one standard of contextualization for 1619 architect Nikole Hannah-Jones and the creators of Black Lives Matter, and another that forces silly entertainers like late-night host Jimmy Kimmel to go into exile? In the new America, skin color adjudicates whether one can with impunity be openly racist — as it used to be before the civil-rights movement, whose values and methods the Left purportedly seeks to embrace and resurrect.

If so, then we know from history the script that now follows.

In the exhilaration of exercising power ruthlessly and unchecked, the cultural revolutionists soon turn on their own: poor Trump-hating Dan Abrams losing his cop reality show, the two liberal trial lawyers armed on their mansion lawn in St. Louis terrified of the mob entering their gated estate community, bewildered CHOP activists wondering where the police were once mayhem and death were among them, the inner city of Chicago or New York in the age of police drawbacks wondering how high the daily murder rate will climb once shooters fathom that there are no police, and inner-city communities furious that the ER is too crowded with shooting victims to properly treat COVID-19 arrivals.

Do we now really expect that the Wilson Center in Washington will be cancelled, the Washington Monument cut down to size, and Princeton, Yale, and Stanford renamed?

The logic of the revolution says yes, but the liberal appeasers of it are growing uneasy. They are realizing that their own elite status and referents are now in the crosshairs. And so they are on the verge of becoming Thermidors.

And what will the new icons be under our new revolutionary premises?

Will we say the old statues were bad because they were not perfect, but the new replacements are perfect despite being a tad bad in places? Will we dedicate more memorials to Martin Luther King Jr., the great advocate of the civil-rights movement, or do we focus instead on his plagiarism, his often poor treatment of women, and his reckless promiscuity? Gandhi is gone, but who replaces him, Subhas Chandra Bose? Will Princeton rename their school of diplomacy in honor of the martyred Malcom X, slain by the black nationalist Nation of Islam? Malcom may now become ubiquitous, but he said things about white people that would have made what Wilson said about black people look tame.

Puritanical cultural revolutionaries are always a minority of society. But whether they win or lose — that is, whether they end up as Bolsheviks or Jacobins — hinges on how successfully they terrify the masses into submission, and how quickly they can do that before repulsion grows over their absurd violence and silly rhetoric.

When the backlash comes, as it must when mobs destroy statues at night, loot, burn, and obliterate what Mao called the “four olds” of a culture revolution — Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas — it may not be pretty.

We can see its contours already: Asian Americans further discriminated against to allow for new university mandates jettisoning SAT scores and GPAs, while schools set new larger percentages of African-American admissions and transform their entire diversity industry into a black-advocacy enterprise; virtue-signaling and now hard-left white CEOs and college presidents and provosts asked to step down, to do their own small white-male part in yielding their prized jobs to someone more woke and less pink.

Gun sales are at record levels. I supposed the revolutionaries never investigated the original idea of a police force and the concept of the government’s legal monopoly on violence? It was not just to protect the law-abiding from the criminal, but to protect the criminal from the outraged vigilante.

Only police can stop blood feuds such as the ones we see in Chicago or like the medieval ones of Iceland’s Njáls saga, or the postbellum slaughtering of the Hatfields and McCoys. We are already seeing a counterrevolution — as the Left goes ballistic that anyone would appear on his lawn pointing a semiautomatic rifle to protect mere “brick and mortar.”

Without a functioning police force, do we really believe that the stockbroker is going to walk home in the evening in New York City without a firearm, or that the suburbanite in Minneapolis in an expansive home will not have a semiautomatic rifle, or that the couple who drives to Los Angeles with the kids to visit Disneyland will not have a 9mm automatic in their car console? The Left has energized the Second Amendment in a way the NRA never could, and for the next decade, there will be more guns in pockets, cars, and homes than at any time in history.

Do Nike, the NFL, and the NBA really believe that their fan clientele will buy into the Black Lives Matter special national anthem and BLM corporate logos on their uniforms? Publicly, perhaps their clients will say so, but at home and in private where fans have absolute control of the remotes or their Amazon accounts, probably not.

The counterrevolution will be easy to spot. Suddenly a left-wing institution will refuse to change its name. Gone with the Wind will insidiously reappear on the schedule of TBN classic movies. Statue topplers all of a sudden will be scouted out and arrested and have felonies on their record — and no one will complain.

NFL’s attendance will crater. Joe Biden will begin cataloguing both good and bad statues, and correct and incorrect name changing, and by October he will be saying, “One the one hand . . . on the other hand . . . ”

Segregation will doom this revolution. It is the worst poison in a multiracial society. Yet it is the signature issue of Black Lives Matter — everything from separate safe spaces and theme houses based on skin color in universities to specials fees and rules for non-blacks. The popular forces of integration, assimilation, and intermarriage will not be harnessed by racial-separatist czars, asking for DNA pedigrees as they sleuth for microaggressions and implicit biases.

The BLM problem is that never in history has a radical cultural revolution at its outset declared itself both race-based and yet predicated on a small minority of the population, whose strategy was to shame and debase the majority that was sympathetic to the idea of relegating race to insignificance. 

If sowing the wind has been getting ugly, reaping the whirlwind will be more so.

Voir aussi:

Vidéo : un riche couple d’Américains sort lourdement armé pour défendre sa propriété contre des manifestants

La scène est à peine croyable. Des manifestants américains du mouvement «Black lives matter» se rendant devant le domicile de la maire de Saint Louis, Lyda Krewson, pour exiger sa démission, ont été menacés dimanche par un couple d’avocats, lourdement armés, alors qu’ils passaient devant leur villa.

Mark et Patricia McCloskey ont ainsi été filmés pointant leurs armes en direction des 300 personnes marchant devant eux. Lui tenait un fusil de type AR-15, quand sa femme préférait brandir une arme de poing. NBC News rapporte que les portails de plusieurs propriétés du quartier ont été détériorés. Ironie de l’histoire, le couple en question a fait de la défense des victimes de dommages corporels sa spécialité.

Le président Trump a retweeté une vidéo de l’incident, sans le commenter. La scène a, faut-il s’en douter, choqué un nombre important d’internautes. D’autres y ont vu l’occasion de lancer des parodies.

Voir également:

Médias.

Démission au “New York Times” : “Ils me traitent de nazie et de raciste”

Courrier international

Décrivant un environnement de travail “intolérant” et fustigeant une certaine bien-pensance qui confine à l’“autocensure”, Bari Weiss, une journaliste chargée de faire vivre la diversité des opinions dans les colonnes du prestigieux quotidien américain, a présenté sa démission.

Sa lettre de démission est adressée à Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, directeur de la publication du New York Times. Dans ce texte publié sur son site personnel, Bari Weiss explique les raisons de son départ du quotidien de centre gauche.

Auteure et éditrice des pages Opinion du journal depuis 2017, la journaliste rappelle avoir été embauchée “dans le but de faire venir au journal les voix qui n’apparaîtraient pas dans ses pages autrement : […] les centristes, les conservateurs et ceux qui ne se sentent pas chez eux au New York Times. La raison de ce recrutement était claire : le journal n’avait pas anticipé le résultat de l’élection présidentielle de 2016, ce qui montrait qu’il n’avait pas une bonne compréhension du pays qu’il couvre.”

Pourtant, écrit Bari Weiss, le journal “n’a pas tiré les enseignements qui auraient dû suivre le scrutin”.

Mes incursions dans la pensée non orthodoxe ont fait de moi l’objet d’un harcèlement constant de la part de mes collègues qui ne partagent pas mes opinions. Ils me traitent de nazie et de raciste […]. Mon travail et ma personne sont ouvertement dénigrés sur les chaînes Slack [outil de communication interne] de la société […]. Certains collaborateurs y soutiennent qu’il faut se débarrasser de moi si le journal veut être véritablement ‘inclusif’ et d’autres postent l’émoji de la hache [‘ax’ signifie à la fois ‘hache’ et ‘virer’] à côté de mon nom.”

Dans un article écrit par le spécialiste média du quotidien américain, le New York Times indique que “Mme Weiss […] est connue pour sa tendance à remettre en question certains aspects des mouvements pour la justice sociale qui se développent depuis quelques années”. Ainsi, le mois dernier, la journaliste de 36 ans avait critiqué l’émoi d’une partie de sa rédaction après la publication d’une tribune d’un sénateur républicain demandant une intervention militaire pour “rétablir l’ordre” face aux manifestations du mouvement Black Lives Matter.

Dans la foulée, Bari Weiss décrivait sur Twitter la “guerre civile” qui ferait rage au sein de la rédaction du NYT et d’autres médias américains entre la “‘Nouvelle Garde’ – des gens en général jeunes qui sont attachés à la justice sociale – et la ‘Vieille Garde’ – les progressistes qui ont en général plus de 40 ans”. “Nombre de membres de la rédaction ont protesté sur Twitter et déclaré que c’était faux ou que cela ne représentait pas leurs positions”, commente l’article du New York Times.

“Twitter ne figure pas sur la une du New York Times, mais il en est devenu le rédacteur en chef ultime”, poursuit Bari Weiss dans sa lettre, regrettant les extrêmes précautions que prendrait l’équipe du quotidien pour ne pas froisser ses lecteurs les plus “éveillés”. Sur un ton railleur, elle interroge :

Pourquoi proposer quelque chose de difficile à avaler pour nos lecteurs, ou écrire quelque chose d’audacieux pour finir par passer par le processus abrutissant de le rendre idéologiquement acceptable, alors que nous pouvons assurer notre emploi (et des clics) en publiant une 4 000e tribune avançant que Donald Trump constitue un danger pour le pays et pour le monde ? L’autocensure est ainsi devenue la norme.”

“Nous remercions Bari pour les nombreuses contributions qu’elle a apportées à la rubrique Opinion. Je suis personnellement déterminée à ce que le New York Times continue à publier des voix, des vécus et des points de vue venant de tout l’échiquier politique dans la page Opinion”, a réagi Kathleen Kingsbury, responsable de cette rubrique.

Voir de même:

« L’Amérique vit un nouveau Moyen Âge, avec son oligarchie, ses clercs et son dogme »

GRAND ENTRETIEN – Notre monde est entré «dans un nouveau Moyen Âge» version high-tech, marqué par un accroissement inquiétant des inégalités, avertit le géographe Joel Kotkin.

Laure Mandeville
Le Figaro
16 juillet 2020

«Le Meilleur des mondes» décrit par Aldous Huxley serait-il en train de pointer le nez sur les côtes de Californie et de gagner l’Amérique? Dans son nouveau livre, L’Avènement du néo-féodalisme, le géographe américain Joel Kotkin, cousin californien du géographe français Christophe Guilluy, qui scrute depuis des années avec inquiétude la destruction des classes moyennes à la faveur de la délocalisation et de la financiarisation de l’économie, s’interroge sur la «tyrannie» que dessine l’émergence d’une oligarchie ultra-puissante et contrôlant une technologie envahissante.

Joel Kotkin décrit l’alliance de l’oligarchie de la Silicon Valley, composée de quelques milliardaires passionnés de transhumanisme, et persuadés que la technologie est la réponse à tous les problèmes, avec une classe intellectuelle de «clercs» qui se comporte comme un «nouveau clergé» et instaure de nouveaux dogmes – sur la globalisation, le genre, «le privilège blanc» – avec une ferveur toute religieuse. Il devient dangereux d’exprimer ses désaccords, regrette cet ancien social-démocrate, qui explique ne plus avoir sa place à gauche. Une situation d’intolérance que le départ fracassant de la journaliste Bari Weiss du New York Times , forcée de quitter le navire sous la pression de pairs devenus «censeurs», vient d’illustrer avec éloquence.

LE FIGARO. – Vous publiez L’Avènement du néo-féodalisme*, un ouvrage qui décrit l’émergence en Amérique, et plus encore en Chine, en Europe et même au Japon, d’un système caractérisé par une concentration de plus en plus inégalitaire de la richesse et du pouvoir entre les mains d’une petite minorité de «seigneurs» de la tech et de la finance. Retournons-nous vraiment au Moyen Âge version high-tech ?

Joel KOTKIN. – Nous vivons effectivement une époque qui rappelle le Moyen Âge avec son oligarchie, ses clercs et son dogme. Une sorte d’aristocratie de la tech a émergé et a fait alliance avec la classe intellectuelle, pour mettre en place une nouvelle vision de la société, qui a pour ambition de remplacer les valeurs plus traditionnelles portées depuis l’après-guerre par la classe moyenne. Tout l’enjeu futur de la politique est de savoir si «le tiers état» d’aujourd’hui – les classes moyennes paupérisées et les classes populaires – se soumettra à leur contrôle. Nous sommes entrés dans le paradigme d’une oligarchie concentrant la richesse nationale à un point jamais atteint à l’époque contemporaine. Cinq compagnies détiennent l’essentiel de la richesse nationale en Amérique! Une poignée de patrons de la tech et «leurs chiens de garde» de la finance, contrôlent chacun des fortunes de dizaines de milliards de dollars en moyenne et ils ont à peine 40 ans, ce qui veut dire que nous allons devoir vivre avec eux et leur influence pour tout le reste de nos vies!

La globalisation et la financiarisation ont été des facteurs majeurs de cette concentration effrénée de la richesse. La délocalisation de l’industrie vers la Chine a coûté 1,5 million d’emplois manufacturiers au Royaume-Uni, et 3,4 millions à l’Amérique. Les PME, les entreprises familiales, l’artisanat, ont été massivement détruits, débouchant sur une paupérisation des classes moyennes, qui étaient le cœur du modèle capitaliste libéral américain. La crise du coronavirus a accéléré la tendance. Les compagnies de la tech sortent grandes gagnantes de l’épreuve. Jeff Bezos, le patron d’Amazon, vient juste d’annoncer que sa capitalisation a progressé de 30 milliards de dollars alors que les petites compagnies se noient! Les inégalités de classe ne font que s’accélérer, avec une élite intellectuelle et managériale qui s’en sort très bien – les fameux clercs qui peuvent travailler à distance – , et le reste de la classe moyenne qui s’appauvrit. Les classes populaires, elles, ont subi le virus de plein fouet, ont bien plus de risques de l’attraper, ont souffert du confinement dans leurs petits appartements, et ont pour beaucoup perdu leur travail. C’est un tableau très sombre qui émerge avec une caste de puissants ultra-étroite et de «nouveaux serfs», sans rien de substantiel entre les deux: 70 % des Américains estiment que leurs enfants vivront moins bien qu’eux.

La destruction systématique de notre passé est très dangereuse. Cela nous ramène à l’esprit de la Révolution culturelle chinoise. Si l’on continue, il n’y aura plus que des tribus

Vous écrivez que la Silicon Valley est une sorte de laboratoire futuriste de ce qui attend l’Amérique. Votre description ne donne pas envie…

La Silicon Valley, jadis une terre promise des self-made-men est devenue le visage de l’inégalité et des nouvelles forteresses industrielles. Les géants technologiques comme Google ou Facebook ont tué la culture des start-up née dans les garages californiens dans les années 1970 et qui a perduré jusque dans les années 1990, car ils siphonnent toute l’innovation. Je suis évidemment pour la défense de l’environnement, mais l’idéologie verte très radicale qui prévaut en Californie avantage aussi les grandes compagnies qui seules peuvent survivre aux régulations environnementales drastiques, alors que les PME n’y résistent pas ou s’en vont ailleurs. On sous-estime cet aspect socio-économique de la «transition écologique», qui exclut les classes populaires et explique par exemple vos «gilets jaunes», comme le raconte le géographe Christophe Guilluy. Vu la concentration de richesses, l’immobilier californien a atteint des prix records et les classes populaires ont été boutées hors de San Francisco, pourtant un bastion du «progressisme» politique. La ville, qui se veut l’avant-garde de l’antiracisme et abritait jadis une communauté afro-américaine très vivante, n’a pratiquement plus d’habitants noirs, à peine 5 %, un autre paradoxe du progressisme actuel.

Vous parlez d’alliance de cette oligarchie avec de nouveaux clercs, presque un nouveau «clergé», gardien des nouveaux «dogmes». Que voulez-vous dire?

Il y a un vrai parallèle entre la situation d’aujourd’hui et l’alliance de l’aristocratie et du clergé avant la Révolution française. Et cela vaut pour tous les pays occidentaux. Ces clercs rassemblent les élites intellectuelles d’aujourd’hui, qui sont presque toutes situées à gauche. Si je les nomme ainsi, c’est pour souligner le caractère presque religieux de l’orthodoxie qu’elles entendent imposer, comme jadis l’Église catholique. Au XIIIe siècle, à l’université de Paris, personne n’aurait osé douter de l’existence de Dieu. Aujourd’hui, personne n’ose contester sans risque les nouveaux dogmes, j’en sais quelque chose. Je suis pourtant loin d’être conservateur, je suis un social-démocrate de la vieille école, qui juge les inégalités de classe plus pertinentes que les questions d’identité, de genre, mais il n’y a plus de place pour des gens comme moi dans l’univers mental et politique de ces élites. Elles entendent remplacer les valeurs de la famille et de la liberté individuelle qui ont fait le succès de l’Amérique après-guerre et la prospérité de la classe moyenne, par un credo qui allie défense du globalisme, justice sociale (définie comme la défense des minorités raciales et sexuelles, NDLR), modèle de développement durable imposé par le haut et redéfinition des rôles familiaux. Elles affirment que le développement durable est plus important que la croissance qui permettait de sortir les classes populaires de la pauvreté. Ce point créera une vraie tension sociale. Ce qui est frappant, c’est l’uniformité de ce «clergé».

Parmi les journalistes, seulement 7 % se disent républicains. C’est la même chose, voire pire, dans les universités, le cinéma, la musique. On n’a plus le droit d’être en désaccord avec quoi que ce soit! Écrire que le problème de la communauté noire est plus un problème socio-économique que racial, est devenu risqué, et peut vous faire traiter de raciste! J’ai travaillé longtemps comme journaliste avant d’enseigner, et notamment pour le Washington Post, le Los Angeles Times et d’autres… Il arrive que j’y trouve encore de très bons papiers, mais dans l’ensemble, je ne peux plus les lire tellement ils sont biaisés sur les sujets liés à la question raciale, à Trump ou à la politique! Je n’ai aucune sympathie pour Donald Trump, que je juge toxique, mais la haine qu’il suscite va trop loin. On voit se développer un journalisme d’opinion penchant à gauche, qui mène à ce que la Rand Corporation (une institution de recherche prestigieuse, fondée initialement pour les besoins de l’armée américaine, NDLR) qualifie de «décomposition de la vérité».

Je dois dire avoir aussi été très choqué par le «projet 1619» (ce projet affirme que l’origine de l’Amérique n’est pas 1776 et la proclamation de l’Indépendance, mais 1619 avec l’arrivée de bateaux d’esclaves sur les côtes américaines, NDLR), lancé par le New York Times, qui veut démontrer que toute l’histoire américaine est celle d’un pays raciste. Oui l’esclavage a été une chose horrible, mais les succès et progrès américains ne peuvent être niés au nom des crimes commis. Je n’ai rien contre le fait de déboulonner les généraux confédérés, qui ont combattu pour le Sud esclavagiste. Mais vouloir déboulonner le général Ulysse Grant, grand vainqueur des confédérés, ou encore George Washington, est absurde. La destruction systématique de notre passé, et du sens de ce qui nous tient ensemble, est très dangereuse. Cela nous ramène à l’esprit de la Révolution culturelle chinoise. Si l’on continue, il n’y aura plus que des tribus.

