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Monday, December 07, 2015

The French Elections, Terror, And Democracy

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen

(I do not know enough about French politics, but I would guess that since this is the first round of the elections, the extended index fingers in the photo above are sort of a half-victory V sign.)

I am reading Le Figaro this morning about the first round of elections in France. The Front National has done better than ever, and the electorate moved away from the Socialists and closer to the far right.

Yahoo News
Marine Le Pen and niece lead France's FN into dominant territory
Paris (AFP) - One is a pragmatist: a 47-year-old lawyer by training who has steered France's far-right National Front (FN) from pariah status to mainstream.

The other is an ideologue: her 25-year-old niece, a Roman Catholic traditionalist whose easy smile and youthful good looks belie a stance on abortion, homosexuality and Islam that critics say is dangerous or sectarian.

On Sunday, Marine Le Pen and Marion Marechal-Le Pen -- respectively the daughter and grand-daughter of the FN's firebrand founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen -- established themselves as major players in France's political landscape...

After the Paris attack, this is not a total surprise.

Politics is a Group process.
As such, it is neither good nor bad.
What the group in power decides to do has the possibility of being good or bad.

How far any group - far right or far left - will go is not known, although Jean-Marie Le Pen, the patriarch, made a post on Twitter concerning the fact that Christian Estrosi,  a member of the République Solidaire party and deputy mayor of Nice,  was trailing the Front National candidate, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (mentioned above), in the polling in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

The post is described thusly:
Pour moquer le score de Christian Estrosi (36%), candidat les Républicains arrivé derrière Marion-Maréchal Le Pen (41%) en Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, l'octogénaire a cru bon de poster sur Twitter une vidéo du député-maire de Nice en train de danser avec des juifs orthodoxes...

(To mock the score of Christian Estrosi (36%), candidate of  République Solidaire [RS] was trailing Front National [FN] candidate Marion-Maréchal Le Pen (41%) in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, the old octogenarian posted on Twitter a video of the deputy mayor of Nice dancing with some Orthodox Jews... )
and one wonders who or what is the terror which haunts or vivifies old man Le Pen.

It should be pointed out that Marine Le Pen pretty much kicked the old man, Jean-Marie, out of any semblance of influence in the party a while ago.

So, things can always get out of hand.

Faith in God is a solitary pursuit. Group dynamics are politics, and politics and religion do not mix, for religion is overwhelmed by Power and Compulsion.

As William Ralph Inge wrote:

Types Of Christian Saintliness, 1915, London, page 36

Even though Protestantism is the democracy of religion, it may lead to a dictatorship of the righteous, such as Calvin established in Zurich and others.
Once democracy loses its emphasis on the individual, it loses almost everything, because as it swings to group reactions, group politics, group opinions... , then it becomes stagnant and oppressive.

The greatest weakness of a democratic society is wild swings of group, public sentiments.
The Athenians experienced it; when Mytilene wished to leave the Delian League and revolted, the Athenians voted in assembly to kill all the men of Mytilene and to sell the women and children into slavery, and sent a ship to the troops at Mytilene to carry out this command.
The next day, realizing the unprecedented barbarity of their actions, they reversed the vote, and sent a second ship after the first, but it arrived too late to save the Mytilenians.

Hitler knew the weakness of democracies.

Terrorists know the weakness, too:  drive the people of democratic countries into paroxysms of fear and anger; make them give up their individual morality and embrace the amorality of group dynamics of revenge and the illusive satisfaction of horrible punishment to instill fear into ones' enemies.

If you lose the individual, you lose God, you lose morals and ethics, you lose democracy, you lose everything in the end in an unceasing dream time of night terrors.

The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli


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