La France!

Almost on the eve of the first ballot in the French Presidential election, we consider the many threats facing this country and the rest of Europe. Rod Dreher has just written The Grave Crisis Facing France. It is an analysis that will need several readings to capture the essential themes. I am not at present a French citizen even though I have lived in this country for donkey’s years, so I cannot vote in anything other than a Municipal election for a new mayor. Looking at the array of candidates, the prospect of “more of the same” like under Sarkozy or Hollande fills me with La Nausée! If Marine Le Pen wins, she will push for Frexit. Together with Brexit, the days of being allowed to live and work freely in another European country are limited. I will need to apply for French citizenship and ask to be allowed to keep my British nationality and passport. Perhaps it will be Melenchon, a Communist populist, the French counterpart of Jeremy Corbyn – but does that message have any credibility after the collapse of Soviet Communism and the impending end of the regime of North Korea?

The conditions are quite daunting, but I should be able to satisfy them. I speak the language and accept the general principles of democracy and human rights that came out of the early phase of the Revolution. I work for a living and pay my taxes and social contributions to the welfare state. I was described at seminary as being the most “French” of the English. I could be said to be integrated, though emotionally and culturally, I do not relate to many things. Unfortunately, my “Englishness” is something that does not correspond with the real England of our own times! As I write this, I am listening to Elgar’s Enigma Variations. We now arrive at Nimrod, which was played at my mother’s funeral.

The threat is radical Islam based on jihadism and terrorism. We really need to learn more about Islam, its history and different denominations. I have still known a time when I could walk around Marseille in my cassock and walk round the Muslim neighbourhoods buying spices and other foodstuffs in their shops. They dress in long flowing thobes and wear a white cap on their heads. There seemed to be a feeling of respect between these men who lived according to their spiritual tradition that seemed not so far removed from ours as Catholic Christians. Then came the jihadists.

I have heard about the threat of civil war for decades, ever since I was in seminary more than twenty years ago. The idea of civil war and persecution seemed to validate a more radical commitment to Christianity. It is a great temptation, but the day seems to be drawing near. A political regime that decides actually to do something about this threat would trigger a bloodbath between radical jihadists and native French people. This is no time to live in a city! However, we country dwellers sometimes have to go into town, and we are at our most vulnerable when travelling. Calais is a frightening place, though less so than a couple of years ago.

The fall of the European Union, massive Muslim immigration and their right to our money and resources – and the resentment builds ever more. There was the Terror, the Napoleons, the various republics and attempts to restore the Monarchy. France has only known excess and instability through the twentieth century, the anti-clerical era, the Nazi Occupation and the changes of the 1960’s. Many believe in a messianic role of France on account of its illustrious Christian past, but I wonder. Maybe we might see a great miracle of grace! Pray for France and Europe, for my native England and for the world faced with a real threat of World War III and a nuclear holocaust. We still don’t know what North Korea is capable of, especially with their submarine and satellites in space.

I am filled with foreboding but yet a feeling of hope and peace. We can only go on with our Christian lives and prayer. A la volonté de Dieu!

* * *

 PS. I recommend this lucid article on Anti-Christianity in France.

* * *

Since the first round of the election:

The results are in and the run-off will take place on 7th May. Most of us with any interest in politics would have read mainstream news articles and the fact that the old mainstream conservative and socialist parties are in the minority. The real opposition is between globalism and the elites on one hand against populism which expresses itself through the ideology of Trotsky via Melenchon and the nationalism of Marine Le Pen on the other. As mentioned, I don’t have the vote because I have not applied for French citizenship (but will certainly need to because of Brexit).

Most friends with whom I discuss the question are wary about Macron, seemingly a vacuous puppet of the bankers and globalist elite. They tended to vote for Fillon, the mainstream conservative. The choice is now clearly between Macron and Le Pen. I am not a Le Pen fan any more than for Trump. I just see with Macron the problems of multiculturalism and the rise of Islam (the radical and anti-human variety) not going away, and the old institutional corruption becoming ever more entrenched until something really horrible happens. Of course, if Le Pen wins, I think the “snowflake” backlash could be worse than in the USA. I’m just so glad to be out of the cities and in a relatively safe place. France has been polarised and unstable ever since the Revolution of 1789 and the Terror of 1793.