Vous soulignez le danger particulier de l’alliance de l’oligarchie de la tech et des élites, en raison du rôle croissant de la technologie…

Je crois que c’est Huxley qui dans Le Meilleur des mondes, affirme qu’une tyrannie appuyée sur la technologie ne peut être défaite. La puissance des oligarchies et des élites culturelles actuelles est renforcée par le rôle croissant de la technologie, qui augmente le degré de contrôle de ce que nous pensons, lisons, écoutons… Quand internet est apparu, il a suscité un immense espoir. On pensait qu’il ouvrirait une ère de liberté fertile pour les idées, mais c’est au contraire devenu un instrument de contrôle de l’information et de la pensée! Même si les blogs qui prolifèrent confèrent une apparence de démocratie et de diversité, la réalité actuelle c’est quelques compagnies basées dans la Silicon Valley qui exercent un contrôle de plus en plus lourd sur le flux d’informations. Près des deux tiers des jeunes s’informent sur les réseaux sociaux. De plus, Google, Facebook, Amazon sont en train de racheter les restes des médias traditionnels qu’ils n’ont pas tués. Ils contrôlent les studios de production de films, YouTube… Henry Ford et Andrew Carnegie n’étaient pas des gentils, mais ils ne vous disaient pas ce que vous deviez penser.

Trump va avoir du mal à gagner. Il pourrait revenir si une forme de rebond économique se dessine ou s’il s’avérait évident que Joe Biden n’a plus toutes ses capacités intellectuelles

Et que pensent ces nouveaux oligarques du XXIe siècle?

Ils sont persuadés que tous les problèmes ont une réponse technologique. Ce sont des techniciens brillants, grands adeptes du transhumanisme, peu préoccupés par la baisse de la natalité ou la question de la mobilité sociale, et bien plus déconnectés des classes populaires que les patrons d’entreprises sidérurgiques d’antan. Leur niveau d’ignorance sur le plan historique ou littéraire est abyssal, et en ce sens, ils sont sans doute plus effrayants encore que l’aristocratie d’Ancien Régime. De plus, se concentrer sur les sujets symboliques comme le genre, les transgenres, le changement climatique, leur permet d’évacuer les sujets de «classe», qui pourraient menacer leur pouvoir.

Que pensez-vous de la bataille entre Zuckerberg, qui a refusé de bannir les tweets de Trump, et les autres grands patrons de la tech, qui veulent bannir «les mauvaises pensées»?

Je pense que Zuckerberg a eu raison et qu’il a du courage, mais il semble être poussé à adopter un rôle de censeur. Un auteur que je connais, environnementaliste dissident, vient de voir sa page Facebook supprimée. C’est une tendance dangereuse, car laisser à quelques groupes privés le pouvoir de contrôler l’information, ouvre la voie à la tyrannie. Cela me ramène au thème central de ce livre qui se veut un manifeste en faveur de la classe moyenne, menacée de destruction après avoir été le pilier de nos démocraties. La démocratie est fondamentalement liée à la dispersion de la propriété privée. C’est pour cela que j’ai toujours eu de l’admiration pour les Pays-Bas, pays qui a toujours créé de la terre, en gagnant sur la mer, et a donc toujours assuré la croissance de sa classe moyenne. Quand cela cesse et que la richesse se concentre entre quelques mains, on revient à un contrôle de la société par le haut, qu’il soit établi par des régimes de droite ou de gauche.

Face à cette réalité, Trump et la rébellion anti-élites qui le porte pourraient-ils gagner à nouveau?

Trump est un idiot et un type détestable, qui, je l’espère, sera désavoué, car il suscite beaucoup de tensions négatives. Mais je n’ai jamais vu un président traité comme il l’a été. La volonté de le destituer était déjà envisagée avant même qu’il ait mis un pied à la Maison-Blanche! Je pense aussi que la presse n’est pas honnête à son sujet. Prenons par exemple son discours au mont Rushmore, l’un des meilleurs qu’il ait faits, et dans lequel il tente de réconcilier un soutien au besoin de justice raciale, et la défense du patrimoine américain. Il y a cité beaucoup de personnages importants comme Frederick Douglass ou Harriet Tubman, mais la presse n’en a pas moins rapporté qu’il s’agissait d’un discours raciste, destiné à rallier les suprémacistes blancs! On l’accuse de tyrannie, mais la plus grande tyrannie qui nous menace est l’alliance des oligarques et des clercs. Le seul avantage de Trump, c’est d’être un contre-pouvoir face à eux. Malheureusement, cela ne signifie pas qu’il ait une vision cohérente. Surtout, il divise terriblement le pays, or nous avons besoin d’une forme d’unité minimale.

Je dirais à ce stade que Trump va avoir du mal à gagner – j’évalue ses chances à une sur trois. Il pourrait revenir si une forme de rebond économique se dessine ou s’il s’avérait évident que Joe Biden n’a plus toutes ses capacités intellectuelles. Si les démocrates l’emportent, ma prédiction est qu’ils en feront trop, et qu’une nouvelle rébellion, qui nous fera regretter Trump, surgira en boomerang. À moins qu’une nouvelle génération de jeunes conservateurs – comme Josh Hawley, JD Vance ou Marco Rubio – capables de défendre les classes populaires tout en faisant obstacle à la révolution culturelle de la gauche, ne finisse par émerger. J’aimerais aussi voir un mouvement remettant vraiment le social à l’honneur se dessiner à gauche, mais je n’y crois pas trop, vu l’obsession de l’identité… Ce qui est sûr, c’est que l’esprit de 2016 et des «gilets jaunes» ne va pas disparaître. Regardez ce qui s’est passé en Australie: on pensait que les travaillistes gagneraient, mais ce sont les populistes qui ont raflé la mise, parce que la gauche verte était devenue tellement anti-industrielle, que les classes populaires l’ont désertée!

* The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, Joel Kotkin, Hardcover, 288 p., $20,65.

Voir de plus:

Dear A.G.,

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.

Sincerely,

Bari

Voir encore:

The Intelligencer
July 17, 2020

The good news is that my last column in this space is not about “cancel culture.” Well, almost. I agree with some of the critics that it’s a little nuts to say I’ve just been “canceled,” sent into oblivion and exile for some alleged sin. I haven’t. I’m just no longer going to be writing for a magazine that has every right to hire and fire anyone it wants when it comes to the content of what it wants to publish.

The quality of my work does not appear to be the problem. I have a long essay in the coming print magazine on how plagues change societies, after all. I have written some of the most widely read essays in the history of the magazine, and my column has been popular with readers. And I have no complaints about my interaction with the wonderful editors and fact-checkers here — and, in fact, am deeply grateful for their extraordinary talent, skill, and compassion. I’ve been in the office maybe a handful of times over four years, and so there’s no question of anyone mistreating me or vice versa. In fact, I’ve been proud and happy to be a part of this venture.

What has happened, I think, is relatively simple: A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, I’m a luxury item they don’t want to afford. And that’s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why I’m out of here.

Two years ago, I wrote that we all live on campus now. That is an understatement. In academia, a tiny fraction of professors and administrators have not yet bent the knee to the woke program — and those few left are being purged. The latest study of Harvard University faculty, for example, finds that only 1.46 percent call themselves conservative. But that’s probably higher than the proportion of journalists who call themselves conservative at the New York Times or CNN or New York Magazine. And maybe it’s worth pointing out that “conservative” in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.

It seems to me that if this conservatism is so foul that many of my peers are embarrassed to be working at the same magazine, then I have no idea what version of conservatism could ever be tolerated. And that’s fine. We have freedom of association in this country, and if the mainstream media want to cut ties with even moderate anti-Trump conservatives, because they won’t bend the knee to critical theory’s version of reality, that’s their prerogative. It may even win them more readers, at least temporarily. But this is less of a systemic problem than in the past, because the web has massively eroded the power of gatekeepers to suppress and control speech. I was among the first to recognize this potential for individual freedom of speech, and helped pioneer individual online media, specifically blogging, 20 years ago.

And this is where I’m now headed.

Since I closed down the Dish, my bloggy website, five years ago, after 15 years of daily blogging, I have not missed the insane work hours that all but broke my health. But here’s what I do truly and deeply miss: writing freely without being in a defensive crouch; airing tough, smart dissent and engaging with readers in a substantive way that avoids Twitter madness; a truly free intellectual space where anything, yes anything, can be debated without personal abuse or questioning of motives; and where readers can force me to change my mind (or not) by sheer logic or personal testimony.

I miss a readership that truly was eclectic — left, liberal, centrist, right, reactionary — and that loved to be challenged by me and by each other. I miss just the sheer fun that used to be a part of being a hack before all these dreadfully earnest, humor-free puritans took over the press: jokes, window views, silly videos, contests, puns, rickrolls, and so on. The most popular feature we ever ran was completely apolitical — The View From Your Window contest. It was as simple and humanizing as the current web is so fraught and dehumanizing. And in this era of COVID-19 isolation and despair, the need for a humane, tolerant, yet provocative and interesting, community is more urgent than ever.

So, yeah, after being prodded for years by Dishheads, I’m going to bring back the Dish.

I’ve long tried to figure out a way to have this kind of lively community without endangering my health and sanity. Which is why the Weekly Dish, which launches now, is where I’ve landed. The Weekly Dish will be hosted by Substack, a fantastic company that hosts an increasingly impressive number of individual free thinkers, like Jesse Singal and Matt Taibbi. There is a growing federation of independent thinkers and writers not subject to mainstream media’s increasingly narrow range of acceptable thought.

The initial basic formula — which, as with all things Dish, will no doubt evolve — is the following: this three-part column, with perhaps a couple of added short posts or features (I probably won’t be able to resist); a serious dissent section, where I can air real disagreement with my column, and engage with it constructively and civilly; a podcast, which I’ve long wanted to do, but never found a way to fit in; and yes, reader window views again, and the return of The View From Your Window contest. I’m able to do all this because Chris Bodenner, the guru of the Dish in-box and master of the Window View contest, is coming back to join me. He’ll select the dissents, as he long did, in ways that will put me on the spot.

Some have said that this good-faith engagement with lefty and liberal readers made me a better writer and thinker. And I think they’re right. Twitter has been bad for me; it’s just impossible to respond with the same care and nuance that I was able to at the Dish. And if we want to defend what’s left of liberal democracy, it’s not enough to expose and criticize the current model. We just need to model and practice liberal democracy better.

And that’s my larger hope and ambition. If the mainstream media will not host a diversity of opinion, or puts the “moral clarity” of some self-appointed saints before the goal of objectivity in reporting, if it treats writers as mere avatars for their race and gender or gender identity, rather than as unique individuals whose identity is largely irrelevant, then the nonmainstream needs to pick up the slack. What I hope to do at the Weekly Dish is to champion those younger writers who are increasingly shut out of the Establishment, to promote their blogs, articles, and podcasts, to link to them, and encourage them. I want to show them that they have a future in the American discourse. Instead of merely diagnosing the problem of illiberalism, I want to try to be part of the solution.

I’ll still probably piss you off, on a regular basis. “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,” as my journalistic mentor George Orwell put it. But I’ll also be directly accountable, and open to arguments that I, too, don’t want to hear but need to engage. And I hope to find readers who are fine with being pissed off — if it prompts them to reevaluate ideas.

If you believe in that vision or are simply interested in engaging a variety of ideas in a free-wheeling debate, then please join us. Those of you who were loyal Dishheads receive this column every Friday in an email, and you will get the same email next week directing you to the new Weekly Dish. If you are not on that list, or have not received an email lately, or have gotten to know me from my work at New York alone, you can add your name by clicking here.

The Weekly Dish will be free for a bit, while we iron out kinks and prep a podcast for the fall. But if you want to subscribe right away, or be a founding Weekly Dishhead, we’d love it, and it would help us enormously in getting this off the ground.

Dishness lives. All we’re waiting for is you.

See you next Friday.

Voir aussi:

Peak Jacobinism?

Even the woke eventually fear the guillotine. A few of its appeasers and abettors are becoming embarrassed by some of the outright racists and nihilists of BLM and the Maoists of Antifa — and their wannabe hangers-on who troll the Internet hoping to scalp some minor celebrity.

The woke rich too are worried over talk about substantial wealth, capital-gains, and income taxes, even though they have the resources to navigate around the legislation from their wink-and-nod brethren. Soon, even Hunter Biden and the Clintons could be checking in with their legal teams to see how much it will cost them to get around the Squad’s new tax plan.

The lines are thinning a bit for the guillotine. And the guillotiners are starting to panic as they glimpse faces of a restless mob always starved for something to top last night’s torching. Finally, even looters and arsonists get tired of doing the same old, same old each night. They get bored with the puerile bullhorn chants, the on-spec spray-paint defacement, and the petite fascists among them who hog the megaphones. For the lazy and bored, statue toppling — all of those ropes, those icky pry bars, those heavy sledgehammers, and so much pulling — becomes hard work, especially as the police, camera crews, and fisticuffs thin out on the ground. And the easy bronze and stone prey are now mostly rubble. Now it’s either the big, tough stuff like Mount Rushmore or the crazy targets like Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

There are only so many ways for adult-adolescents to chant monotonously “Eat the Rich! Kill the Pigs! Black Lives Matter!” blah, blah, blah. And there are only so many Road Warrior Antifa ensembles of black hoodies, black masks, black pants, and black padding — before it all it ends up like just another shrill teachers’-union meeting in the school cafeteria or a prolonged adolescent Halloween prankster show.

Some 150 leftist writers and artists recently signed a letter attesting that they are suddenly wary of cancel culture. They want it stopped and prefer free speech. Of course, they first throat-cleared about the evil Trump, as if the president had surveilled Associated Press reporters, or sicced the FBI on a political campaign, or used CIA informants and foreign dossier-mongers to undermine a political opponent. And some petition signers soon retracted, with “I didn’t know what I was doing” apologies. Nonetheless, it was a small sign that not all of the liberal intelligentsia were going to sit still and wait for the mob to swallow them.

They learned well from #MeToo that, in the end, being emancipated, feminist, and woke did not mean that anyone accused of anything was protected by the Bill of Rights, statutes of limitations, the right to cross-examination, sincere apologies, and all that reactionary jazz, whether the accused was Al Franken or Garrison Keillor. Everyone else can also learn from #MeToo: As the revolution moved on from Brett Kavanaugh to Joe Biden himself, it went the way of the fading Jacobins. Tara Reid, after all, was tsked-tsked away in the old-boy “she’s lying” fashion. If not, then she might have empowered the evil Trump in his reelection bid.

The Lincoln County, Ore., authorities just backed off from their earlier homage to Jim Crow — they had issued an edict that all residents would be equal and wear masks in public except African Americans, who would be more equal than others and not be required to wear them. Even Oregon has standards?

The CEO of Goya, Robert Unanue, recently ignored calls to ruin his company — for his sin of praising the U.S. president. So far, he seems utterly unfazed by the pajama-boy mob.

The inveterate racist and anti-Semite Al Sharpton can’t decide whether he wants to dynamite Mount Rushmore or chisel Obama’s visage on it. How strange that the radical Left is divorcing the Democratic Party from all its iconic American referents and leaving them with nothing to replace them except painted slogans of Black Lives Matter on city streets, Kente-cloth shawls, and a Woodie Guthrie song or two. Bill de Blasio believes it is legal for a mayor to ban all public demonstrations — except those predicated on skin color, as he exempts Black Lives Matter outings. That Confederate idea may be too much even for the city’s liberals in hiding.

Seattle’s CHAZ/CHOP is gone. Warlord Raz Simone is back to his capitalist land-lording without even a citation for trespassing. Maybe former CHOP residents will get a discount at his Airbnb rentals.

The streets of our big cities are no longer a “summer of love” hate-fest targeting Donald Trump, but downright scary, given that murdering someone on sight is a COVID-get-out-of-jail-free crime. Blue-state officials green-lighted the multibillion-dollar wreckage and are now coming cup in hand, begging the Trump administration to pay for it. Their logic is: “Don’t dare send your damn troops to interrupt our beautiful looting and arson, but now please send your racist money for us to clean up the mess.”

In California, the jails and prisons are emptying, ostensibly because of the virus, in reality to enact a long-desired agenda of emptying and defunding prisons. As a result, you cannot find an automatic handgun in most California gun shops: The more left-wing a community, the harder to find a gun on the shelf. For what reason do liberals think liberals are buying guns?

COVID-19 is back for a while. The more the Left insists that millions in the streets for a month were not violating quarantines and had no effect on the second wave, the more protestors got infected and graciously went home to spread it to their more vulnerable relatives. Even leftists who were not infected know that this narrative is untrue and that their own demonstrations essentially ended the legitimacy of mass quarantining.

The hated police are slowing down in anticipation of early retirements, layoffs, and budget shortages. The logic is that going into the inner city is a trifecta losing proposition for them: Either get shot, or get accused, or get hated for doing your proper duty. De facto “community policing” seems to be operating in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York as murder spikes and shooters rediscover how it once worked out in Deadwood, Dodge City, and Tombstone. One can learn a lot about “community policing” by watching a 1950s Western in which “community leaders” plead for the outgunned sheriff to remove the accused from his jail cell and hand him over to the posse, which, with one minor lynching, would make it all go away.

How did woke Beverley Hills left-wing zillionaires respond to the Black Lives marcher shouting into their enclave “Eat the Rich”?

Try now politically correct tear gas.

When an Atherton or Georgetown liberal calls 911, will he now first say: “One, I am not an angry white person calling to rat out a suspect of color. Two, I am not calling to save my ‘brick and mortar’ property at the expense of the life of a marginalized victim. Three, I support defunding the police. And so, four, look — an individual of unknown appearance may kind of, sort of be shattering our bedroom window and could be pondering a felonious infraction. So could you send out a community facilitator to inquire?”

The Marxist-birthed Black Lives Matter now resembles Robespierre’s ridiculous Cult of the Supreme Being. So likewise it has become our new state-sponsored religion for America’s nonbelievers. All that is left is to set up a BLM statue on a man-made mountain in D.C. where all can take the knee.

Suddenly retired generals are growing quiet. It’s as if the much-reported “small number” of violent protesters somehow got really, really big. And they do not necessarily worship the military.

Or maybe promises of renaming Fort Bragg and tearing down the Lee statue at West Point strangely did not quite satisfy the architects of Black Lives Matter. It is, after all, a blink of an eye from “Defund the Police!” to “Defund the Military!” (How strange that retired four-star generals in their sixties and seventies suddenly discovered in late spring 2020 that their once hallowed bases a century ago were named after racist Confederate mediocrities. Who would have thought?)

If the chairman of the Joint Chiefs won’t even appear on camera with the commander in chief who restored a decrepit Pentagon budget, and the pantheon of retired military luminaries believes that proof of a Mussolini, Nazi, or fascist in the White House is to be found in the act of securing the southern U.S. border, or not staying another 20 years in Afghanistan, or not inserting American youth into the middle of Kurdish-Turkish bloodletting while inside Russian- and Iranian-occupied fascist Syria, then many might decide that the U.S. military should deal on its own with the defunding Left.

The NFL pulled a Joe Biden VP trick and prematurely promised to play the “black national anthem” at a few games so that all can stand in homage in racial solidarity and then all kneel in disrespect for the subsequent ecumenical national anthem.

Players can wear political insignia to remind incorrect viewers at home about how they are to think correctly. Will extra points be given for great passes and catches by the most woke?

NFL owners can’t yet fathom how they have conjured up a brilliant new way of destroying a 100-year heritage and an inherited huge audience. Is the message of the most non-diverse players to their most diverse fans now to be: “We don’t like your racist country and won’t stand for your toxic anthem, but you owe us to stay tuned for the commercial ads and to come out to the stadium to pay oppressed multimillionaires like us”?

