Following on from yesterday, we seem to be in in something of a universal political crisis. The UK is in a political crisis over Brexit. The USA has been in a political crisis ever since Trump got elected. France is in a political crisis over the Yellow Vest protests. Italy is in a political crisis in its confrontation with the EU. Germany is in a growing political crisis as the Merkel era comes to an end. Russia has captured some Ukrainian navy ships. And so on, pretty much everywhere else in the world.
The current focus of my interest is on France.
In a speech addressing the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron stuck to his green agenda, promising to close 50 per cent of nuclear plants and make France carbon-free by 2050.
President Emmanuel Macron is concerned that “war scenes” during anti-tax-hike protests will tarnish France’s “global image,” while his government has focused blame on violence on the “brown plague” of the “far right.”
Macron made the comments to his Cabinet Monday after the country faced its tenth day of grassroots activism against his green agenda.
This weekend saw 100,000 ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters across the country with reports of violence and destruction of shop fronts and restaurants at the Champs-Elysées avenue, a tourist hot-spot, to which police responded by firing rubber bullets and tear gas.
“One shouldn’t underestimate the shock to people, in France and abroad, of seeing in the media what looked like war scenes,” the progressive president is reported to have said, according to government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.
The action began as a populist-driven protest against diesel taxes, with protesters wearing the yellow vests which all French drivers must carry by law, but evolved to include protest against other policies, with protesters calling Macron the “president of the rich” who has abandoned Frenchmen in rural and suburban areas.
Macron seems to be something of a historically illiterate hyper-progressive. He wants a United States of Europe. And he wants to close half of France’s nuclear power stations. And he wants France to be “carbon-free”. He may not describe himself as Green, but he may as well be.
He also wants to get the French to quit smoking:
Macron came into office promising a transformative brand of politics. Getting France to quit smoking would certainly count as revolutionary change. That said, neither the global tobacco industry nor the politically powerful buralistes (the local tobacconists and newsagents who sell France’s cigarettes) are willing to go down without a fight.
Macron, in short, is a revolutionary. And a revolutionary in multiple ways. And it’s precisely because he’s a revolutionary that France is in a political crisis, as millions of French people refuse to adopt his radical environmental agenda (and most likely refuse to stop smoking as well).
And, as a globalist, he has no time for nationalism:
The French president denounced those who evoke nationalist sentiment to disadvantage others, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” and moral values.
The US and Russian leaders listened in silence as Mr Macron took a swipe at the rising tide of populism in the US and Europe, warning: “The old demons are rising again, ready to complete their task of chaos and of death.”
“In saying, ‘Our interests first, whatever happens to the others’, you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: its moral values.”
I think it’s a mistake for Macron (or anyone else) to describe the “nationalism” of Donald Trump (or any other European conservative) as being akin to the Nazism or Fascism of a century ago. Today’s “nationalists” are not Brownshirts: they simply want to run their own countries, and not have them run by remote and unaccountable globalist organisations like the EU or UN or WHO. The nationalists of a century ago didn’t just want to run their own countries (they already did), but wanted them to be pre-eminent among nations – a sentiment expressed in “Deutschland über alles” and “Britannia rules the waves.” The nationalists of a century ago were imperialists: they wanted to dominate other people. WW1 and WW2 was the clash of empires, and brought about the fall of all the empires.
Today’s imperialists are not to be found in France or Germany or Britain or Italy, as they could a century ago. Today’s imperialists are to be found in the EU and its capital city, Brussels. And the growing revolt by “nationalists” across Europe is against the new empire of the European Union. Their revolt is the same revolt as that by the American colonies against the British Empire in 1776: they want independence and autonomy.
If there are any Brownshirts around these days, they are to be found in Brussels. The Green movement’s origins are in Nazi Germany. And much of the the antismoking movement’s origins also lie in Nazi Germany, as described in Robert Proctor’s The Nazi War on Cancer. One might even say that Emmanuel Macron is perhaps at present Europe’s principal Brownshirt. But these days the Brownshirts advance by calling everyone else brownshirts. Or else these days Fascists call themselves Antifascists.
Fascism’s origins lie in the Roman fasces: a bundle of rods and axes symbolising state power.
The fasces lictoriae (“bundles of the lictors”) symbolised power and authority (imperium) in ancient Rome, beginning with the early Roman Kingdom and continuing through the republican and imperial periods.
…lictors carried fasces before a magistrate, in a number corresponding to his rank.
the highest magistrate, the dictator, was entitled to twenty-four lictors and fasces
During times of emergency, the Roman Republic might choose a dictator to lead for a limited time period, who was the only magistrate to be granted capital punishment authority within the Pomerium.
So “fascism” is perhaps best understood as being the emergency rule by a dictator (e.g. Hitler or Mussolini) with powers of life and death over his people. It’s top down state control. And globalism might best be understood as global top down state control.
And today’s “emergency” is not, as it usually used to be, some invasion by a foreign army (e.g. Hannibal), but instead Anthropogenic Global Warming. We have to stop burning fossil fuels if we are to prevent the planet being fried. And perhaps we have to stop smoking for the exact same reason.
In this sense, Macron’s attempt to stop France using fossil fuels could be said to be fascistic in character, if the French don’t want to do it (and it seems they don’t). And smoking bans are always entirely fascistic.