All we can do is pray. I think we would be better with Le Pen, if she knows her stuff and can get the right people in her government to manage the money and the mundane aspects. Either way, we are in trouble, whether the European Union goes into pallative care or collapses, or saves the essential, that of the right of someone from one European country to live and work in another.

I am very confused by the fake news coming both from mainstream journalism and conspiracy theorists or alt-right sources. We just can’t know the truth about anything. At least there haven’t been any nukes going off, until now at least. There is a God in heaven, and he is looking after us! I live in France, I speak the language, but I am not French. I feel alienated from England and its very dark heart.

I pray that God will send us a sign to his lost and confused humanity…

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5 Responses to La France!

  1. One of the treasures of “The American Conservative” is its section entitled “Of Note” including links to interesting articles elsewhere. I call your and your readers’ attention to “The French, Coming Apart” by Christopher Caldwell at https://www.city-journal.org/html/french-coming-apart-15125.html, concerning the thought of Chrisophe Guilluy. I would be most interested, Fr. Chadwick, to read your assessment of the observations made by Caldwell and Guilluy.

    • Just a couple of ideas at a first glance.

      I have often heard or read pundits predicting the death of liberals, globalists, elite, etc. I am not so sure. With the record of President Trump, I am still trying to understand whether he is flip-flopping or negotiating with the “demons”. For France, the test will be who wins: Le Pen (French “Thatcher” with teeth), Fillon (conservative but opportunist), Macron (more of the same and globalism) or Melechon (Children of the Revolution!). We’ll see tomorrow night or in two weeks at the runoff.

      I don’t relate to city life or business, so I am unqualified there.

      We can still buy low-priced property out of the cities, but we have to be able to “tele-work” or be self-sufficient. Housing in cities is like in England or America. Too expensive for ordinary folk. The article seems to reflect a good sociology of France and the urban situation, with the various cultural manifestations. I will resolutely stay in the country.

      I am wary. We will wait and see the result of the election and the figures of majorities and minorities. My line has always been “back to the land”, not like some of the American “preppers”, but getting out of the towns and being self-employed. I have mixed feelings about Le Pen, but I see no alternative that would appeal to me or ensure a just future and a reset of the present political corruption (what Trump called “The Swamp”).

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Thank you – and Colin Chattan, too: three very interesting linked articles! And, for another delightful example, “Looking at the array of candidates, the prospect of ‘more of the same’ like under Sarkozy or Hollande fills me with La Nausée!” Wasn’t there something in Sartre’s book of that title about something suddenly changing into a caterpillar? (Shades of Screwtape?)

        It is interesting to compare some of Jean Duchesne’s observations with the Catholic experience of the rise of the Batavian Republic in 1795 in the Netherlands – after a couple centuries of Reformed repression, it was welcomed in ways that astonished more southerly Catholics. And with the Carrolls in the emerging United States.(But, ah, the things I know so little about – such as Catholicism and the history of the Venetian Republic…)

    • Dale says:

      Colin, thank you for the link to this article. It is one of the most pertinent, and truth-telling explanations of the modern “diversity” mantra of the liberal elites that I have ever read. Anyone in today’s academic knows that the only verbiage repeated ad nauseam is diversity, diversity, and yet again, diversity. And anyone who questions, even a little bit, is condemned as a racist who has not right to an opinion, or even to live.

      But then again, without open borders, legal and illegal immigration, but especially illegal, how are the rich, liberal classes going to get really cheap labour yearning to clean their houses, watch their designer kids, clean their pools and wipe the buttocks of their elderly?

      • Indeed, pray for this broken country where you have lived and where I live. Mme Le Pen has made a smart move by going independent rather than continue to tote the FN baggage and the tactless and foolish comments of her father about the Nazi concentration camps. Not only are millions coming in – uncontrolled – but they want our money and resources. The guilty ones are those who fought proxy wars in countries like Irak, Syria and Libya and continue to maintain the terrorists in some perverse way.

        Some pundits compare Le Pen with Trump. I don’t understand what Trump is up to, considering the fake news we get both from the mainstream media and some of the kooks on YouTube. I hope Le Pen will be more careful and do the right things.

        In western Europe, we have “never had it so good” (Prime Minister Macmillan in the 1950’s) since 1945, such a long period of peace and prosperity. Perhaps that is over now, and the infernal cycle of war and civil war will turn yet again.

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