Anyone who watches such an NFL game this fall might as just as well get it over with and enroll in a more honest North Korean–style reeducation camp. If that doesn’t work out, one can always tune in to the NBA preseason and hear more lectures from philosopher-king coach Steven Kerr, contextualizing the many reasons the NBA honors the power of Chinese Communist Party money.

As the cities turn into wastelands, children are gunned down, and careers are destroyed, fewer and fewer bore us by intoning that Trump is Mussolini, or that he resembles the operators of Auschwitz. Fewer still care about the spiraling tragic carnage of the inner cities — not Black Lives Matter, not the Squad, not Nancy Pelosi.

When will we see the BLM/Antifa/Democratic agenda spelled out in full? A new inheritance tax for the midlevel retiring Google executives? A yearly wealth tax on Beyoncé, Cher, and LeBron James? No more carbon foot-printing in a private jet for Barack and Michelle, or Bill and Hillary? Reparations for Maxine Waters? No police force for Pacific Heights?

Terrified inner-city dwellers can’t count on their progressive governors or mayors, or sympathetic billionaires, who will soon be able to hire politically incorrect ex-policemen at a bargain to beef up their private security patrols.

So the revolution is tiring, devouring its own, terrifying its enablers, embarrassing its abettors, and becoming worried that somewhere some courageous nobody might dare say, “You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

The unhinged revolution is trying to make the U.S. into one big CHOP. Millions of Americans seem to be scrambling to avoid it, preferring instead to let the effort cannibalize itself at a safe distance — at least for now.

Voir également:

The Illiberal Liberal Media

As Bari Weiss’s departure confirms, the New York Times has narrowed its spectrum of allowable opinion.

Judith Miller

City Journal

July 14, 2020

What New York Times contributing editor and writer Bari Weiss recently called the “civil war” within the Times has just claimed another victim: Bari Weiss.

In a scathing open letter to publisher A. G. Sulzberger that instantly went viral on Twitter and other social media, Weiss asserted that she was resigning to protest the paper’s failure to defend her against internal and external bullying; senior editors’ abandonment of the paper’s ostensible commitment to publishing news and opinion that stray from an ideological orthodoxy; and the capitulation of many Times reporters and senior editors to the prevailing intolerance of far-Left mobs on Twitter, which she called the paper’s “ultimate editor.”

Weiss was apparently stripped of her role as editor, and not immediately offered another position; the implication that she was no longer welcome was clear. “The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people,” she wrote. “Nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back.”

Weiss did not respond to a request for comment. But friends and supporters said Tuesday that her decision was prompted in part by events surrounding the forced resignation last month of opinion editor James Bennet, to whom she reported during her three years at the Times. Bennet left the paper, and his deputy James Dao was demoted, after Times staffers revolted against their decision to publish an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton arguing for deploying the military into U.S. cities to quell riots, if local law enforcement was unable to restore order. Many staffers protested the paper’s decision to give Cotton the powerful platform of the Times’s opinion page.

Some reporters argued that the conservative senator’s claims were contradicted by the paper’s own coverage, and that publishing the essay had endangered blacks, including minority reporters at the paper. Other Times staffers criticized Weiss’s characterization of the debate over Bennet’s publication of the Cotton op-ed as a “civil war” inside the Times between “the (mostly young) wokes” and “(mostly 40+) liberals,” reflecting a broader culture war throughout the country. Several staffers attacked her for having betrayed the paper by publicly describing its internal feuds.

In the aftermath of the Cotton episode, Weiss and many others quietly opposed the paper’s new “red flag” system, which effectively enables even junior editors to “stop or delay the publication of an article containing a controversial view or position,” as one senior editor characterized it.

Weiss has been a lightning rod ever since arriving from the Wall Street Journal, along with her friend, former colleague, and fellow columnist Bret Stephens, who declined to comment today on her resignation. Soon after joining the Times, she wrote a piece about a figure skater of Asian-American descent who was the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics. She was attacked on Twitter after posting a story on the achievement, tweeting the line from the Hamilton musical “Immigrants get the job done”—but the skater was not an immigrant herself, merely the child of immigrants. Twitter exploded, accusing Weiss of “othering” an Asian-American woman.

At the Times, Weiss described herself as a centrist liberal concerned that far-Left critiques stifled free speech. She frequently wrote about anti-Semitism and the Women’s March and warned of the dangers of overly zealous proponents of #MeToo culture in a controversial column about comic Aziz Ansari, which inspired a skit on Saturday Night Live. One friend said that many of Weiss’s Times colleagues resented her because they envied her success. “She was a mid-level editor who made a splash and whose essays became the basis of Saturday Night Live skits,” the friend and former colleague said, asking not to be named.

In her letter, Weiss wrote that she had joined the paper to help publish “voices that would not otherwise appear in the paper of record, such as first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of the Times as their home.” She had been hired, she wrote, after the paper failed to anticipate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory because it “didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers.” But after three years at the paper, she wrote in her open letter, Weiss had concluded, “with sadness,” that she could no longer perform this mission at the nation’s ostensible paper of record, given the bullying that she had experienced within the newsroom and the almost daily attacks on her, often from Times colleagues, on social media. She deplored the paper’s unwillingness to defend her or act to stop the online intimidation. “They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m ‘writing about the Jews again,’” she wrote.

Her criticism of Sulzberger rang true to several Times veterans, who note that he has been accused before of yielding to disgruntled liberal staff members. A publisher said to have intervened often in the paper’s news decisions, Sulzberger initially defended James Bennet and the decision to publish the Cotton op-ed, for instance. But faced with a staff revolt, he criticized the essay and the paper’s publication of it, saying that the editorial process had been too “rushed” and that the essay “did not meet our standards.”

Weiss’s departure was quickly hailed by her many critics within and outside of the paper on social media, among them Glenn Greenwald, who has called her a “hypocrite” for her alleged efforts to suppress Arab professors while in college, and for her defense of Israel and some of its controversial policies as a newspaper writer. But her stinging letter rang true to many others, among them former presidential aspirant Andrew Yang and talk-show host Bill Maher. “As a longtime reader who has in recent years read the paper with increasing dismay over just the reasons outlined here, I hope this letter finds receptive ears at the paper. But for the reasons outlined here, I doubt it,” Maher wrote on Twitter.

Her resignation was also lamented by such leading right-of-center thinkers as Glenn Loury. “What a shame—for the country, and on the Times,” wrote Loury, an economics professor at Brown University, in an email. Calling Weiss “courageous,” he added that while the climate she described at the paper was “no surprise,” that it had “driven her to this point is, indeed, shocking.” He also noted that Weiss was one of the few Times writers to sign the controversial “Harpers letter,” which he speculated might have been “the last straw” for the paper.

That letter, signed by over 150 academics, writers, and other intellectuals and artists, decried the “rising illiberalism” resulting not only from President Trump and his followers’ provocations, but also from what signatories called the growing “dogma and coercion” of those who oppose Trump. The rise of online mobs to suppress controversial views with which they disagree, said the letter, has become “a potent and possibly destructive force.” The signers deplored what they described as American liberals’ growing “intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

Only one prominent Times reporter was quick to leap to Weiss’s defense. “It’s one thing that many of our readers and staff disagree with @bariweiss’ views—fine,” tweeted Rukmini Callimachi, an award-winning foreign correspondent and reporter. “But the fact that she has been openly bullied, not just on social media, but in internal slack channels is not okay.”

In a statement, acting editorial page editor Kathleen Kingbury said that the paper appreciated “the many contributions that Bari made to Times Opinion.” A Times spokesperson said that Sulzberger was not planning to issue a public response to Weiss’s letter. But given the evidently censorious climate at the paper of record these days, silence should not surprise us.

Voir de plus:

July 16, 2020

The intellectually intolerant mob claimed two high-profile victims Tuesday with the resignations of New York Times editor Bari Weiss and New York Magazine journalist Andrew Sullivan. These are just two examples of the deadly virus spreading through our public life: McCarthyism of the woke.

McCarthyism is the pejorative term liberals gave to the anti-communist crusades of 1950s-era Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. From his perch as chair of the Government Operations Committee, McCarthy launched a wave of investigations to ferret out supposed communist subversion of government agencies. Armed with his favorite question — “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” — McCarthy terrorized his targets and silenced his critics. Thousands of people lost their jobs as a result, often based on nothing more than innuendo or chance associations.

The mob fervor extended to the state governments and the private sector, too. States enacted “loyalty oaths” requiring people employed by the government, including tenured university faculty members, to disavow “radical beliefs” or lose their jobs. Many refused and were fired. Hollywood notoriously rooted out real and suspected communists, creating the infamous “blacklist” of people who were informally barred from any work with Hollywood studios. The “red scare” even nearly toppled America’s favorite television star, Lucille Ball, who had registered to vote as a communist in the 1930s.

Today’s “cancel culture” is nothing more than McCarthyism in a woke costume. It stems from a noble goal — ending racial discrimination. Like its discredited cousin, however, it has transmogrified into something sinister and inimical to freedom. Battling racism is good and necessary; trying to suppress voices that one disagrees with is not. Woke McCarthyism goes wrong when it seeks to do the one thing that America has always sworn not to do: enforce uniformity of thought. Indeed, this principle, enshrined in the First Amendment, is so central to American national identity that it is one of the five quotes inscribed in the Jefferson Memorial: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Weiss’s resignation letter describes numerous examples of her colleagues judging her guilty of “wrongthink” and trying to pressure superiors to fire or suppress her. She explains that “some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name.” Others, she wrote, called her a racist and a Nazi, or criticized her on Twitter without reprimand. She notes that this behavior, tolerated by the paper through its editors, constitutes “unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge.”

Sullivan’s reason for departure is less clear — though he said it is “self-evident.” He had publicly supported Weiss, writing: “The mob bullied and harassed a young woman for thoughtcrimes. And her editors stood by and watched.”

In other words, both Weiss and Sullivan — like so many others — seem to have left their jobs because they were targeted for refusing to conform to its ideas of right thinking. Do you now or have you ever thought that Donald Trump might make a good president? Congratulations, president of Goya Foods: Your company is boycotted. Are you now or have you ever been willing to publish works from a conservative U.S. senator that infuriated liberal Twitter? Former New York Times editor James Bennet, the bell tolls for thee.

The mob even sacrifices people whose only crime is familial connection on its altar. The stepmother of the Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, Melissa Rolfe, was fired from her job at a mortgage lender because some employees felt uncomfortable working with her.

Such tactics work best when they force people to confess to seek repentance for the crimes they may or may not have committed. McCarthy knew this, and so he always offered lenience to suspected communists who would “name names” and turn in other supposed conspirators. The woke inquisition uses the same tactic, forcing those caught in its maw to renounce prior statements they find objectionable. NFL quarterback Drew Brees surrendered to the roar while noted leftists such as J.K. Rowling and Noam Chomsky are being pilloried for their defense of free speech.

McCarthy was enabled by a frightened and compliant center-right. They knew he was wrong, but they also knew the anti-communist cause was right and were unsure how to embrace the just cause and excise the zealous overreach. It wasn’t until McCarthy attacked the U.S. Army that one man, attorney Joseph Welch, had the courage to speak up. “Have you no decency, sir?” he said as McCarthy tried to slander a colleague. The bubble burst, and people found the inquisitorial emperor had no clothes. The Senate censured him in 1954, and McCarthy died in 1957, a broken man.

It won’t be as easy to defeat the woke movement. There isn’t one person whose humiliation will break the spell. This movement is deep, decentralized and widespread. But it can be beaten if someone’s courage can awaken the center-left as Welch’s did for the 1950s center-right.

Can Joe Biden be that person? If elected, he might have to as the frenzy shows no signs of abating on its own. But if a man who says he’s running to save the soul of America cannot defend America’s heart and soul, millions will have the right to ask him Welch’s immortal question: Have you no decency, sir?

Voir enfin:

Mark McCloskey & Patricia McCloskey: St. Louis Couple Pull Guns on Protesters
Emily Bicks
Heavy.com
Jun 30, 2020

Mark McCloskey and Patricia McCloskey are a St. Louis couple who were seen pointing guns at protesters who were walking by their home in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 28. The husband and wife, who work together as personal injury trial lawyers, came out of their house armed to prevent protesters from walking onto their property in the Forest Park area. Video and photos of the incident went viral on Twitter.

In the videos shared online, however, it doesn’t appear that anyone walking in Sunday’s protest calling for the resignation of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson was trespassing on their palatial lawn or approached their house. While Mark McCloskey, 63, holds a large assault weapon and Patty McCloskey, 61, holds a handgun in the video, they end up pointing their weapons at each other while staring down protesters. While a video does show the protesters walking through a pedestrian gate next to signs that say “private street,” “no trespassing” and “access limited to residents,” witnesses have said the protesters were peaceful and did not approach the McCloskeys or go onto the lawn of the “Midwestern palazzo” where they live.

Another video shared on Twitter that has now been made unavailable showed Patty McCloskey holding her gun straight at passing protesters, one wearing a T-shirt that read, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

The McCloskeys could not be reached for comment by Heavy. But Mark McCloskey told KSDK:

We were threatened with our lives, threatened with a house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened. It was, it was about as bad as it can get. I mean, those you know, I really thought it was Storming the Bastille that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd. And they were they broken the gate were coming at us.

Mark McCloskey told KMOV, “A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear for our lives. “This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets. I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds, our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.”

St. Louis Police have not commented about whether an investigation into the incident is ongoing or if the couple could face charges. On social media, people have called for the McCloskeys to be arrested and have directed people to make complaints to the Missouri bar. According to BuzzFeed News, a St. Louis Police report identifies the couple as the victims in the incident and the news site reports the McCloskeys called police.

“The police report states that the couple contacted police ‘when they heard a loud commotion coming from the street’ and ‘observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs,’ BuzzFeed wrote. “Police said the couple claimed protesters were ‘yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims’ and that they brought out their guns when they ‘observed multiple subjects who were armed.’” Police didn’t say in the report if officers verified whether any protesters were armed or if weapons were pointed at the McCloskeys, according to BuzzFeed News. Krewson, the St. Louis mayor who was the target of the protest hasn’t commented about the incident.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said in a statement an investigation into the incident is ongoing. Gardner said, ” I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protestors were met by guns and a violent assault. We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”

She added, “My office is currently working with the public and police to investigate these events. Make no mistake: we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable.”

Here’s what you need to know about Mark and Patty McCloskey:


1. The McCloskeys Bought Their Million-Dollar Home at Portland Place in February 1988 & Were Profiled in a St.
Louis Magazine After Renovating It

The couple was featured in St. Louis Magazine for their impressive renovation of the famous estate in 1988. Now more than 30 years after purchasing the home, which was once owned by Edward and Anna Busch Faust — the son of a revered St. Louis restaurateur and daughter of the beer-making Busch family — they have restored the Renaissance palazzo back to its original glory.

Mark McCloskey told the magazine, “All the plumbing was made by Mott, which was the premiere manufacturer at the turn of the century, and all the door and window hardware was made by P.E. Guerin.” Patricia McCloskey noted “the glass in the windows” was from the second-floor reception hall at the 14th century Palazzo Davanzati in Florence, “and the shutters, at least the ironwork, are probably original.” The property is appraised at $1.15 million, according to St. Louis city property records.

Armed St. Louis Lawyers Confront Protesters – Riverfront TimesMark and Patricia McCloskey brandish guns at marchers in St. Louis’ Central West End. Video by Theo Welling/Riverfront Times2020-06-29T03:51:46Z

In 1992, the couple were involved in a “brouhaha” over cohabitation rules in the Portland Place neighborhood, according to an article from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Patty McCloskey was at the time a board member for the Portland Place homeowners’ association. She opposed a bylaw change to allow cohabitation in the HOA, which put the association in line with city law that doesn’t allow for discrimination.

Patty McCLoskey disputed claims made at the time by her opponents that she and her husband were trying to keep gay people out of the neighborhood. “This is insanity,” she told the newspaper. “It isn’t about gay-bashing. I want to enforce restrictions. … certain people on the street are renting their houses, and we couldn’t get a few of the trustees to agree to make a phone call and tell them it was inappropriate.” A neighbor, Dr. Saul Boyarsky, told the newspaper the McCloskeys were, “trying to preserve the exclusivity of the neighborhood.”

In videos on Sunday, the McCloskeys could be seen outside their million-dollar home with guns. While holding a rifle, Mark McCloskey can be heard yelling to the crowd, “Private property! Get out! Private property, get out!” Patricia McCloskey, holding a handgun, also yelled at the protesters. One person in the protest can be heard yelling back, “Calm down,” as others tell the group to keep moving and not engage with the couple. Another person can be heard saying, “Then call the f—— cops, you idiot!” and “It’s a public street.” The area where the McCloskeys live does have signs saying it is a private street. But it is not clear if Missouri law allows them to point guns at people for entering into the area.

Mark McCloskey told KSDK the protesters were on private property:

Everything inside the Portland Place gate is private property. There is nothing public in Portland Place. Being inside that gate is like being in my living room. There is no public anything in Portland Place. It is all private property. And you’ve got to appreciate that if there are two or three hundred people, I don’t know how many there were. We were told that 500 people showed up at the Lyda Krewson house, which is not on our street, as you know. But how many of them came through Portland Place? I don’t know. But it was a big crowd and they were aggressive, wearing body armor and screaming at us and threatening to harm us. And how they were going to be living in our house after they kill us.

He said he and his wife are “urban pioneers”:

And to call these people protesters either. I’ve lived in the City of St. Louis for 32 years. We were, you know, urban pioneers back when we bought on Portland Place in 1988. And we have done everything for 32 years to improve the neighborhood and to keep this historic neighborhood going. And it’s very frustrating to see it get targeted. And of course, we’d been told by the press and by Expect US, that they wanted to start targeting middle-class neighborhoods and upper-class neighborhoods and bring their revolution outside of the cities. And we got an email from our trustees on Thursday saying that they were going to do this on Friday. We’re very worried about it.

