Presidential elections are taking place in France; our media should be paying attention, since Europe depends on France & America is now committed to supporting a war in Europe, but it is no longer of importance to our elites to understand other regimes... In a way, this is alright, we should be doing our own reporting &, above all, making up our own minds, as best we can study a matter, about what’s going on in the political affairs of the few major powers. The political right needs its own understanding of political science.
France is undergoing regime change. Its republic, the fifth, is dead, though almost no one dares acknowledge it publicly &, privately, most don’t mind, since it seems to them that the state continues to work without giving anyone any trouble. That republic, it is interesting to note, was killed by its two most important parties, one of the left, the other of the right, in favor of the EU regime. The current president, M. Emmanuel Macron, destroyed one of those parties in 2017, the Socialist Party where he began his political career, for the sake of a new organization made up out of whole cloth, so far as the public is concerned, but with the help of the elites of France, behind the scenes, & with the publicly-expressed purpose of tying France even closer to the EU. The other of those two parties, The Republicans, has just been destroyed by M. Macron’s adversary in that 2017 election, Mme. Marine Le Pen, who will run against him again this year, with help from newcomer M. Eric Zemmour. Those two parties were the political legitimacy of the French republic, being the only institutions outside of the state which gave the people political representation—& a grip on the state. They are dead, having killed the republic which gave them life. But we know very little, as yet, about what kind of regime France will be in future.
See below the exit polls estimating results in the first round of balloting: President Macron, with a respectable improvement on his 2017 score, got ~28% of the vote, Madame Le Pen ~23%. They two represent the center & the right, respectively, & will dispute the presidency in a second round of balloting the Sunday after next. Meanwhile, the historic parties won ~2% & ~5% respectively, whereas newcomer M. Zemmour, with ~7, outdid them both by himself! By the way, the French left is now reduced to about ~21%, in the person of M. Jean-Luc Melenchon, & guaranteed to mean nothing in the political future of the country. These are shocking events, but they are largely ignored, as everyone awaits the results of the presidency. If the shocking thing happens again, if Madame Le Pen wins the presidency, as polls recently have suggested she’s close to doing, this would put the French state in an even worse position in relation to the democracy than the American deep state was in relation to Trump, partly because the French president has greater constitutional power, partly, because the French state has more prestige, & partly because French administration is more centralized.
Now, as to the future of France, in the near term, the polling & the smart money are on M. Macron winning re-election, but so narrowly (~55-45) that it would endanger his attempted refounding of French politics, tempting all to believe the right would come to power after his inevitable retirement in 2027, building strength & anger in opposition. His previous second-round victory was very different, two thirds to one third. For all that, his winning re-election is fairly impressive, since the two preceding presidents, one each from a historical party, failed to do so. But his second term is almost guaranteed to be a failure. He is the candidate of ENA, a school so exclusive that it makes Harvard seem like a tourist destination, & which governs access to the political elite in France &, to a very large extent, is tied to the business elite, too. He is the candidate of the “center-left.” The state is the center, the state, one almost wishes to say, is France, i.e. bureaucratic authority. The left means a kind of egalitarianism on same-sex marriage & immigration—but, in France, nothing woke as yet. He is the candidate of the wealthy & educated, of the respected, that is of the major urban areas that have most benefited from globalization, financialization, & depersonalization in economics & society. He means nothing to either the middle-class & lower-middle class France of the smaller towns & of the country, nor to the urban poor, of course. One may call him the man of the French who are proud to be ashamed of perhaps most of their countrymen.
Perhaps before the second round of the presidential election, I’ll write about Madame Le Pen, his long-term opponent, indeed, the opponent of all respectable politics in France who has made significant & successful efforts at becoming respectable. She is the repository of the hopes of the French right. Lesser candidates of the right, where most of the nation is politically, have mostly endorsed her in their concession speeches. But in my opinion, she is not the future of France, & not of interest when one considers the regime, however important she has been in recent years.
I am persuaded that M. Macron has reduced the French left to impotence. He has taken their two major issues, the state & the EU. Meanwhile, the left has abandoned the working class, to some extent in favor of immigrants clustered at the peripheries of the larger urban agglomerations. At the same time, the left is culturally impotent—there are no impressive intellectuals or artists in France on the left, precisely because the ideas of the left dominate institutions, including education. This is not too unlike America, but it creates a much worse problem, given the intellectual prestige of the left in France in the 20th c.
What is to come of the French right, whose principle would have to be the nation? We have no good answers. Much is possible, much is uncertain. France is a uniquely divided republic, given its world-famous Revolution, which separated modern politics from the ancient Catholic faith of the country, therefore splitting the right for most of the last two centuries. Contemplating a great man like De Gaulle, a man of military honor easily comparable with the greatest aristocrats in French history, a man of faith as honest & humble as any exalted in the prose of centuries more concerned with the soul, is itself evidence—how difficult it is to have right-wing politics in France…
In our times, the only eloquent spokesman for the right is M. Zemmour, who is provocatively anti-immigration, pro-assimilation, pro-French culture, & of course, pro-De Gaulle. He is for national greatness, against decline, against globalism, against EU supremacy. He is a strange man, since he continuously declares for the French Republic, but also for the Church the Republic banished & expropriated. He is Jewish, a rare thing in modern France—under the sure guidance of the French state, Jews have run from the country in vast numbers in the 21st c., largely in fear of Muslim immigrants, & only liberal cowardice conceals this massive fact of exile from people comfortable enough not to have to care… As such, he may be exempt from the Christian trouble in France. He is also a child of immigrants from Algeria, which makes him almost an ideal of assimilation. This is also helped by his devotion to the great French writers of the past, who form a querulous, but unparalleled intellectual inheritance in Europe—whereas his opponents are disgusted by or indifferent to that heritage.
Since I was convinced he had no chance of winning & I did not see him act astutely in his campaign, I have not written on him. On many issues of policy, he has something the French have always prized & now can never find—brutal honesty. Occasionally, wit. Everyone in France now knows they are liars led by liars, that is to say, they are self-consciously decadent. There is no one I can point to who is doing something about it in a public capacity, unless we mean the only famous French writer of the 21st c., M. Houellebecq, also a man of the political right, who offers visions of decadence to repel his audience &, for some of them, to encourage them to think about why France is failing. He writes of many sordid things in his novels, but he is not without a sense of humor. He is as beloved in the French press as M. Zemmour is loathed, himself a success on TV in debates & rants, but M. Houellebecq doesn’t have any obvious heirs or influence.
I recommend for anyone interested in right-wing politics to hear M. Zemmour’s concession speech & ponder what the future may hold—the youtube video has captions & settings for auto-translate to English that gives you the meaning tolerably:
UPDATE on the collapse of historic parties--they are sustaining financial losses, too:
Further notes, Mr. Nathan Pinkoski has a good analysis of M. Zemmour's electoral shortcomings--he's too bourgeois.
& Miss Moutet has a telling analysis of the strengths of Mme. Le Pen's appeal to women & the lower-middle class--she's a cat lady.