The full interview can be seen below:

Interview with man who pulled out gun amid protestST. LOUIS — Mark McCloskey said he and his wife Patricia appear in the now-viral photos of the protest in their Central West End neighborhood. McCloskey gave an interview to 5 On Your Side anchor Anne Allred. Below is the transcript of the interview Monday morning: Anne Allred: Tell me what happened last night. Mark McCloskey: We came back to the house. I don’t know what time it is, I’ve been up ever since. I’m a little, I’m a little blurry, but we were preparing dinner. We went out to the east patio, open porch that faces Kingshighway on one side and Portland Place Drive on the south, and we’re sitting down for dinner. We heard all this stuff going on down on Maryland Plaza. And then the mob started to move up Kingshighway, but it got parallel with the Kingshighway gate on Portland Place. Somebody forced the gate, and I stood up and announced that this is private property. Go back. I can’t remember in detail anymore. I went inside, I got a rifle. And when they … because as soon as I said this is private property, those words enraged the crowd. Horde, absolute horde came through the now smashed down gates coming right at the house. My house, my east patio was 40 feet from Portland Place Drive. And these people were right up in my face, scared to death. And then, I stood out there. The only thing we said is this is private property. Go back. Private property. Leave now. At that point, everybody got enraged. There were people wearing body armor. One person pulled out some loaded pistol magazine and clicked them together and said that you were next. We were threatened with our lives, threatened with a house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened. It was, it was about as bad as it can get. I mean, those you know, I really thought it was Storming the Bastille that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd. And they were they broken the gate were coming at us. Allred: There have been some reports on Twitter and people who say they were there. It says they are saying the gate was already broken. McCloskey: Yes. That is nonsense. Absolute nonsense. The gate was up, broken. The gate was broken physically in half. Our trustees on Portland Place came out later in the night and chained it all up with an automotive tow chain it looks like. But no, you can talk to the trustees on Portland Place. The gate was not broken in half and laying on the ground one second before they came in the storm. Allred: Were the protesters on your private property at any point? McCloskey: Everything inside the Portland Place gate is private property. There is nothing public in Portland Place. Being inside that gate is like being in my living room. There is no public anything in Portland Place. It is all private property. And you’ve got to appreciate that if there are two or three hundred people, I don’t know how many there were. We were told that 500 people showed up at the Lyda Krewson house, which is not on our street, as you know. But how many of them came through Portland Place? I don’t know. But it was a big crowd and they were aggressive, wearing body armor and screaming at us and threatening to harm us. And how they were going to be living in our house after they kill us. Allred: And what has happened since last night, and those images exploded online? McCloskey: Well, I’ve had to turn the phones off in my office, so I had to come over here last night and have the office boarded up because we’re getting threats against the building and everybody. It is interesting to me that the very people that are asking the mayor to resign for ‘doxxing’ people have now put all of my information all over the web, everywhere in the world. Is there some hypocrisy there? You know, maybe I’m maybe I’m missing something. But we’ve had to turn off our telephones here at the office because all my lines have been going continuously since I got here at 10:30 last night. I am getting thousands of emails. I going to have to turn off my website. And it’s all it’s been both threatening and encouraging because of the number of people who have voiced their support. But there’s also been an awful lot of people who have the very direct threats of violence against me and my family. Allred: And you said you’ve received death threats? McCloskey: Oh, God, yes. The death threats started within minutes. I mean, I don’t know how long this whole event started. But I’ll bet we got our first e-maildeath threats before the mob moved on from Portland Place. Allred: When you see the images online of you and your wife on the patio, armed now after the fact. What do you think? McCloskey: Well, you know, we were always obviously upset. My wife doesn’t know anything about guns, but she knows about being scared. And she grabbed a pistol and I had a rifle, and I was very, very careful I didn’t point the rifle at anybody.2020-06-29T18:37:04Z

The protesters on Sunday were not targeting the McCloskeys’ home, but were instead walking to the St. Louis mayor’s house. After Krewson listed the names and addresses of protesters looking to defund the police during a Facebook live interview, she offered a formal apology.

Krewson said in a statement, “I would like to apologize for identifying individuals who presented letters to me at City Hall as I was answering a routine question during one of my updates earlier today. While this is public information, I did not intend to cause distress or harm to anyone. The post has been removed and again, I sincerely apologize.”

However, the damage was already done, and St. Louis residents accused her of doxing protesters. She was also publicly called out by Tishaura O. Jones, the treasurer of St. Louis, and St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green.

On Sunday, as reported by KMOV4, around 300 protesters chanted “resign Lyda, take the cops with you,” while marching toward her home in the Central West End.


2. The Couple, Who Have Been Married Since 1985 & Run the McCloskey Law Center, Located Inside the Historic Nieman Mansion, Met While Studying at SMU Law School

Medical Malpractice Litigation: Today’s realitySt. Louis Medical Malpractice Lawyer Mark T. McCloskey discusses what you are up against if you are injured or a relative is killed through medical negligence or mistake.2015-07-16T19:08:28Z

As stated on their website, the McCloskeys, “have devoted their professional careers to assisting those sustaining serious traumatic brain injury, neck, back, spinal cord and other serious, disabling or fatal neurological injuries. The goal of our practice is to provide those sustaining such devastating injuries, or the survivors of those killed as a result of such devastating injuries, with meaningful compensation.

“We strive to provide the seriously injured and their survivors with a means to having as full and as comfortable a life as possible by obtaining every penny of reasonable compensation for their injuries and losses.”

They started their law firm, McCloskey, P.C., in 1994, according to Mark McCloskey’s LinkedIn profile. McCloskey writes on his LinkedIn profile:

We have focused our practice on the representation of individuals suffering brain/head injury, spinal cord injury, birth injuries, and all other serious injuries as the result of the negligence of others for over 29 years. If you have suffered devastating injury or the loss of a loved one as the result of car wrecks, airplane crash, medical errors, dangerous or defective products or machines, explosion, fire, falls, or through any other causes, let us help you put your lives back together. ‘If it wasn’t your fault, why are you paying for it?’

Mark and Patricia McCloskey have been married since 1985 and have one adult daughter, according to their website and social media profiles. They met while studying at the Southern Methodist University Law School. They both graduated from SMU Law.

Niemann Mansion: the home of the McCloskey Law CenterMark T. McCloskey and the McCloskey Law Center invite you to explore our office in the historic Niemann Mansion, an 1887 German style home in the Central West End of St. Louis which we have restored to its period splendor.2015-07-16T20:00:58Z

Their office is located inside the historic Nieman Mansion in St. Louis’ Central West End, which the McCloskeys have also restored.


3. Mark McCloskey, Who Has Been an Attorney Since 1986, Represents a Victim of Police Brutality

welcome to the courtroomWelcome to the McCloskey Law Center. For over a quarter of a century we have devoted our professional careers to helping victims and families who have suffered catastrophic loss, injury, death due to the negligence of others, dangerous machines and products, and almost any other unsafe practice or, structure or act. If we can be of assistance to you, please call us at (314) 721-4000 OR (800)835-46812015-07-16T14:18:00Z

Mark McCloskey graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1982, where he studied sociology, criminal justice and psychology before attending the Southern Methodist University of Law in 1985. He is a Missouri native and graduated from Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School in Ladue, Missouri, in 1975, according to his Facebook profile.

On his law firm’s website, McCloskey is described as, “an AV rated attorney who has been nominated for dozens of awards and honors and has been voted by his peers for memberships to many exclusive ‘top rated lawyer’ and ‘multimillion dollar lawyer’ associations throughout the country.” The website also notes McCloskey has appeared on in the media, including KSDK in St. Louis and Fox News. The website states, “several of his cases have been cited in national legal publications as the highest verdicts recovered in the country for those particular injuries.” McCloskey’s profile also says:

Since 1986, he has exclusively represented individuals seriously injured as a result of accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and the negligence of others. For the past 21 years, his firm has concentrated on the representation of people injured or killed through traumatic brain injuries, neck, back or other significant neurological or orthopedic injury.

Mark T. McCloskey is licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Missouri, Illinois, Texas and the Federal Courts of Nebraska. Additionally, he has represented individuals injured through medical malpractice, dangerous products, automobiles, cars, motorcycles, boats, defective hand guns, airplane crashes, explosions, electrocution, falls, assaults, rapes, poisoning, fires, inadequate security, premises liability, dram shop liability (serving intoxicating patrons), excessive force by police, construction accidents, and negligent maintenance of premises (including retail establishments, parking lots, government property, homes, schools, playgrounds, apartments, commercial operations, parks and recreational facilities) for the past 30 years and has filed and tried personal injury lawsuits in over 28 states.

McCloskey is representing a victim of police brutality in a lawsuit against a Missouri police department and officer. According to the Associated Press, David Maas, a Woodson Terrace Police officer at the time, was caught on dashcam video appearing to assault a man and was indicted on a federal charge in March.

For the incident, which took place in April 2019, Maas was charged with one count of deprivation fo rights under color of law, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The victim was identified by the initials, “I.F.,” which matches the 2019 civil lawsuit brought by Isaiah Forman, the AP reported. Maas is accused of kicking Forman, who is black, while he was surrendering.

“I’m glad that the law enforcement agencies are subject to the same standard as everybody else,” Mark McCloskey, said to the AP.

On his Facebook page, McCloskey defended the jury’s decision in the 2011 case against Casey Anthony, who was accused of murder in the death of her daughter. McCloskey wrote on Facebook after the controversial 2011 verdict, “thank God that the jury saw through all the hype and found there WAS in fact not enough evidence on this case. Stop your crazy RAILING after you’ve spent so much time trying this girl in the media.”

Mark McCloskey is also a member of a St. Louis Lamborghini club.

In 1993, Mark McCloskey wrote a letter to the editor about crime in St. Louis. He wrote, “the reason high-income people leave the city, and why I can’t talk my friends into moving in, is crime. Why live where your life is at risk, where you are affronted by thugs, bums, drug addicts and punks when you can afford not to. What St. Louis can do without are the murderers, beggars, drug addicts and street corner drunks. St. Louis needs more people of substance and fewer of subsistence.”


4. Patricia McCloskey Is Originally From Pennsylvania & Studied at Penn State Before Attending SMU Law School

According to her Facebook profile, Patricia Novak McCloskey is a native of Industry, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Western Beaver High School in 1977. McCloskey then studied at Penn State University, graduating in 1982 with a degree in labor studies and a minor in Spanish. She, like her husband, attended SMU Law School in Dallas, graduating in 1986.

According to their law firm’s website, “Patricia N. McCloskey is a Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude graduate of Pennsylvania State University, graduating first in her class and with the highest cumulative average in her department in forty-seven years. Patricia N. McCloskey is also a graduate of Southern Methodist University School of Law, which she completed while simultaneously working full time and still graduating in the top quarter of her class.” The website adds:

After several years working with a major law firm in St. Louis on the defense side, she moved to representation of the injured. Since 1994, she has exclusively represented those injured by the negligence of others with Mark McCloskey. She has acted in various roles in the community including being a past Board Member of Therapeutic Horsemanship, a law student mentor, a member of the Missouri Bar Association ethical review panel and a St. Louis city committee woman.

Patricia McCloskey has extensive trial experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases arising out of all aspects of negligence, including traumatic brain injury, products liability and product defect, medical malpractice, wrongful death, neck, back and spinal cord injuries, motor vehicle collisions, motorcycle collisions, airplane crashes, and many others as set forth further

Patricia McCloskey is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois, according to the law firm’s website.


5. The McCloskeys Were Given the Meme Treatment on Twitter

Thousands of online users slammed Mark and Patty McCloskey not only for pulling out firearms against peaceful protesters but for the way they incorrectly held their weapons, for running out of their home barefoot, for Mark’s salmon-colored shirt, and more.

While some Twitter members remade popular movie posters to feature the personal injury lawyers, others wondered if the trial attorneys broke the law by pointing their weapons at the protesters. Don Calloway tweeted, “A fellow lawyer from Missouri, a guy I know named Mark McCloskey committed an assault tonight in STL by pointing his AR 15 at peaceful protesters. He should be arrested and charged with assault immediately. The MO Bar should revoke their licenses.”

The McCloskeys also had their share of supporters online. One man tweeted, “The same people destroying private property and threatening residents wonder why residents are coming out of their homes with AR-15’s…? Lmao.” Ryan Fournier, founder of Students for Trump, tweeted, “God Bless the couple in St. Louis who stood their ground and defended their property. God Bless the Second Amendment.”

While some on social media have claimed the McCloskeys are registered Democrats, it was not immediately possible to determine whether the couple are actually registered as Democrats or if they are registered Republicans. But Federal Election Commission records show Mark McCloskey has contributed thousands of dollars to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, the Republican National Committee and Donald J. Trump for President Inc. He also made contributions to a Republican congressional candidate, Bill Phelps, in 1996, and to the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1992.

Patricia McCloskey also made a contribution to the RNC in 2018 and to a Republican Senate dinner in 1988.


Guerre culturelle: L’Amérique a la rage – et c’est nous qui lui avons donnée ! (From Plato to NATO, Western Civ has got to go: Was it the course in Western civilization or Western civilization itself that had to go ?)

4 juillet, 2020

From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents: Gress ...https://mobile.agoravox.fr/local/cache-vignettes/L768xH1047/French_Theory-b41ed.jpg

The star athlete and activist took to Twitter to share the powerful rejection, along with a video of actor James Earl Jones reciting Frederick Douglass's renowned speech 'What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?'
Pres. Trump to visit Mt. Rushmore for July 4th - CBSN Live Video ...
President Trump at Mount Rushmore on Friday.Il faut se rappeler que les chefs militaires allemands jouaient un jeu désespéré. Néanmoins, ce fut avec un sentiment d’effroi qu’ils tournèrent contre la Russie la plus affreuse de toutes les armes. Ils firent transporter Lénine, de Suisse en Russie, comme un bacille de la peste, dans un wagon plombé. Winston Churchill
Debout ! les damnés de la terre ! Debout ! les forçats de la faim ! La raison tonne en son cratère, C’est l’éruption de la fin. Du passé faisons table rase, Foule esclave, debout ! debout ! Le monde va changer de base : Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout ! C’est la lutte finale Groupons-nous, et demain, L’Internationale, Sera le genre humain. Eugène Pottier (1871)
Puisqu’on l’opprime dans sa race et à cause d’elle, c’est d’abord de sa race qu’il lui faut prendre conscience. Ceux qui, durant des siècles, ont vainement tenté, parce qu’il était  nègre, de le rérduire à l’état  de  bête, il faut qu’il les oblige à le reconnaître  pour un homme. Or il n’est pas ici d’échappatoire, ni de tricherie, ni de « passage de ligne  » qu’il puisse envisager : un Juif, blanc parmi les  blancs, peut nier qu’il  soit juif, se déclarer un homme parmi les hommes. Le nègre ne peut  nier qu’il  soit  nègre ni réclamer pour lui cette abstraite humanité incolore : il est noir. Ainsi est-il acculé à l’authenticité : insulté, asservi, il se redresse, il ramasse  le  mot de « nègre » qu’on lui a  jeté comme une pierre, il se revendique  comme noir, en face du blanc, dans la fierté. L’unité finale qui rapprochera tous les opprimés  dans le même combat doit être  précédée aux colonies par ce que je nommerai le moment de la séparation ou de la négativité : ce racisme  antiraciste est le  seul chemin qui puisse  mener à l’abolition  des  différences de race. Jean-Paul Sartre (Orphée noir, 1948)
Attention, l’Amérique a la rage (…) La science se développe partout au même rythme et la fabrication des bombes est affaire de potentiel industriel. En tuant les Rosenberg, vous avez tout simplement essayé d’arrêter les progrès de la science. (…) Vous nous avez déjà fait le coup avec Sacco et Vanzetti et il a réussi. Cette fois, il ne réussira pas. Vous rappelez-vous Nuremberg et votre théorie de la responsabilité collective. Eh bien ! C’est à vous aujourd’hui qu’il faut l’appliquer. Vous êtes collectivement responsables de la mort des Rosenberg, les uns pour avoir provoqué ce meurtre, les autres pour l’avoir laissé commettre. Jean-Paul Sartre (« Les animaux malades de la rage », Libération, 22 juin 1953)
Notre nation fait face à une campagne visant à effacer notre histoire, diffamer nos héros, supprimer nos valeurs et endoctriner nos enfants. (…) Le désordre violent que nous avons vu dans nos rues et nos villes qui sont dirigées par des libéraux démocrates dans tous les cas est le résultat d’années d’endoctrinement extrême et de partialité dans l’éducation, le journalisme et d’autres institutions culturelles. (…) Nous croyons en l’égalité des chances, une justice égale et un traitement égal pour les citoyens de toutes races, origines, religions et croyances. Chaque enfant, de chaque couleur – né et à naître – est fait à l’image sainte de Dieu. Donald Trump
Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them. One of their political weapons is “Cancel Culture” — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America. (…) In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. (…) Make no mistake: this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress. To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage. Our people have a great memory. They will never forget the destruction of statues and monuments to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionists, and many others. The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities that are run by liberal Democrats, in every case, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions. Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition. This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore. They defile the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Today, we will set history and history’s record straight. (….) We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God. We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture. We embrace tolerance, not prejudice. We support the courageous men and women of law enforcement. We will never abolish our police or our great Second Amendment, which gives us the right to keep and bear arms. We believe that our children should be taught to love their country, honor our history, and respect our great American flag. We stand tall, we stand proud, and we only kneel to Almighty God. This is who we are. This is what we believe. And these are the values that will guide us as we strive to build an even better and greater future. President Trump
Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!  Jesse Jackson (1987)
By focusing these ideas on all of us they are crushing the psyche of those others to whom Locke, Hume, and Plato are not speaking. . . . The Western culture program as it is presently structured around a core list and an outdated philosophy of the West being Greece, Europe, and Euro-America is wrong, and worse, it hurts people mentally and emotionally. Bill King (Stanford Black Student Union,1988)
Still nominally very much part of an atheistic, anti-foundational, French academic avant-garde in the United States, and now increasingly prominent in his position at Johns Hopkins, Girard was even one of the chief organizers of “The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man,” the enormously influential conference, in Baltimore in October 1966, that brought to America from France skeptical celebrity intellectuals including Jacques Lacan, Lucien Goldmann, Roland Barthes, and, most consequentially, the most agile of Nietzschean nihilists, Jacques Derrida, still obscure in 1966 (and always bamboozlingly obscurantist) but propelled to fame by the conference and his subsequent literary productivity and travels in America: another glamorous, revolutionary “Citizen Genet,” like the original Jacobin visitor of 1793–94. After this standing-room-only conference, Derrida and “deconstructionism,” left-wing Nietzscheanism in the high French intellectual mode, took America by storm, which is perhaps the crucial story in the subsequent unintelligibility, decline, and fall of the humanities in American universities, in terms both of enrollments and of course content. The long-term effect can be illustrated in declining enrollments: at Stanford, for example, in 2014 alone “humanities majors plummeted from 20 percent to 7 percent,” according to Ms. Haven. The Anglo-American liberal-humanistic curricular and didactic tradition of Matthew Arnold (defending “the old but true Socratic thesis of the interdependence of knowledge and virtue”), Columbia’s Arnoldian John Erskine (“The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent,” 1913), Chicago’s R. M. Hutchins and Mortimer Adler (the “Great Books”), and English figures such as Basil Willey (e.g., The English Moralists, 1964) and F. R. Leavis (e.g., The Living Principle: “English” as a Discipline of Thought, 1975) at Cambridge, and their successor there and at Boston University, Sir Christopher Ricks, was rapidly mocked, demoted, and defenestrated, with Stanford students eventually shouting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho! / Western civ has got to go!” The fundamental paradox of a relativistic but left-wing, Francophile Nietzscheanism married to a moralistic neo-Marxist analysis of cultural traditions and power structures — insane conjunction! — is now the very “gas we breathe” on university campuses throughout the West (…). Girard quietly repented his role in introducing what he later called “the French plague” to the United States, with Derrida, Foucault, and Paul DeMan exalting ludicrous irrationalism to spectacular new heights. M. D. Aeschliman
Nous sommes une société qui, tous les cinquante ans ou presque, est prise d’une sorte de paroxysme de vertu – une orgie d’auto-purification à travers laquelle le mal d’une forme ou d’une autre doit être chassé. De la chasse aux sorcières de Salem aux chasses aux communistes de l’ère McCarthy à la violente fixation actuelle sur la maltraitance des enfants, on retrouve le même fil conducteur d’hystérie morale. Après la période du maccarthisme, les gens demandaient : mais comment cela a-t-il pu arriver ? Comment la présomption d’innocence a-t-elle pu être abandonnée aussi systématiquement ? Comment de grandes et puissantes institutions ont-elles pu accepté que des enquêteurs du Congrès aient fait si peu de cas des libertés civiles – tout cela au nom d’une guerre contre les communistes ? Comment était-il possible de croire que des subversifs se cachaient derrière chaque porte de bibliothèque, dans chaque station de radio, que chaque acteur de troisième zone qui avait appartenu à la mauvaise organisation politique constituait une menace pour la sécurité de la nation ? Dans quelques décennies peut-être les gens ne manqueront pas de se poser les mêmes questions sur notre époque actuelle; une époque où les accusations de sévices les plus improbables trouvent des oreilles bienveillantes; une époque où il suffit d’être accusé par des sources anonymes pour être jeté en pâture à la justice; une époque où la chasse à ceux qui maltraitent les enfants est devenu une pathologie nationale. Dorothy Rabinowitz
You always told us not to boast. Gisela Warburg
How can the proposed Declaration be applicable to all human beings and not be a statement of rights conceived only in terms of the values prevalent in the countries of Western Europe and America?” Melville J. Herskovits  (The American Anthropological Association, 1947)
Nelson (…) was what you would now call, without hesitation, a white supremacist. While many around him were denouncing slavery, Nelson was vigorously defending it. Britain’s best known naval hero – so idealised that after his death in 1805 he was compared to no less than “the God who made him” – used his seat in the House of Lords and his position of huge influence to perpetuate the tyranny, serial rape and exploitation organised by West Indian planters, some of whom he counted among his closest friends. It is figures like Nelson who immediately spring to mind when I hear the latest news of confederate statues being pulled down in the US. These memorials – more than 700 of which still stand in states including Virginia, Georgia and Texas – have always been the subject of offence and trauma for many African Americans, who rightly see them as glorifying the slavery and then segregation of their not so distant past. But when these statues begin to fulfil their intended purpose of energising white supremacist groups, the issue periodically attracts more mainstream interest. The reaction in Britain has been, as in the rest of the world, almost entirely condemnatory of neo-Nazis in the US and of its president for failing to denounce them. But when it comes to our own statues, things get a little awkward. The colonial and pro-slavery titans of British history are still memorialised: despite student protests, Oxford University’s statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes has not been taken down; and Bristol still celebrates its notorious slaver Edward Colston. (…)  Britain has committed unquantifiable acts of cultural terrorism – tearing down statues and palaces, and erasing the historical memory of other great civilisations during an imperial era whose supposed greatness we are now, so ironically, very precious about preserving intact. And we knew what we were doing at the time. One detail that has always struck me is how, when the British destroyed the centuries-old Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860 and gave a little dog they’d stolen as a gift to Queen Victoria, she humorously named it “Looty”. This is one of the long list of things we are content to forget while sucking on the opium of “historical integrity” we claim our colonial statues represent. We have “moved on” from this era no more than the US has from its slavery and segregationist past. The difference is that America is now in the midst of frenzied debate on what to do about it, whereas Britain – in our inertia, arrogance and intellectual laziness – is not. The statues that remain are not being “put in their historical context”, as is often claimed. Take Nelson’s column. Yes, it does include the figure of a black sailor, cast in bronze in the bas-relief. He was probably one of the thousands of slaves promised freedom if they fought for the British military, only to be later left destitute, begging and homeless, on London’s streets when the war was over. But nothing about this “context” is accessible to the people who crane their necks in awe of Nelson. The black slaves whose brutalisation made Britain the global power it then was remain invisible, erased and unseen. Afua Hirsch
Why are we experiencing the worst civil disturbances in decades? It is because the proponents of radical change won’t have it any other way. Early 20th Century Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci theorized that the path to a communist future came through gradually undermining the pillars of western civilization. We are now seeing the results of decades of such erosion, in education, in faith, in politics and in the media. The old standards of freedom, individual responsibility, equality and civic order are being assaulted by proponents of socialism, radical deconstruction and mob rule. Those who charge that institutional racism is rampant in America are the same as those who run the country’s major institutions – city governments, academe, the media, Hollywood, major sports leagues and the Washington, D.C. deep state bureaucracy. Accountability? None.  The irony is rich. At the same time, the only legal and institutional structures that mandate racially based outcomes do so in favor of other-than-majority groups. Anyone who questions this arrangement winds up cancelled. The public debate is hardwired for disunity, making the former language of inclusion the new dog whistle of racism. The exclusionary slogan “black lives matter” is sanctified while the more unifying “all lives matter” is called divisive. People who say they want a colorblind society are called bigots even as progressives push for segregated events and housing on college campuses and “CHOP” protesters demand Black-only hospitals. Martin Luther King’s dream that people will “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” is judged by today’s progressives as a call for white supremacy. The media goes out of its way to coddle violent protesters, calling them peaceful even as they verbally abuse and then throw bottles at police, saying they are not “generally speaking, unruly” standing in front of a burning building. Political leaders who benefit from disunity keep fanning the flames. For example House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reckless charge that the Senate police reform bill is “trying to get away with the murder of George Floyd” is irresponsibly divisive, especially since it was drafted by African American Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). Public monuments have borne the brunt of the violence in recent weeks. As President Trump predicted, the vandalism has moved well beyond statues of Confederates. Practically any statue is fair game. Washington, Jefferson, even Ulysses S. Grant, the man who defeated Lee’s army, all have been toppled by the mobs. And liberal city governments are taking down statues at least as fast as the rioters. But it would be a mistake to think that the statues themselves are at issue, or even what they symbolize. Rather it is the need for the radicals not just to cleanse American history but to make people feel ashamed of every aspect of it. In this way they clear a path for a radical future, buttressed by an unwavering sense of moral superiority that entitles them to smack down any dissent, usually gagging people in the name of “free speech.” We were told for years that anything the Trump administration did that was remotely controversial was an attempt to divide the country. Democrats frequently blamed insidious foreign influence, using expressions like “right out of Putin’s playbook” to keep the Russian collusion canard alive. But they are the ones who are weakening and dividing the country, to the evident glee of our Russian and Chinese adversaries. They have completely adopted longstanding Russian and Chinese propaganda lines about the United States being a country of endemic racism, poverty and oppression, when in fact America is an opportunity society and one of the most racially diverse and tolerant countries in the world. The protesters, their political allies and media backers are working hard to create the very sort of divisions they claim to oppose, because a weak, divided and ashamed America is their pathway to power. Chris Farrell
Il n’y a pas de plus grand monument à l’assujettissement colonial des peuples autochtones que le Mont Rushmore, et le projet du président de profaner davantage ce sol sacré avec des feux d’artifice et sa propre présence sans avoir été convié est un autre affront impardonnable. Il est temps de récupérer ou de démolir tous les monuments racistes. En tant que société, nous devons nous engager à respecter en permanence les populations marginalisées. Lakota People’s Law Project
The statue of Columbus sat in front of Columbus City Hall for 65 years. It was a gift from the people of Genoa, Italy. Now the mayor’s office says it’s “in safekeeping at a secure city facility.” What a blow to U.S.-Italy relations. At least he could offer to give the statue back. A second Columbus likeness, a marble of the navigator pointing west, was booted last month by Columbus State Community College, where it used to stand in the downtown Discovery District. The mayor’s office says the unelected Columbus Art Commission will launch a “participatory process” to find new art that “offers a shared vision for the future.” Good luck. “Let’s just leave the space empty,” one Dispatch letter suggested, “because if not everyone is happy should anyone be happy?” What a sad sign of the times. WSJ
ABC News published a report this week titled “New government data, shared first with ABC News, shows the country’s premier outdoor spaces – the 419 national parks – remain overwhelmingly white.” The story’s headline reads, “America’s national parks face existential crisis over race,” adding in the subhead, “A mostly white workforce, visitation threatens parks‘ survival and public health.” “Just 23% of visitors to the parks were people of color,” the report adds, “77% were white. Minorities make up 42% of the U.S. population.” As it turns out, white people really enjoy hiking and camping, and that is a problem for the parks, the ABC News report claims, because people of color will be a majority in America by 2044. The article then goes on to quote outdoor enthusiasts of color who say they do not feel welcome at the “overwhelmingly white” national parks. These advocates, the article reads, “say they hope the moment since George Floyd’s death in police custody brings attention to systemic racism in the outdoors as well as other parts of society and translates into a long-term change in attitudes and behavior.” Sorry, everyone. Even national parks are racist now. This is not normal behavior from our press. This is a mental breakdown in the works. People of the future will look at all this and wonder how on earth these stories made it into print. The best thing that can happen now for the news industry is for the pandemic to pass, the lockdowns to lift, and for everyone to go outside and get some fresh air. Because the way nearly everyone in the press is behaving now, it seems clear that cabin fever has set in hard, and it is an epidemic we may not shake as quickly as the coronavirus. Becket Adams
People have said for decades that America needs to have “an honest conversation about race.” Is this what they had in mind—this drama of marches, riots, witness videos, tear-gassings, surging police lines, Trump tweets, Zoom pressers, statue-topplings, Facebook screeds, cable television rants, window-smashings, shop-burnings, police-defundings, escalating murder rates and the distant thunder of editorial boards? Veterans in the field of less-than-revolutionary race relations learned that a certain amount of truth-suppression is actually helpful—preferable to the “honesty” of hatred, for example. Much progress has been accomplished under cover of hypocrisy—or, if you like, civility. Good manners and artful hypocrisy were Booker T. Washington’s game, but he was written off as an Uncle Tom long ago. We live now in the regime and culture of confrontation—ideology as performance, anger as proof of authenticity. You remember how much trouble Joe Biden got into when he bragged about his ability to get along with segregationists in the 1970s. Mr. Biden was preening thoughtlessly on his skill in the arts of the old hypocrisy. Now he has learned his lesson and embraces the left’s idea of honesty—no deviation from the party line or from the officially approved emotions. How do you judge a moment of history when you are in the thick of it? How can you tell if all of this will be remembered as historic or will be superseded and forgotten as another momentary sensation, another self-important mirage? The current moment feels intensely historic now, but we shall see. Black Lives Matter has ambitions to abolish its own version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution’s “Four Olds”—old customs, old culture, old habits, old ideas—and to add a fifth, old statues. Yet this summer the titanic racial theme competes and fuses with other superstories—the pandemic and its economic consequences, the presidential race, America’s long-running politico-religious civil war. Raw emotion pours out of social media and into the streets—outrage, with a touch of holiday. On the other side is an oddly silent majority. It seems eerie that so much of the country—the land of “white supremacy,” as the left likes to think of it—gives the appearance of having almost acquiesced, as if it has conceded that the eruptions might be justified and even overdue. Can it be that the silenced majority has had an epiphany, that in its heart it acknowledges the justice of black Americans calling in Thomas Jefferson’s IOU, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that his justice cannot sleep forever”? There’s some of that—changed minds, old prejudice grown reflective. In any case, the silenced majority, out of moral courtesy, has been reluctant to criticize people demonstrating in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. At the same time, it recoils—more indignantly and incredulously each day—from the left’s overall program and mind-set, which it considers insidious if not crazy. When major cities propose to cut off funds for their police departments or to abolish them altogether, that Swiftian absurdity makes a deep impression, confirming a broader doubt about the left’s intentions and mental health. The most tragic impediment to an honest conversation about race in America is fear—an entirely realistic fear of being slain by the cancel culture. This fear to speak is a civic catastrophe and an affront to the Constitution. It induces silent rage in the silenced. It is impossible to exaggerate the corrupting effect that the terror of being called a “racist”—even a whiff of the toxin, the slightest hint, the ghost of an imputation—has on freedom of discussion and the honest workings of the American public mind. Racism in America is no longer totalitarian, as it once was, especially in the South. The cancel culture is the new totalitarianism, a compound of McCarthyism, the Inquisition, the Cultural Revolution, the Taliban and what has become a lethal and systemic ignorance of history—almost a hatred of it. All that wild, unearned certainty, all that year-zero zealotry, discredits those who associate themselves with the cause and makes a mockery of their sweet intentions. Much of the white woke rage is radiant with mere self-importance. And it’s going to backfire. Newton’s Third Law of Motion hasn’t been repealed: For every action there is still an equal and opposite reaction. My sense is that there is quietly building a powerful backlash, which will express itself on Nov. 3, if not before. My guess is that polls now showing Mr. Biden far ahead don’t reflect reality. It may be impossible for President Trump to win; for some reason, he collaborates daily with his enemies to sabotage his chances. But the outcome is by no means as certain as the polls now suggest. Lance Morrow
Lorsqu’on fait l’expérience de la montée fulgurante de la violence comme j’en ai été témoin en Algérie, au début des années 1990, on ne peut que chérir la liberté. J’ai pris, soudainement, conscience dans la jeune vingtaine du privilège que j’avais de vivre. Résister à l’islam politique est devenu le combat de ma vie. Soutenir Mila s’inscrit, naturellement, dans cette démarche. Lorsque tout fout le camp, il ne reste que les fondamentaux pour donner un sens à l’existence. (…) En réalité, j’ai très vite déchanté en arrivant en France avec ma famille, mes parents, professeurs d’université, et mon frère, jeune lycéen. Nous nous sommes installés à Saint-Denis, ville cosmopolite, à l’époque, qui avait une tradition dans l’accueil des réfugiés politiques. Je pense, notamment, à nos camarades espagnols, italiens, grecs et portugais qui avaient fui le fascisme. Quant à nous, notre situation était considérée comme différente de la leur. Nous étions hors champ. Je pense que c’est autour de cette ambiguïté de notre statut que sont nés d’abord les malentendus, puis les dérives. En d’autres mots, nous reconnaître ne serait-ce que, symboliquement, le statut de réfugié politique revenait à placer l’islam politique dans l’histoire et le considérer comme une menace planétaire. Or, il n’en a rien été. Les États occidentaux et leurs élites intellectuelles dominantes ne se sont pas sentis concernés par ce qui s’est joué en Algérie dans les années 1990, tout comme en Iran en 1979. Certains prétendaient que la menace islamiste allait rester confinée aux frontières de ces pays, d’autres, comme les États-uniens (sic), étaient convaincus de pouvoir «domestiquer» l’islamisme. Depuis, il n’a cessé de progresser et de muter. Pour trois raisons principalement. La puissance de son idéologie, sa capacité à s’adapter à n’importe quel environnement institutionnel et, finalement, sa force mobilisatrice. Pour revenir à votre question de départ, ceux qui menacent nos libertés ne sont pas seulement les islamistes. Mais ceux qui ont renoncé à les exercer et à les défendre. (…) La France était pour moi un havre de paix qui m’a permis de me reconstruire. Je n’oublierai jamais de ma vie cette sensation de marcher librement dans la rue, cheveux au vent, sans avoir à vérifier s’il y avait, au coin d’une rue, un salaud pour me buter. La sécurité est, en ce sens, la première des libertés. Comment dire? Pour une femme, c’est encore plus vrai. Ceux qui, comme moi, en ont été privés en mesurent toute l’importance. Je pense à mes amies afghanes, iraniennes et saoudiennes qui sont en première ligne. Évoquer cette période c’est aussi parler des solidarités. La France, à travers un tissu associatif dynamique, des syndicats, universitaires, artistes et simplement des gens d’une grande générosité, a participé à atténuer nos blessures et à nous rattacher à notre humanité. Ultimement, pour sortir de nos vies cabossées et de nos destins fracassés, nous ne pouvions compter que sur notre résilience. Sur le plan politique, c’était beaucoup plus compliqué. L’asile politique a été offert en France, en Europe, aux États-Unis et au Canada aux chefs du FIS et du GIA et à leurs militants, ceux-là même dont les mains étaient entachées de sang. Il se trouvait des journalistes comme Edwy Plenel ou des universitaires comme François Burgat pour les absoudre de leurs crimes. Vous vous souvenez du petit jeu du «Qui tue qui?» («On ne sait pas qui tue qui?»: durant la tragique décennie noire en Algérie, cette formule en vogue était employée par certains observateurs, en particulier en Europe et en France, pour désigner l’armée algérienne comme seule responsable des massacres sur les civils alors que ces derniers étaient perpétrés par des groupes islamistes, NDLR) en Algérie qui a donné, plus tard, le «je ne suis pas Charlie»? Toujours les mêmes aux commandes pour faire courir des «si», multiplier des «mais» et évacuer toute la dimension idéologique et politique de notre combat. Pour eux, les islamistes, à bien y regarder, n’étaient pas vraiment des islamistes, et surtout pas des assassins. Et ceux qui s’opposaient à leurs desseins fascistes n’étaient pas des résistants. La régression? Elle n’est qu’une simple conséquence de cette confusion. Mais attention! N’allez pas imaginer que nous nous sommes tus. Même si cette thèse du «Qui tue qui?» nous était insupportable, nous l’avons confrontée. Dénoncée. Nous ne nous sommes jamais résignés. Jamais. Nous avons continué à parler, écrire, militer et mettre en garde contre la contagion islamiste, ici comme ailleurs. Nous, nous n’habitions pas les beaux quartiers. Encore là, le discours dominant dans le milieu médiatique était à la victimisation des musulmans. Notre parole était pratiquement inaudible. (..) Je remercie, vivement, Marianne d’avoir été à nos côtés depuis le début. Mon père est le premier à avoir osé lever le voile sur les graves dérives qui touchent Saint-Denis, qui n’est pas n’importe quelle ville. Elle est au cœur du dispositif indigéniste. Tout comme elle est au centre de la stratégie de l’internationale islamiste. Tout cela est largement documenté dans le livre «Quatre-vingt-treize», de Gilles Kepel… depuis 2012. Il n’était plus possible pour mon père de se taire. Ne pensez pas que ce geste a été sans conséquence pour lui. Vivre au quotidien dans la gueule du loup ça use. Même les plus courageux parmi nous. À l’évidence, ceux qui, comme mon père, habitent dans les quartiers populaires et résistent aux islamistes et à la mafia ne bénéficient d’aucune protection et n’ont pas le soutien des élus locaux. En 2009, avec quelques Dionysiens nous avons mis en place l’Observatoire de la laïcité de Saint-Denis (qui n’a rien à voir avec celui de Bianco, qui a détourné notre nom). Nous avons reçu deux cacahuètes de subside alors que l’association de Rokhaya Diallo, qui n’y est pas domiciliée, est grassement subventionnée pour offrir des ateliers sur les cheveux frisés. On se moque de qui? À Saint-Denis, il y a pourtant beaucoup d’initiatives citoyennes à encourager, comme l’association Les Résilientes. (…) loin de l’islamisme que j’avais retrouvé en France. (…) j’ai choisi le Québec, pays francophone, ouvert à l’immigration, véritable démocratie où il fait bon vivre pour les femmes. Puis, il y a eu le 11 Septembre 2001. J’étais correspondante de presse pour le journal algérien El-Watan, je me suis rendue, tout de suite, à New York avec mon amoureux qui était lui aussi journaliste. Nous sommes revenus de ce voyage bouleversés. En effet, tout avait basculé! (…) au cœur du dispositif législatif canadien il existe, depuis 1985, une possibilité de se soustraire aux règles communes en faisant valoir ses croyances religieuses. C’est ce qu’on appelle l’accommodement raisonnable devenu célèbre depuis le début des années 2000. Une simple demande faite «de bonne foi» suffit à obtenir une dérogation. Et ça peut aller très loin. Une enfant de maternelle dont les parents musulmans obligent l’école à lui mettre sur la tête un casque insonorisé pour la prémunir des chants de Noël. Paraît-il que c’est dans leur religion! Un jeune adolescent sikh autorisé à porter le kirpan (un poignard) à l’école après une bataille judiciaire qui est allée jusqu’en Cour suprême et a duré quatre ans. Des milliers de dollars pour faire plier une école et renverser deux décisions de justice. Théoriquement, il y a quelques garde-fous. Dans la pratique, les institutions qui refusent les accommodements se font traîner en justice. Ça coûte un fric fou! Ce qu’il faut comprendre par là c’est que les lobbies politico-religieux, riches et puissants, ont trouvé dans les accommodements un boulevard pour défaire ce qui a été chèrement acquis avec la Révolution tranquille. Il me paraissait urgent de proposer une charte de la laïcité pour retrouver le sens du commun. C’est ce que j’ai fait à travers mon engagement au Parti québécois où j’ai obtenu l’appui de deux femmes remarquables, Pauline Marois (ancienne première ministre) et Louise Beaudoin, et de notre ancien premier ministre, le regretté Bernard Landry. Cette loi qui a été adoptée en juin dernier est l’aboutissement d’un long combat. Il est, surtout, une claque à la face du multiculturalisme canadien.(…) La censure et l’autocensure dans les universités, les médias, le monde culturel sont désormais une réalité qu’il est difficile de déjouer. Nous manquons cruellement d’espace pour la confrontation des idées. Le débat est très mal vu. La recherche permanente d’un consensus valide l’idée selon laquelle la meilleure posture est une moyenne de toutes les postures. Nous n’avons pas de service public digne de ce nom. Nous avons une télévision et une radio d’État, Radio-Canada, au service d’une idéologie: le multiculturalisme qui a expurgé les laïques du débat public. Tout ce qui concerne l’islam et les musulmans relève du tabou. Alors vous imaginez ce livre avec un tel titre? (« Ma vie à contre-Coran ») Il y a encore des courageux qui osent. Mais à quel prix? Heureusement que nous avons encore Denise Bombardier et ses collègues du Journal de Montréal pour élargir nos horizons. (…) Justin Trudeau est convaincu de la supériorité morale du Canada sur les États-Unis et sur l’Europe. Pour lui, les attentats terroristes islamistes sont le résultat d’une mauvaise intégration des immigrants. Sa devise est simple: il n’y a qu’à être gentil pour susciter les bons sentiments. Sauf que les premiers réseaux terroristes au Canada sont apparus dans les années 1990. Ils étaient l’œuvre d’anciens militants du FIS. Il n’y a plus aucun journaliste pour le rappeler. (…) (le multiculturalisme)Tariq Ramadan le considère comme le meilleur système. En 2012, lorsque je me suis présentée aux élections, il a animé un grand meeting, à Montréal, pour appeler ses partisans à me barrer la route. À moi, mes collègues, mon parti. Ceux qui s’étaient faufilés en haut de la liste sont les porte-paroles d’un parti islamo-gauchiste, Québec solidaire, qui n’a plus rien de solidaire. Vous voyez bien que ce n’est pas très différent de la France. La trahison de la gauche communautariste permet aux islamistes de gagner du terrain. Demila Benhabib
We must resist the temptation to romanticize history’s losers. The other civilizations overrun by the West’s, or more peacefully transformed by it through borrowings as much as by impositions, were not without their defects either, of which the most obvious is that they were incapable of providing their inhabitants with any sustained improvement in the material quality of their lives. (…)  civilization is much more than just the contents of a few first-rate art galleries. It is a highly complex human organization (…) as much about sewage pipes as flying buttresses.”  Niall Ferguson French postmodern theory refuses to distinguish between high and low culture, attempting to make it futile even to discuss whether this or that work of art is or is not lovely or important. If you want to argue that Kanye West’s lyrics are as good as Shakespeare, or Mongolian yurts are as sophisticated a form of architecture as Bauhaus, then Foucault will support you all the way. But if you want to understand why we do not have child slavery in the West, or disenfranchised women, or imprisonment without trial, or the imprisonment of newspaper editors, you simply have to study the cultural history that produced such an unusual and extraordinary situation in human history. It is inescapable and not susceptible to postmodernist analysis. It’s not about the aesthetic or literary superiority of certain artworks, but about the unequivocal good of human dignity. If Ms. Rashatwar finds the idea of losing her human rights so “romantic,” she is always welcome to move to Saudi Arabia, which is still awaiting its Enlightenment. The late, very great Gertrude Himmelfarb identified three separate Enlightenments — English, French, and Scottish — at different though overlapping stages of the 18th century, with different emphases in different places at different times. Chartres Cathedral was not dedicated until 1260, so there were five centuries between then and the Enlightenments, but they were the moments when people began to throw off superstition and belief in magic and witchcraft, to look at the world afresh, unafraid of what they might find and where it might take them, even at the risk of unbelief. If the Islamic world had had such a moment, it would not have been left behind in so many areas of accomplishment since it was turned back from the gates of Vienna in 1683, with the result that its fascist-fundamentalist wing might not have existed to lash out in such fury and resentment on 9/11. The recent Security Conference in Munich took as its theme and title “Westlessness” — an ugly word in English, worse in German — intending to prompt international decision-makers into thinking about what might happen if the Trump administration were ever to get as tough over NATO underfunding as it has long threatened to do. Another fear of Westlessness, however, should be about the eclipse of Western civilization as a subject for study, as a result of a hugely successful Gramscian march through the institutions that started long before Jesse Jackson and his megaphone visited Stanford. For far from becoming a Kumbaya touchy-feely place, a truly Westless world would be a neo-Darwinian free-for-all in which every state merely grabbed what it could, a return to the world Hobbes wrote about in Leviathan. The Left should beware what it claims to wish for, and Western civilization should be taught once more in our schools and colleges. For as Churchill knew as the bombs were falling and London was burning in December 1940, it is worth fighting for. Andrew Roberts

C’est la faute à Foucault ! (Après la peste… la rage !)

En ces temps étranges …

Où après l’hystérie collective du virus chinois

Et le psychodrame – de Colomb et la fête nationale jusqu’aux… parcs nationaux ! – du prétendu « racisme systémique » …

L’Amérique semble à nouveau emportée – et tout l’Occident peut-être avec elle ?

Par une de ces vagues périodiques de furie auto-purificatrice

Et où en ce singulier 244e anniversaire de la Déclaration d’indépendance américaine …

Le président américain se voit contraint …

Entre deux manifestations ou déboulonnages de statues …

A en rappeler toute l’importance au pied même d’un de ses plus imposants symboles  …

Comment ne pas repenser …

Avec la National Review

A ces alors bien innocents jours il y a trente ans à peine …

Où reprenant les nouveaux diktats de la French theory de nos Foucault et Derrida …

Jessie Jackson et ses amis appelaient au sein même de l’université Stanford

A rien de moins que… la fin de la Civilisation occidentale ?

Why We Must Teach Western Civilization

Andrew Roberts National Review April 30, 2020 Tuesday, December 3, 1940, Winston Churchill read a memorandum by the military strategist Basil Liddell Hart that advocated making peace with Nazi Germany. It argued, in a summary written by Churchill’s private secretary, Jock Colville, that otherwise Britain would soon see “Western Europe racked by warfare and economic hardship; the legacy of centuries, in art and culture, swept away; the health of the nation dangerously impaired by malnutrition, nervous strains and epidemics; Russia . . . profiting from our exhaustion.” Colville admitted it was “a terrible glimpse of the future,” but nonetheless courageously concluded that “we should be wrong to hesitate” in rejecting any negotiation with Adolf Hitler.

It is illuminating — especially in our own time of “nervous strains and epidemics” — that in that list of horrors, the fear of losing the “legacy of centuries” of Western European art and culture rated above almost everything else. For Churchill and Colville, the prospect of losing the legacy of Western civilization was worse even than that of succumbing to the hegemony of the Soviet Union. 

Yet today, only eight decades later, we have somehow reached a situation in which Sonalee Rashatwar, who is described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “fat-positivity activist and Instagram therapist,” can tell that newspaper, “I love to talk about undoing Western civilization because it’s just so romantic to me.” Whilst their methods are obviously not so appallingly extreme, Ms. Rashatwar and the cohorts who genuinely want to “undo” Western civilization are now succeeding where Adolf Hitler and the Nazis failed.

 The evidence is rampant in the academy, where a preemptive cultural cringe is “decolonizing” college syllabuses — that is, wherever possible removing Dead White European Males (DWEMs) from it — often with overt support from deans and university establishments. Western Civilization courses, insofar as they still exist under other names, are routinely denounced as racist, “phobic,” and generally so un-woke as to deserve axing. 

Western civilization, so important to earlier generations, is being ridiculed, abused, and marginalized, often without any coherent response. Of course, today’s non-Western colonizations, such as India’s in Kashmir and China’s in Tibet and Uighurstan, are not included in the sophomores’ concept of imperialism and occupation, which can be done only by the West. The “Amritsar Massacre” only ever refers to the British in the Punjab in 1919, for example, rather than the Indian massacre of ten times the number of people there in 1984. Nor can the positive aspects of the British Empire even be debated any longer, as the closing down of Professor Nigel Biggar’s conferences at Oxford University on the legacy of colonialism eloquently demonstrates.

We all know the joke that Mahatma Gandhi supposedly made when he was asked what he thought about Western civilization: “I think it might be a good idea.” The gag is apocryphal, in fact, first appearing two decades after his death. But very many people have taken it literally, arguing that there really is no such thing as Western civilization, from ideologues such as Noam Chomsky to the activists of the Rhodes Must Fall movement at Oxford University, who demand the removal from Oriel College of the statue of the benefactor of the Rhodes Scholarships.

Increasingly clamorous demands by African and Asian governments for the restitution of artifacts “stolen” from their countries during colonial periods are another aspect of the attack, an attempt to guilt-shame the West. It also did not help that for eight years before 2016, the United States was led by someone who was constantly searching for aspects of Western behavior for which to apologize.

This belief that Western civilization is at heart morally defective has recently been exemplified by the New York Times’ inane and wildly historically inaccurate “1619 Project,” which essentially attempts to present the entirety of American history from Plymouth Rock to today solely through the prism of race and slavery. “America Wasn’t a Democracy until Black Americans Made It One” was the headline of one essay in the New York Times Magazine launching the project, alongside “American Capitalism Is Brutal: You Can Trace That to the Plantation” and “How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam.” When no fewer than twelve — in the circumstances very brave — American Civil War historians sent a letter itemizing all the myriad factual errors in the project’s founding document, the New York Times refused to print it. Yet the Project plans to create and distribute school curriculums that will “recenter” America’s memory.

None of this would amount to much if only schools and colleges were not so keen to apologize for and deny Western civilization, and to abolish or dumb down the teaching of important aspects of it. The classics faculty at Oxford University, to take one example of many, has recently recommended that Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid be removed from the initial module of the literae Humaniores program in ancient literature, history, and philosophy, giving as their reason the difference in recent exam results between male and female undergraduates, and the difference in expertise in Latin and Greek between privately and publicly educated students. The supposed guardians of the discipline are therefore willing to put social experimentation and social leveling before the best possible teaching of the humanities, a disgraceful position for one of the world’s greatest universities to have adopted.

A glance at the fate of “Western Civ” courses in the United States suggests that there is a deep malaise in our cultural self-confidence. The origin of the concept of Western civilization as a subject is found in the “War Issues” course offered to students at Columbia University in 1918, just after the United States’ entry into World War I. By learning the politics, history, philosophy, and culture of the Western world, students were given the opportunity to understand the values for which they were about to be asked to risk their lives. In 1919, the Columbia course was developed into “An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization,” which was followed by a similar innovation at the University of Chicago in 1931.

By 1964, no fewer than 40 of the 50 top American colleges required students to take such a class, which, to take Stanford University as an example, had evolved into a core canon of around 15 works, including those by Homer, Virgil, Plato, Dante, Milton, and Voltaire. While the content of the Western Civ courses was considerably more flexible, complex, and diverse than subsequent critics have suggested (as Herbert Lindenberger’s study The History in Literature: On Value, Genre, Institutions explains), the courses did indeed treat Western civilization as a uniform entity. In the last decade, that was derided as so inherently and obviously evil that Western Civ courses had disappeared altogether, miraculously holding out in their Columbia birthplace and in few other places, including brave, non-government-funded outposts of sanity such as Hillsdale College in Michigan and the incipient Ralston College in Savannah.

For all that we must of course take proper cognizance of other cultures, the legacy of Western culture, in terms of both its sheer quality and its quantity, is unsurpassed in human history. We are deliberately underplaying many of the greatest contributions made to poetry, architecture, philosophy, music, and art by ignoring that fact, often simply in order to try to feel less guilty about imperialism, colonialism, and slavery, even though the last was a moral crime committed by only a minority of some few people’s great-great-great-grandparents.

As a result, future generations cannot be certain that they will be taught about the overwhelmingly positive aspects of Western civilization. They might not now be shown the crucial interconnection between, for example, the Scrovegni Chapel by Giotto at Padua, which articulates the complex scholasticism of Saint Augustine in paint; Machiavelli’s The Prince, the first work of modern political theory; Botticelli’s Primavera, the quintessence of Renaissance humanism in a single painting; the works of Teresa of Ávila and Descartes, which wrestle with the proof of discrete individual identity; Beethoven’s symphonies, arguably the most complex and profound orchestral works ever written; and Shakespeare, whose plays Harold Bloom has pointed out, “remain the outward limit of human achievement: aesthetically, cognitively, in certain ways morally, even spiritually.” Even if students are taught about these works individually, they will not be connected in a context that makes it clear how important they are to Western civilization.

We cannot therefore know, once the present campaign against Western civilization reaches its goal, that our children and grandchildren will be taught about the living thing that intimately connects Europe’s Gothic cathedrals, which are mediations in stone between the individual and the sublime; the giants of the 19th-century novel, from Dickens to Flaubert to Tolstoy, in whose works contemporary life realistically observed becomes a fit subject for art; the Dutch masters of the 17th century such as Rembrandt, who wrestled visually with the human condition in a fashion that still speaks to us across the centuries; Versailles, the Hermitage, and the Alhambra, which, though bombastic, are undeniably ravishing expressions of the human will. Faced with the argument that Western culture is no longer relevant, it’s tempting to adopt Dr. Johnson’s argument, aim a good kick at the nearest neoclassical building, and announce, “I refute it thus.”

Mention of the Alhambra in Granada prompts the thought that any course in Western civilization worth its name ought also to include the Umayyad Caliphate, of which Córdoba  in modern-day Spain was the capital between 756 and 929. In the wake of the conquest of Spain and the establishment of the Muslim confederacy of Al-Andalus, Córdoba  became a flourishing, polyglot, multicultural environment in which religious tolerance, despite Jews’ and Christians’ being obliged to pay a supplementary tax to the state, produced an atmosphere of intellectual progressiveness that made it one of the most important cities in the world. Discoveries in trigonometry, pharmacology, astronomy, and surgery can all be traced to Córdoba. At a certain point, then, a very particular set of historical circumstances produced an equally particular set of intellectual ideas, which had significant material consequences. The study of Western civilization is therefore emphatically not solely that of Christian DWEMs.

In 1988, Jesse Jackson led Stanford students in the chant, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” The protests attracted national headlines and inspired a television debate between the university’s president and William Bennett, then secretary of education. Bill King, the president of the Stanford Black Student Union, claimed at that time, “By focusing these ideas on all of us they are crushing the psyche of those others to whom Locke, Hume, and Plato are not speaking. . . . The Western culture program as it is presently structured around a core list and an outdated philosophy of the West being Greece, Europe, and Euro-America is wrong, and worse, it hurts people mentally and emotionally.” He presented no actual evidence that reading Locke, Hume, or Plato has ever hurt anyone mentally or emotionally, and that was of course decades before the snowflake generation could proclaim themselves offended by the “micro-aggression” of a raised eyebrow. 

In 2016, over 300 Stanford students signed a petition requesting a ballot on the restoration of the Western Civ course. Fewer people voted for the ballot than voted to have it in the first place. In his book The Lost History of Western Civilization, Stanley Kurtz places the events at Stanford center stage for what went so badly wrong later across America, as the skewed thinking behind the deconstructionist, multiculturalist, postmodern, and intersectional movements caused so much damage to education for so long. 

Kurtz reminds us that what the Western Civ courses really did was to root a people in their past and their values. The trajectory of Western culture was shown to have run from Greece via Rome to Christendom, infused by Judaic ideas and morality along the way via Jerusalem, but then detouring briefly through the Dark Ages, recovering in the Renaissance, which led to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and thus the scientific, rational, and politically liberated culture of Europe and European America. “From Plato to NATO,” as the catchphrase went. 

At the center of this transference of values across time and space was democracy, of which Winston Churchill famously said, “Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” The generations who grew up knowing that truth, rather than weltering in guilt and self-doubt about “false consciousness” and so on, were the lucky ones, because they were allowed to study the glories of Western civilization in a way that was unembarrassed, unashamed, and not saddled with accusations of guilt in a centuries-old crime that had absolutely nothing to do with them. They could learn about the best of their civilization, and how it benefited — and continues to benefit — mankind. 

As Ian Jenkins, the senior curator of the Ancient Greek collection at the British Museum, put it in his book on the Elgin Marbles — politically correctly entitled “The Parthenon Sculptures” — “Human figures in the frieze are more than mere portraits of the Athenian people of the day. Rather they represent a timeless humanity, one which transcends the present to encompass a universal vision of an ideal society.” The Parthenon itself set out the architectural laws of proportion that still obtain to this day, and later in the book Jenkins points out how the sculptures “transcend national boundaries and epitomize universal and enduring values of excellence.” It was no coincidence that interest in them permeated the Western Enlightenments of the 18th century. 

While the Parthenon was being built, Pericles contrasted the openness and moderation of Athenian civic life with the militaristic, secretive, dictatorial Spartans in his Funeral Speech of 430 b.c., and this struck a chord with the Enlightenment thinkers of 23 centuries later, just as it should continue to do with us today, reminding us why Western values are indeed superior to those that actuate the leaders of modern China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Zimbabwe. Marxism-Leninism began as a Western concept but was overthrown in the West, whereas it tragically still thrives in other parts of the world. And yes, we know that the architect Phidias employed slaves and metics (foreigners) in building the Parthenon, not just Athenian freemen.

“Carved around the middle of the fifth century bc,” writes Neil MacGregor, former director of the British Museum, the Elgin Marbles “are the product of a creative culture that is credited with the invention of such aspects of modern Western civilization as democracy, philosophy, history, medicine, poetry and drama.” Of course, no one is claiming that Oriental, Persian, and Arab civilizations did not have all of those listed — except democracy, which they did not have then and most still do not today — and no one suggests that Aboriginal Australians, South Sea Islanders, the Aztecs and Incas, ancient Egyptians, or the Khmer Empire that built Angkor Wat for the god Vishnu did not have their own worthy civilizations, too. 

Yet even the very greatest achievements and physical creations of those other civilizations simply cannot compare to what the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian Western civilization has produced in philosophy, history, medicine, poetry, and drama, let alone democracy. 

Anyone reading Charles Murray’s superb and unanswerable book Human Accomplishment cannot but accept that the contribution made to mankind — the whole of it, not just the West — by DWEMs has statistically utterly dwarfed that made by the whole of the rest of the world combined. Whilst the transformative powers of cathedrals and concertos are relatively debatable, Nobel prizes for science and medical breakthroughs can be numerically compared, as can the fact that there is no one in any other civilization who can objectively match the sheer volume and density of the poetic and dramatic work of Shakespeare. To deny that is to start going down the route of the discredited Afrocentrist historians who were reduced to claiming that ancient African civilizations had visited Latin America and significantly influenced the cultures they found there.

“From the constitution drafted by the founding fathers of the American republic to the war-time speeches of Winston Churchill,” Jenkins writes, “many have found inspiration for their brand of liberal humanism, and for a doctrine of the open society, in the Funeral Speech of Perikles.” If Pericles had lost an election or been ostracized in the annual vote of Athenians, he would have stood down from office in the same way that Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, and Emmanuel Macron would after a defeat in a free and fair election in their countries, whereas that is inconceivable in many totalitarian countries not infused by the ethics of the West. That is ultimately why we should not apologize for Western civilization, why it should be proselytized around the world and certainly taught as a discrete discipline in our schools and universities. 

Western Civilization courses never pretended that the West invented civilization, as the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss emphasized in his foreword to the UNESCO International Social Science Bulletin in 1951. Considering some of the most ancient sites of human habitation in the world, such as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in the Indus Valley, he observed straight streets intersecting at right angles, industrial workshops, utilitarian housing for workers, public baths, drains and sewers, pleasant suburbs for the wealthier classes; in short, what he called “all the glamour and blemishes of a great modern city.” Five thousand years ago, therefore, the most ancient civilizations of the old world were giving their lineaments to the new. As a new history of the world by the British historian Simon Sebag Montefiore will shortly demonstrate, the inhabitants of Egypt, China, and Persia were creating sophisticated art and architecture, legal and numerical systems, and literary and musical traditions while the peoples of Europe were still covered in woad and living in mud huts. 

What might Homer have to say about being civilized? The Iliad, which describes the clash between the Greeks and the Trojans, is not a description of a conflict between two nation-states. Adam Nicolson characterizes the conflict in The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters as “the deathly confrontation of two ways of understanding the world.” In this 4,000-year-old scenario, the Greeks are the barbarians. They are northern warriors, newly technologically empowered with ships and bronze spears, who want what the Trojans have got. They are pirates: coarse, animalistic, in love with violence. They are savage, rootless nomads who trade women as commodities (a three-legged metal tripod to put vases on is worth twelve oxen; a woman, four) and lust after the treasure hidden within Troy’s walls.

The city of Troy is wealthy, ordered, graceful, and stable, and the Greeks covet it. In the climax of the poem, Achilles, the ultimate man of the plains, confronts Hector of Troy, the man of the city. In disarmingly exhilarating and violent poetry, the outsider slaughters the insider. The barbarians have won. Or have they? After the battle, Priam, Hector’s grieving father, visits Achilles in his tent. Troy is doomed but Achilles marvels at Priam’s humility, at his ability to respect the man who has murdered his beloved son. From the “mutuality and courage of that wisdom,” writes Nicolson, “its blending of city and plain, a vision of the future might flower.”

Our word “civilization” derives from the Latin “civilis,” from “civis” (citizen) via “civitas” (city). The city is the locus for human encounter and understanding, for exchange and connection, for the development of communal and peaceful coexistence, for the flourishing of both everyday exchange and sophisticated arts. Opponents of the teaching of Western civilization object that European countries built their wealth and cultural achievements on the colonial exploitation and enslavement of non-European peoples. Yet as Homer demonstrates, the development of civilization has always been predicated upon darker forces. 

The Crusaders of medieval Europe were no more bloody and cruel than the wars of conversion enacted by the expanding Islamic world in the seventh and eighth centuries. The Ethiopian Empire (1270–1974) was founded upon slavery, as was the Ottoman Empire (1299–1924). If the history of the West needs to be taught critically, then so too does that of the East or the so-called global South. No civilization has been morally pure. 

“Competition and monopoly,” writes Niall Ferguson sagely in his book Civilization: The West and the Rest, “science and superstition; freedom and slavery; curing and killing; hard work and laziness — in each case, the West was the father to both the good and the bad.” Those early Western Civ courses never tried to argue that it was flawless — Karl Marx sometimes used to be taught in them, after all — but in the 20th century, students had more common sense and took that for granted, and were not looking for ever-new ways to be offended.

Christianity, for all its schisms and intolerance, its occasionally obnoxious obscurantism and iconoclasm, has been overall an enormous force for good in the world. The Sermon on the Mount was, as Churchill put it, “the last word in ethics.” 

Christians abolished slavery in the 1830s (or three decades later in America’s case), whereas outside Christendom the practice survived for much longer, and identifiable versions of it still exist in some non-Christian and anti-Christian countries today. 

The abolition of slavery did not merely happen by votes in Parliament and proclamations from presidents; it was fought for by (and against) Christians with much blood spilt on both sides. That would not have happened without the Judeo-Christian values and the Western Enlightenment that are so central to Western civilization. The Royal Navy ran its West Africa Preventive Squadron for over 60 years with the sole task of fighting slavery, during which time it freed around 160,000 slaves, and an estimated 17,000 British seamen died of disease or in battle achieving that. 

When considering “the rest” — those civilizations that did not produce what Western civilization has — Ferguson is unblushingly honest. “We must resist the temptation to romanticize history’s losers,” he writes. “The other civilizations overrun by the West’s, or more peacefully transformed by it through borrowings as much as by impositions, were not without their defects either, of which the most obvious is that they were incapable of providing their inhabitants with any sustained improvement in the material quality of their lives.” For all my earlier concentration on art and architecture, poetry and music, Ferguson is also correct to point out that “civilization is much more than just the contents of a few first-rate art galleries. It is a highly complex human organization,” which is why his book is “as much about sewage pipes as flying buttresses.” 

In response to the issuing of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the American Anthropological Association released a critique that asked, “How can the proposed Declaration be applicable to all human beings and not be a statement of rights conceived only in terms of the values prevalent in the countries of Western Europe and America?” The question assumes that the 30 articles of the Declaration could not be universal, since universality of human rights was of necessity a “Western” assumption. This was intended as a criticism, not an endorsement.

Yet the West has not stolen these values, as the Greeks stole the Trojans’ gold; it has not appropriated or co-opted them. Rather they are seen as objectionable because they do, indeed, according to their detractors, inhere in Western culture. So, given that a belief in human rights is, apparently, predicated on Western culture, is not that culture worth examining and teaching? 

Instead, there is an entire industry devoted to trying to topple DWEM heroes from their pedestals — literally, in the case of the British activist Afua Hirsch’s attempt to have Admiral Nelson removed from his column in Trafalgar Square in London on the grounds that he did not campaign to abolish the slave trade (which was not abolished by Britain until two years after his death in 1805). 

The climate-change movement is similarly riddled with anti-Western assumptions, whereby capitalism, development, and growth are demonized, all of them supposedly primarily Western concepts. A glance at the actual carbon emissions from the new coal-fired power stations still being built every month in China should put Western climate self-haters right about the importance of development and growth, but campaigning against democratic, guilt-ridden Western governments is far easier than taking the fight to Beijing and Delhi, which now is where the real difference can be made. When Greta Thunberg denounces Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party outside the Great Hall of the People, she will be worthy of our respect; until then, she is merely playing on Western guilt, like every other demagogic critic of the West so beloved of the Left. 

The self-hatred virus is a particularly virulent and infectious one, and has almost entirely overtaken the academy in its attitude towards Western civilization. We all know the concept of the self-hating Jew who instinctively and immediately blames Israel for everything bad that happens in the Middle East (and often in the wider world, too). If the term is unfamiliar, look at some of the lobbying organizations on Washington’s K Street, or the equally virulent “Jews for Corbyn” movement inside the ultra-left Momentum organization in Britain. 

Western self-hatred, which is quite different from healthy self-criticism, has gone far too far in our society. American self-haters such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore have made hugely successful careers out of a knee-jerk reaction that whatever ill befalls the West is solely its own fault. They argue, of course, that they in fact like their country — rarely “love,” as that would differentiate it from other countries — and it’s only one particular administration or policy with which they take issue rather than the whole culture. Yet this is false. If after a lifetime one has never — as in Jeremy Corbyn’s case — once supported a single Western military operation under any circumstance, and always had a good word for every opponent of the West, whether it be a state actor or a leftist terrorist group, then the truth becomes obvious.

British self-hatred goes back a long way, via Thomas Paine and Kim Philby, but today it is not enough for the Chomskys and Corbyns merely to hate their own country; they must hate the West in general, which for them tends to mean NATO, the special relationship, the Anglo-American form of (relatively) free markets and free enterprise, and of course the concept of Western civilization itself, which they consider an artificial construct. Recently Seumas Milne, Jeremy Corbyn’s spin doctor, tried to argue that capitalism has killed more people than Communism, although of course he did not accept the figure of 100 million that most responsible historians recognize was Communism’s death toll in the 20th century. 

Mention of Corbyn and Milne prompts the thought that all too often consideration of the contribution of Judeo-Christian thought to Western civilization tends to underplay the first — Judeo — part of the conjoined twins. It is impossible not to spot an enormous overlap — the shaded area in the Venn diagram — between hatred of the concept of Western civilization on one side and at least a certain haziness over anti-Semitism on the other. In America, there are unfortunately still those who believe that Western civilization is at risk from Jewish culture. This view is as ignorant as it is obnoxious. For without the “Judeo” half of the phenomenon, Western civilization would simply not exist. 

Once again, Charles Murray is invaluable here in enumerating in numbers and places and names and statistics the contribution made in every field by Jews over the millennia, around 100 times what it ought to be in relation to their demographic numbers on the planet. Writing of Max Warburg’s daughter Gisela in his book The Warburgs, Ron Chernow recalls how, “once asked at a birthday party whether she was Jewish, Gisela refused to answer. When Alice [her mother] asked why, Gisi stammered confusedly, ‘You always told us not to boast.’” That might be true of her, but philo-Semitic Gentiles such as I enjoy boasting about the contribution the Jews have made to Western civilization in every sphere. Beware the hater of Western civilization; very often there’s an anti-Semite not very far away.

French postmodern theory refuses to distinguish between high and low culture, attempting to make it futile even to discuss whether this or that work of art is or is not lovely or important. If you want to argue that Kanye West’s lyrics are as good as Shakespeare, or Mongolian yurts are as sophisticated a form of architecture as Bauhaus, then Foucault will support you all the way. But if you want to understand why we do not have child slavery in the West, or disenfranchised women, or imprisonment without trial, or the imprisonment of newspaper editors, you simply have to study the cultural history that produced such an unusual and extraordinary situation in human history. It is inescapable and not susceptible to postmodernist analysis. It’s not about the aesthetic or literary superiority of certain artworks, but about the unequivocal good of human dignity. If Ms. Rashatwar finds the idea of losing her human rights so “romantic,” she is always welcome to move to Saudi Arabia, which is still awaiting its Enlightenment.

The late, very great Gertrude Himmelfarb identified three separate Enlightenments — English, French, and Scottish — at different though overlapping stages of the 18th century, with different emphases in different places at different times. Chartres Cathedral was not dedicated until 1260, so there were five centuries between then and the Enlightenments, but they were the moments when people began to throw off superstition and belief in magic and witchcraft, to look at the world afresh, unafraid of what they might find and where it might take them, even at the risk of unbelief. If the Islamic world had had such a moment, it would not have been left behind in so many areas of accomplishment since it was turned back from the gates of Vienna in 1683, with the result that its fascist-fundamentalist wing might not have existed to lash out in such fury and resentment on 9/11.

The recent Security Conference in Munich took as its theme and title “Westlessness” — an ugly word in English, worse in German — intending to prompt international decision-makers into thinking about what might happen if the Trump administration were ever to get as tough over NATO underfunding as it has long threatened to do. Another fear of Westlessness, however, should be about the eclipse of Western civilization as a subject for study, as a result of a hugely successful Gramscian march through the institutions that started long before Jesse Jackson and his megaphone visited Stanford. 

For far from becoming a Kumbaya touchy-feely place, a truly Westless world would be a neo-Darwinian free-for-all in which every state merely grabbed what it could, a return to the world Hobbes wrote about in Leviathan. The Left should beware what it claims to wish for, and Western civilization should be taught once more in our schools and colleges. For as Churchill knew as the bombs were falling and London was burning in December 1940, it is worth fighting for.

— This essay is sponsored by National Review Institute.

Voir aussi:

‘Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Western Civ Has Got to Go’

Robert Curry American Greatness June 10, 2019

On January 15, 1987, Jesse Jackson and around 500 protesters marched down Palm Drive, Stanford University’s grand main entrance, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go.”

They were protesting Stanford University’s introductory humanities program known as “Western Culture.” For Jackson and the protesters, the problem was its lack of “diversity.” The faculty and administration raced to appease the protesters, and “Western Culture” was formally replaced with “Cultures, Ideas, and Values.”

The new program included works on race, class, and gender and works by ethnic minority and women authors. Western culture gave way to multi-culture. The study of Western civilization succumbed to the Left’s new dogma, multiculturalism.

When I attended college in the 1960s, taking and passing the year-long course in the history of Western civilization was required for graduation. The point of the requirement was perfectly clear. Students were expected to be proficient with the major works of their civilization if they were to be awarded a degree. It was the mark of an educated person to know these things.

Because it was a required course, it was taught by a senior professor in a large lecture hall with hundreds of students. The course was no walk in the park. When I took the course, only one student got an A grade for the first semester. Students went down in wave after wave. Many dropped out of the course, planning to try again later. Others dropped out of school or transferred to another college or university.

Student protests were all the rage on campus in those days, too. But nobody protested the Western Civ course, its contents, the difficulty involved, or the fact that it was required. Students evidently accepted the idea that studying the story of how we got here and who shaped that story was essential to becoming an educated person.

It is also not at all clear that the faculty in those days would have raced to appease student protesters chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go.”

Many of the faculty, after all, had served in World War II. My best friends on the faculty had all served either in the European or the Pacific theater. They had put their lives on the line to defend Western civilization, and served with others who had lost their lives in that fight. Whether they were teaching Plato or Italian art of the Renaissance and the Baroque eras, they taught with the passion of men who had fought as soldiers and were working as teachers to preserve Western culture. Perhaps my fellow students would not have dared to present our teachers with that particular protest.

The protesting students at Stanford in 1987 were pushing against an open door. Radicalized professors, products of the student protests of the 1960s, welcomed the opportunity to do what they already wanted done. The protesters provided the excuse. Instead of doing the hard work of teaching Western civilization, they were free to preach multiculturalism—and the change was presented to the world as meeting the legitimate demands of students.

It is worth noting, I think, that the chant has an interesting ambiguity. Was it the course in Western civilization or Western civilization itself that had to go? Clearly, Jackson was leading the protesters in demanding a change in the curriculum at Stanford, but the Left, having gotten rid of “Western Civ” at Stanford and at most other colleges, is reaching for new extremes. Today, ridding the world of Western civilization as a phenomenon doesn’t seem like such a stretch.

In the wee hours of the morning recently, in a nearly deserted international airport terminal, I got into conversation with a fellow passenger while we waited for our luggage. He told me he was returning from a stay at an eco-resort. He said because of cloudy weather there had been no hot water on most days—and little hot water when there was any—and the electric light ran out every night soon after nightfall.

The worst part for him, he said, was the requirement to put used toilet paper in a special container provided for that purpose. When I remarked that what he had experienced at the resort was what the Greens have planned for all of us, he cheerfully agreed. He went on to say that he believed the real purpose of the Greens’ plan is population control, that a truly green future would only be able to support a much smaller population.

The amazing part is this: he conveyed a complete agreement with the environmentalist project and what he believed to be its underlying purpose. It seemed that what he had experienced at the resort had not caused him to re-think his attitude, or even to consider that there was a risk he might not survive the transition to a much smaller population.

As he spoke, I easily imagined him as a younger person chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go.”

Voir également:

‘An Honest Conversation About Race’?

Is confrontation wise? Much progress has been accomplished under cover of hypocrisy—or civility.

Lance Morrow
The Wall Street Journal
July 2, 2020

People have said for decades that America needs to have “an honest conversation about race.” Is this what they had in mind—this drama of marches, riots, witness videos, tear-gassings, surging police lines, Trump tweets, Zoom pressers, statue-topplings, Facebook screeds, cable television rants, window-smashings, shop-burnings, police-defundings, escalating murder rates and the distant thunder of editorial boards?

Veterans in the field of less-than-revolutionary race relations learned that a certain amount of truth-suppression is actually helpful—preferable to the “honesty” of hatred, for example. Much progress has been accomplished under cover of hypocrisy—or, if you like, civility. Good manners and artful hypocrisy were Booker T. Washington’s game, but he was written off as an Uncle Tom long ago.

We live now in the regime and culture of confrontation—ideology as performance, anger as proof of authenticity. You remember how much trouble Joe Biden got into when he bragged about his ability to get along with segregationists in the 1970s. Mr. Biden was preening thoughtlessly on his skill in the arts of the old hypocrisy. Now he has learned his lesson and embraces the left’s idea of honesty—no deviation from the party line or from the officially approved emotions.

How do you judge a moment of history when you are in the thick of it? How can you tell if all of this will be remembered as historic or will be superseded and forgotten as another momentary sensation, another self-important mirage? The current moment feels intensely historic now, but we shall see.

Black Lives Matter has ambitions to abolish its own version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution’s “Four Olds”—old customs, old culture, old habits, old ideas—and to add a fifth, old statues. Yet this summer the titanic racial theme competes and fuses with other superstories—the pandemic and its economic consequences, the presidential race, America’s long-running politico-religious civil war.

Raw emotion pours out of social media and into the streets—outrage, with a touch of holiday. On the other side is an oddly silent majority. It seems eerie that so much of the country—the land of “white supremacy,” as the left likes to think of it—gives the appearance of having almost acquiesced, as if it has conceded that the eruptions might be justified and even overdue. Can it be that the silenced majority has had an epiphany, that in its heart it acknowledges the justice of black Americans calling in Thomas Jefferson’s IOU, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that his justice cannot sleep forever”?

There’s some of that—changed minds, old prejudice grown reflective. In any case, the silenced majority, out of moral courtesy, has been reluctant to criticize people demonstrating in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. At the same time, it recoils—more indignantly and incredulously each day—from the left’s overall program and mind-set, which it considers insidious if not crazy. When major cities propose to cut off funds for their police departments or to abolish them altogether, that Swiftian absurdity makes a deep impression, confirming a broader doubt about the left’s intentions and mental health.

The most tragic impediment to an honest conversation about race in America is fear—an entirely realistic fear of being slain by the cancel culture. This fear to speak is a civic catastrophe and an affront to the Constitution. It induces silent rage in the silenced. It is impossible to exaggerate the corrupting effect that the terror of being called a “racist”—even a whiff of the toxin, the slightest hint, the ghost of an imputation—has on freedom of discussion and the honest workings of the American public mind.

Racism in America is no longer totalitarian, as it once was, especially in the South. The cancel culture is the new totalitarianism, a compound of McCarthyism, the Inquisition, the Cultural Revolution, the Taliban and what has become a lethal and systemic ignorance of history—almost a hatred of it. All that wild, unearned certainty, all that year-zero zealotry, discredits those who associate themselves with the cause and makes a mockery of their sweet intentions. Much of the white woke rage is radiant with mere self-importance.

And it’s going to backfire. Newton’s Third Law of Motion hasn’t been repealed: For every action there is still an equal and opposite reaction. My sense is that there is quietly building a powerful backlash, which will express itself on Nov. 3, if not before. My guess is that polls now showing Mr. Biden far ahead don’t reflect reality. It may be impossible for President Trump to win; for some reason, he collaborates daily with his enemies to sabotage his chances. But the outcome is by no means as certain as the polls now suggest.

Mr. Morrow is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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Amid a pandemic, the woke-ist media are experiencing a psychotic break

Becket Adams
Washington Examiner
July 03, 2020
 
If the press suffered a nervous breakdown after the 2016 election ⁠— and they did ⁠— they are experiencing a full-on psychotic break amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd protests.

It is as if the lockdowns and nationwide demonstrations caused media executives to snap, leaving them in a wide-eyed, obsessive frenzy to cleanse society of all problematics, screaming all the while, “Out, damned spot!”

CNN, for example, engaged in explicit political activism this week when it sought to shame companies that have yet to pull ads from Facebook over CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s persistent refusal to censor problematic speech.

“These are the big brands that haven’t pulled ads from Facebook yet,” reads the headline. The report then goes on to name and shame the businesses that have had the temerity to continue to advertise on one of the biggest social media platforms in the world.

This is not news reporting. This is activism. It is a poorly disguised effort by a major newsroom to pressure companies into boycotting a social media platform that is too committed to political neutrality and too opposed to political censorship for the media’s taste. In any other time and place, the press would have mocked and condemned the CNN article. But these are unusual times. Many journalists today agree with CNN’s shaming tactics and the reasons behind them, and so the Facebook report came and went this week with barely a whimper of objection from our brave Fourth Estate.

Over at the New York Times, the occupied opinion section, which claims to have standards against “needlessly harsh” commentaries that fall “short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate,” published an especially unhinged article this week titled “America’s Enduring Caste System.”

“Throughout human history, three caste systems have stood out,” writes contributor Isabel Wilkerson. “The lingering, millenniums-long caste system of India. The tragically accelerated, chilling and officially vanquished caste system of Nazi Germany. And the shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid in the United States.”

She adds, “Each version relied on stigmatizing those deemed inferior to justify the dehumanization necessary to keep the lowest-ranked people at the bottom and to rationalize the protocols of enforcement. A caste system endures because it is often justified as divine will, originating from sacred text or the presumed laws of nature, reinforced throughout the culture and passed down through the generations.”

Yes, it seems a bit off for Wilkerson to lump the U.S. in with Nazi Germany, but that is not even the craziest part. That distinction goes to her exceptionally ignorant assertion that 2 of the 3 most notable caste systems in history come from the last 250 years. Several ancient empires would beg to differ. Then again, if your viewpoint is the right one, New York Times editors will not be sticklers for facts.

Elsewhere at the New York Times, the news section decided this week that now is a good time to remind its readers that Mount Rushmore is very problematic.

“Mount Rushmore was built on land that belonged to the Lakota tribe and sculpted by a man who had strong bonds with the Ku Klux Klan,” the paper reported. “It features the faces of 2 U.S. presidents who were slaveholders.”

All true. Also, while we are on the topic of unjustly seized land, please enjoy this excerpt from Reason magazine explaining how the New York Times Building in midtown Manhattan came to be built:

On September 24, 2001, as New York firefighters were still picking their comrades’ body parts out of the World Trade Center wreckage, New York Times Co. Vice Chairman and Senior Vice President Michael Golden announced that the Gray Lady was ready to do its part in the healing.

« We believe there could not be a greater contribution, » Golden told a clutch of city officials and journalists, « than to have the opportunity to start construction of the first major icon building in New York City after the tragic events of Sept. 11. » Bruce Ratner, president of the real estate development company working with the Times on its proposed new Eighth Avenue headquarters, called the project a « very important testament to our values, culture and democratic ideals. »

Those « values » and « democratic ideals » included using eminent domain to forcibly evict 55 businesses–including a trade school, a student housing unit, a Donna Karan outlet, and several mom-and-pop stores–against their will, under the legal cover of erasing « blight, » in order to clear ground for a 52-story skyscraper. The Times and Ratner, who never bothered making an offer to the property owners, bought the Port Authority-adjacent property at a steep discount ($85 million) from a state agency that seized the 11 buildings on it; should legal settlements with the original tenants exceed that amount, taxpayers will have to make up the difference. On top of that gift, the city and state offered the Times $26 million in tax breaks for the project, and Ratner even lobbied to receive $400 million worth of U.S. Treasury-backed Liberty Bonds–instruments created by Congress to help rebuild Lower Manhattan. Which is four miles away.

The New York Times report this week claims that the history of Mount Rushmore is of particular relevance now because President Trump plans to attend July Fourth festivities at the South Dakota monument. Curious, then, that the New York Times did not think that history worth reevaluating when former President Barack Obama visited the exact same site during the 2008 campaign or when the New York Times’s own Maureen Dowd wondered in 2016 whether Obama would qualify as a “Mount Rushmore president. »

Lastly, ABC News published a report this week titled “New government data, shared first with ABC News, shows the country’s premier outdoor spaces – the 419 national parks – remain overwhelmingly white.”

The story’s headline reads, “America’s national parks face existential crisis over race,” adding in the subhead, “A mostly white workforce, visitation threatens parks’ survival and public health.”

“Just 23% of visitors to the parks were people of color,” the report adds, “77% were white. Minorities make up 42% of the U.S. population.”

As it turns out, white people really enjoy hiking and camping, and that is a problem for the parks, the ABC News report claims, because people of color will be a majority in America by 2044. The article then goes on to quote outdoor enthusiasts of color who say they do not feel welcome at the “overwhelmingly white” national parks. These advocates, the article reads, “say they hope the moment since George Floyd’s death in police custody brings attention to systemic racism in the outdoors as well as other parts of society and translates into a long-term change in attitudes and behavior.”

Sorry, everyone. Even national parks are racist now.

This is not normal behavior from our press. This is a mental breakdown in the works. People of the future will look at all this and wonder how on earth these stories made it into print.

The best thing that can happen now for the news industry is for the pandemic to pass, the lockdowns to lift, and for everyone to go outside and get some fresh air. Because the way nearly everyone in the press is behaving now, it seems clear that cabin fever has set in hard, and it is an epidemic we may not shake as quickly as the coronavirus.

Voir encore:

FARRELL: The Left Is Clearing A Pathway To Power

Chris Farrell Daily Caller June 25, 2020

Why are we experiencing the worst civil disturbances in decades? It is because the proponents of radical change won’t have it any other way.

Early 20th Century Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci theorized that the path to a communist future came through gradually undermining the pillars of western civilization. We are now seeing the results of decades of such erosion, in education, in faith, in politics and in the media. The old standards of freedom, individual responsibility, equality and civic order are being assaulted by proponents of socialism, radical deconstruction and mob rule.

Those who charge that institutional racism is rampant in America are the same as those who run the country’s major institutions – city governments, academe, the media, Hollywood, major sports leagues and the Washington, D.C. deep state bureaucracy. Accountability? None.  The irony is rich.

At the same time, the only legal and institutional structures that mandate racially based outcomes do so in favor of other-than-majority groups. Anyone who questions this arrangement winds up cancelled.

The public debate is hardwired for disunity, making the former language of inclusion the new dog whistle of racism. The exclusionary slogan “black lives matter” is sanctified while the more unifying “all lives matter” is called divisive. People who say they want a colorblind society are called bigots even as progressives push for segregated events and housing on college campuses and “CHOP” protesters demand Black-only hospitals. Martin Luther King’s dream that people will “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” is judged by today’s progressives as a call for white supremacy.

The media goes out of its way to coddle violent protesters, calling them peaceful even as they verbally abuse and then throw bottles at police, saying they are not “generally speaking, unruly” standing in front of a burning building. Political leaders who benefit from disunity keep fanning the flames. For example House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reckless charge that the Senate police reform bill is “trying to get away with the murder of George Floyd” is irresponsibly divisive, especially since it was drafted by African American Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).

Public monuments have borne the brunt of the violence in recent weeks. As President Trump predicted, the vandalism has moved well beyond statues of Confederates. Practically any statue is fair game. Washington, Jefferson, even Ulysses S. Grant, the man who defeated Lee’s army, all have been toppled by the mobs. And liberal city governments are taking down statues at least as fast as the rioters. But it would be a mistake to think that the statues themselves are at issue, or even what they symbolize. Rather it is the need for the radicals not just to cleanse American history but to make people feel ashamed of every aspect of it. In this way they clear a path for a radical future, buttressed by an unwavering sense of moral superiority that entitles them to smack down any dissent, usually gagging people in the name of “free speech.”

We were told for years that anything the Trump administration did that was remotely controversial was an attempt to divide the country. Democrats frequently blamed insidious foreign influence, using expressions like “right out of Putin’s playbook” to keep the Russian collusion canard alive. But they are the ones who are weakening and dividing the country, to the evident glee of our Russian and Chinese adversaries. They have completely adopted longstanding Russian and Chinese propaganda lines about the United States being a country of endemic racism, poverty and oppression, when in fact America is an opportunity society and one of the most racially diverse and tolerant countries in the world. The protesters, their political allies and media backers are working hard to create the very sort of divisions they claim to oppose, because a weak, divided and ashamed America is their pathway to power.

Chris Farrell is director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog organization. He is a former military intelligence officer.

Voir encore:

Columbus Is Racist, Says Columbus

The explorer is ejected from a city that—for now—bears his name

Wall Street Journal

July 2, 2020

The city of Columbus, Ohio, this week unceremoniously evicted a 16-foot bronze statue . . . of Christopher Columbus. “For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther, giving the removal order two weeks ago. “That does not represent our great city.”

Which great city, precisely? He forgot to mention. Or perhaps the mayor is going to start referring to his town euphemistically as “Ohio’s capital” and so forth, the way some people refuse to say the name of the Washington Redskins football team. This could make campaigning for his re-election rather awkward: Vote Ginther for mayor of [Unmentionable Racist].

Don’t laugh, because a petition at change.org has 118,000 signatures—an eighth of Columbus’s population—to rechristen the city Flavortown. That would reflect the region’s status as “one of the nation’s largest test markets for the food industry,” while honoring the enduring legacy of a Columbus native, the celebrity chef Guy Fieri. Alas, the petition’s creator has since apologized. Renaming the city, he says, “should be a fight led by those most affected,” and “as a white male, I don’t have a say in this.”

A columnist for the Columbus Dispatch noodled—jokingly?—that because “it’s always dangerous to name something after humans,” how about: Pleistocene, Ohio. Is the unpronounceable symbol once used by the musician Prince available again, or would that be cultural appropriation of Minnesota? A letter to the Dispatch had a bold idea: “Cowed, Ohio.”

The statue of Columbus sat in front of Columbus City Hall for 65 years. It was a gift from the people of Genoa, Italy. Now the mayor’s office says it’s “in safekeeping at a secure city facility.” What a blow to U.S.-Italy relations. At least he could offer to give the statue back. A second Columbus likeness, a marble of the navigator pointing west, was booted last month by Columbus State Community College, where it used to stand in the downtown Discovery District.

The mayor’s office says the unelected Columbus Art Commission will launch a “participatory process” to find new art that “offers a shared vision for the future.” Good luck. “Let’s just leave the space empty,” one Dispatch letter suggested, “because if not everyone is happy should anyone be happy?” What a sad sign of the times.

Voir par ailleurs:

STATEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS

SUBMITTED TO THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, UNITED NATIONS BY THE EXECUTIVE BOARD, AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

American Anthropologist

NEW SERIES Vol. 49 OCTOBER-DECEMBER, 1947 No. 4

The problem faced by the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations in preparing its Declaration on the Rights of Man must be approached from two points of view. The first, in terms of which the Declaration is ordinarily conceived, concerns the respect for the personality of the individual as such, and his right to its fullest development as a member of his society. In a world order, however, respect for the cultures of differing human groups is equally important.

These are two facets of the same problem, since it is a truism that groups are composed of individuals, and human beings do not function outside the societies of which they form a part. The problem is thus to formulate a statement of human rights that will do more than just phrase respect for the indi- vidual as an individual. It must also take into full account the individual as a member of the social group of which he is a part, whose sanctioned modes of life shape his behavior, and with whose fate his own is thus inextricably bound.

Because of the great numbers of societies that are in intimate contact in the modern world, and because of the diversity of their ways of life, the primary task confronting those who would draw up a Declaration on the Rights of Man is thus, in essence, to resolve the following problem: How can the pro- posed Declaration be applicable to all human beings, and not be a statement of rights conceived only in terms of the values prevalent in the countries of Western Europe and America?

Before we can cope with this problem, it will be necessary for us to outline some of the findings of the sciences that deal with the study of human culture, that must be taken into account if the Declaration is to be in accord with the present state of knowledge about man and his modes of life.

If we begin, as we must, with the individual, we find that from the moment of his birth not only his behavior, but his very thought, his hopes, aspirations, the moral values which direct his action and justify and give meaning to his life in his own eyes and those of his fellows, are shaped by the body of custom of the group of which he becomes a member. The process by means of which this is accomplished is so subtle, and its effects are so far-reaching, that only after considerable training are we conscious of it. Yet if the essence of the Declaration is to be, as it must, a statement in which the right of the individual to develop his personality to the fullest is to be stressed, then this must be based on a recognition of the fact that the personality of the individual can develop only in terms of the culture of his society.

Over the past fifty years, the many ways in which man resolves the prob- lems of subsistence, of social living, of political regulation of group life, of reaching accord with the Universe and satisfying his aesthetic drives has been widely documented by the researches of anthropologists among peoples living in all parts of the world. All peoples do achieve these ends. No two of them, however, do so in exactly the. same way, and some of them employ means that differ, often strikingly, from one another.

Yet here a dilemma arises. Because of the social setting of the learning process, the individual cannot but be convinced that his own way of life is the most desirable one. Conversely, and despite changes originating from within and without his culture that he recognizes as worthy of adoption, it becomes equally patent to him that, in the main, other ways than his own, to the degree they differ from it, are less desirable than those to which he is accustomed. Hence valuations arise, that in themselves receive the sanction of accepted belief.

The degree to which such evaluations eventuate in action depends on the basic sanctions in the thought of a people. In the main, people are willing to live and let live, exhibiting a tolerance for behavior of another group different than their own, especially where there is no conflict in the subsistence field. In the history of Western Europe and America, however, economic expansion, control of armaments, and an evangelical religious tradition have translated the recognition of cultural differences into a summons to action. This has been emphasized by philosophical systems that have stressed absolutes in the realm of values and ends. Definitions of freedom, concepts of the nature of human rights, and the like, have thus been narrowly drawn. Alternatives have been decried, and suppressed where controls have been established over non- European peoples. The hard core of similarities between cultures has con- sistently been overlooked.

The consequences of this point of view have been disastrous for mankind. Doctrines of the « white man’s burden » have been employed to implement economic exploitation and to deny the right to control their own affairs to millions of peoples over the world, where the expansion of Europe and America has not meant the literal extermination of whole populations. Rationalized in terms of. ascribing cultural inferiority to these peoples, or in conceptions of their backwardness in development of their ‘ »primitive mentality, » that justified their being held in the tutelage of their superiors, the history of the ex- pansion of the western world has been marked by demoralization of human personality and the disintegration of human rights among the peoples over whom hegemony has been established.

The values of the ways of life of these peoples have been consistently misunderstood and decried. Religious beliefs that for untold ages have carried conviction, and permitted adjustment to the Universe have been attacked as superstitious, immoral, untrue. And, since power carries its own conviction, this has furthered the process of demoralization begun by economic exploita- tion and the loss of political autonomy. The white man’s burden, the civilizing mission, have been heavy indeed. But their weight has not been borne by those who, frequently in all honesty, have journeyed to the far places of the world to uplift those regarded by them as inferior.

We thus come to the first proposition that the study of human psychology and culture dictates as essential in drawing up a Bill of Human Rights in terms of existing knowledge:

1. The individual realizes his personality through his culture, hence respect for individual differences entails a respect for cultural differences. There can be no individual freedom, that is, when the group with which the individual indentifies himself is not free. There can be no full development of the individual personality as long as the individual is told, by men who have the power to enforce their commands, that the way of life of his group is in- ferior to that of those who wield the power.

This is more than an academic question, as becomes evident if one looks about him at the world as it exists today. Peoples who on first contact with European and American might were awed and partially convinced of the superior ways of their rulers have, through two wars and a depression, come to re-examine the new and the old. Professions of love of democracy, of devotion to freedom have come with something less than conviction to those who are themselves denied the right to lead their lives as seems proper to them. The religious dogmas of those who profess equality and practice discrimination, who stress the virtue of humility and are themselves arrogant in insistence on their beliefs have little meaning for peoples whose devotion to other faiths makes theseinconsistencies as clear as the desert landscape at high noon. Small wonder that these peoples, denied the right to live in terms of their own cultures, are discovering new values in old beliefs they had been led to question.

No consideration of human rights can be adequate without taking into account the related problem of human capacity. Man, biologically, is one. Homo sapiens is a single species, no matter how individuals may differ in their aptitudes, their abilities, their interests. It is established that any normal individual can learn any part of any culture other than his own, provided only he is afforded the opportunity to do so. That cultures differ in degree of complexity, of richness of content, is due to historic forces, not biological ones. All existing ways of life meet the test of survival. Of those cultures that have disappeared, it must be remembered that their number includes some that were great, powerful, and complex as well as others that were modest, content with the status quo, and simple. Thus we reach a second principle:

2. Respect for differences between cultures is validated by the scientific fact that no iechnique of qualitatively evaluating cultures has been discovered.

This principle leads us to a further one, namely that the aims that guide the life of every people are self-evident in their significance to that people. It is the principle that emphasizes the universals in human conduct rather than the absolutes that the culture of Western Europe and America stresses. It recognizes that the eternal verities only seem so because we have been taught to regard them as such; that every people, whether it expresses them or not, lives in devotion to verities whose eternal nature is as real to them as are those of Euroamerican culture to Euroamericans. Briefly stated, this third principle that must be introduced into our consideration is the following,:

3. Standards and values are relative to the culture from which they de- rive so that any attempt to formulate postulates that grow out of the beliefs or moral codes of one culture must to that extent detract from the applicability of any Declaration of Human Rights to mankind as a whole.

Ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, are found in all societies, though they differ in their expression among different peoples. What is held to be a human right in one society may be regarded as anti-social by another people, or by the same people in a different period of their history. The saint of one epoch would at a later time be confined as a man not fitted to cope with reality. Even the nature of the physical world, the colors we see, the sounds we hear, are conditioned by the language we speak, which is part of the culture into which we are born.

The problem of drawing up a Declaration of Human Rights was relatively simple in the Eighteenth Century, because it was not a matter of human rights, but of the rights of men within the framework of the sanctions laid by a single society. Even then, so noble a document as the American Declaration of Independence, or the American Bill of Rights, could be written by men who themselves were slave-owners, in a country where chattel slavery was a part of the recognized social order. The revolutionary character of the slogan « Liberty, Equality, Fraternity » was never more apparent than in the struggles to imple- ment it by extending it to the French slave-owning colonies.

Today the problem is complicated by the fact that the Declaration must be of world-wide applicability. It must embrace and recognize the validity of many different ways of life. It will not be convincing to the Indonesian, the African, the Indian, the Chinese, if it lies on the same plane as like docu- ments of an earlier period. The rights of Man in the Twentieth Century can- not be circumscribed by the standards of any single culture, or be dictated by the aspirations of any single people. Such a document will lead to frustration, not realization of the personalities of vast numbers of human beings.

Such persons, living in terms of values not envisaged by a limited Declaration, will ‘thus be excluded from the freedom of full participation in the only right and proper way of life that can be known to them, the institutions, sanctions and goals that make up the culture of their particular society.

Even where political systems exist that deny citizens the right of participation in their government, or seek to conquer weaker peoples, underlying cultural values may be called on to bring the peoples of such states to a realization of the consequences of the acts of their governments, and thus enforce a brake upon discrimination and conquest. For the political system of a people is only a small part of their total culture.

World-wide standards of freedom and justice, based on the principle that man is free only when he lives as his society defines freedom, that his rights are those he recognizes as a member of his society, must be basic. Conversely, an effective world-order cannot be devised except insofar as it permits the free play of personality of the members of its constituent social units, and draws strength from the enrichment to be derived from the interplay of varying personalities.

The world-wide acclaim accorded the Atlantic Charter, before its restricted applicability was announced, is evidence of the fact that freedom is under- stood and sought after by peoples having the most diverse cultures. Only when a statement of the right of men to live in terms of their own traditions is incorporated into the proposed Declaration, then, can the next step of defining the rights and duties of human groups as regards each other be set upon the firm foundation of the present-day scientific knowledge of Man.

JUNE 24, 1947

Voir aussi: