Category Archives: Monde (newspaper)

Hulot’s high-sounding bilge

In the French legacy media, Dalrymple comes across an item titled Les 100 principes de Nicolas Hulot pour un nouveau monde by a man who was until recently ministre d’État, ministre de la Transition écologique et solidaire. (‘By their job titles shall ye know them,’ the doctor-writer remarks.)

Dalrymple notes

the banality of mind, or the cynicism, of a person who could have written and published such a manifesto,

and the lack of judgment of the Paris newspaper the Monde in publishing it.

Each principle is

a cliché, a truism, or a banal falsehood, expressed with a self-satisfaction that would have made Mr Pecksniff seem like a self-doubter.

Seth Pecksniff: ‘Let us be moral. Let us contemplate existence.’

The principles take up almost two pages under the rubric of Ideas, but

they are to ideas what stale cheese sandwiches are to haute cuisine.

Dalrymple feels pity, but also experiences nausea:

  • pity because if the thoughts corresponded to anything running through their author’s mind more than fleetingly, it must be agonising to be him;
  • nausea because of the saccharine nature of most of the sentiments expressed, which make those of Hallmark cards seem acerbic.

And hiding in the great mound of baloney are

quite nasty sentiments that would, if taken seriously, lead to a totalitarian society. Inside every sentimentalist is a despot trying to get out. Hulot’s principles illustrate the proximity of sentimentality to the potential of great brutality: for it would probably require a civil war for some of his principles to be put into practice.

Here are the principles:

Le temps est venu, ensemble, de poser les premières pierres d’un nouveau monde.

Le temps est venu de transcender la peur en espoir.

Le temps est venu pour une nouvelle façon de penser.

Le temps est venu de la lucidité.

Le temps est venu de dresser un horizon commun.

Le temps est venu de ne plus sacrifier le futur au présent.

Le temps est venu de résister à la fatalité.

Le temps est venu de ne plus laisser l’avenir décider à notre place.

Le temps est venu de ne plus se mentir.

Le temps est venu de réanimer notre humanité.

Le temps est venu de la résilience.

hangeLe temps est venu de prendre soin et de réparer la planète.

Le temps est venu de traiter les racines des crises.

Le temps est venu d’appréhender l’ensemble des crises écologiques, climatiques, sociales, économiques et sanitaires comme une seule et même crise: une crise de l’excès.

Le temps est venu d’entendre la jeunesse et d’apprendre des anciens.

Le temps est venu d’entendre la jeunesse et d’apprendre des anciens.

Le temps est venu de créer du lien.

Le temps est venu de miser sur l’entraide.

Le temps est venu d’applaudir la vie.

Le temps est venu d’honorer la beauté du monde.

Le temps est venu de se rappeler que la vie ne tient qu’à un fil. 

Le temps est venu de nous réconcilier avec la nature.

Le temps est venu de respecter la diversité et l’intégrité du vivant.

Le temps est venu de laisser de l’espace au monde sauvage.

Le temps est venu de traiter les animaux en respectant leurs intérêts propres.

Le temps est venu de reconnaître l’humanité plurielle.

Le temps est venu de lier notre je au nous.

Le temps est venu d’écouter les peuples premiers.

Le temps est venu de cultiver la différence.

Le temps est venu d’acter notre communauté de destin avec la famille humaine et tous les êtres vivants. 

Le temps est venu de reconnaître notre vulnérabilité.

Le temps et venu d’apprendre de nos erreurs.

Le temps est venu de l’inventaire de nos faiblesses et de nos vertus. 

Le temps est venu de nous concilier avec les limites planétaires.

Le temps est venu de changer de paradigme. 

Le temps est venu d’opérer la mue d’un système périmé.

Le temps est venu de redéfinir les fins et les moyens.

Le temps est venu de redonner du sens au progrès.

Le temps est venu de l’indulgence et de l’exigence. 

Le temps est venu de s’émanciper des dogmes.

Le temps est venu de l’intelligence collective. 

Le temps est venu d’une mondialisation qui partage, qui coopère et qui donne aux plus faibles.

Le temps est venu de préférer le juste échange au libre-échange.

Le temps est venu de préférer le juste échange au libre-échange.

Le temps est venu de globaliser ce qui est vertueux et de dé globaliser ce qui est néfaste.

Le temps est venu de définir, préserver et protéger les biens communs. 

Le temps est venu de la solidarité universelle.

Le temps est venu de la transparence et de la responsabilité.

Le temps est venu d‘une économie qui préserve et redistribue à chacun.

Le temps est venu de mettre un terme à la dérégulation à la spéculation et à l’évasion fiscale.

Le temps est venu d’effacer la dette des pays pauvres.

Le temps est venu de s’émanciper des politiques partisanes. 

Le temps est venu de s’extraire des idéologies stériles.

Le temps est venu des démocraties inclusives.

Le temps est venu de s’inspirer des citoyens.

Le temps est venu d’appliquer le principe de précaution.

Le temps est venu de graver dans le droit les principes d’une politique écologique, sociale et civilisationnelle. 

Le temps est venu de faire mentir le déterminisme social.

Le temps est venu de combler les inégalités de destin.

Le temps est venu de l’égalité absolue entre les femmes et les hommes.

Le temps est venu de tendre la main aux humbles et aux invisibles.

Le temps est venu d’exprimer plus qu’une juste gratitude à celles et ceux, souvent étrangers, qui dans nos pays hier et aujourd’hui exécutent des tâches ingrates. 

Le temps est venu de valoriser prioritairement les métiers qui permettent la vie.

Le temps est venu du travail qui épanouit.

Le temps est venu de l’avènement de l’économie sociale et solidaire.

Le temps est venu de l’avènement de l’économie sociale et solidaire.

Le temps est venu d’exonérer les services publics de la loi du rendement.

Le temps est venu de relocaliser des pans entiers de l’économie.

Le temps est venu de la cohérence et de réorienter nos activités et nos investissements vers l’utile et non le nuisible.

Le temps est venu d’éduquer nos enfants à l’être, au civisme, au vivre ensemble et de leur apprendre à habiter la terre.

Le temps est venu de nous fixer des limites dans ce qui blesse et aucune dans ce qui soigne.

Le temps est venu de la sobriété.

Le temps est venu d’apprendre à vivre plus simplement.

Le temps est venu de nous réapproprier le bonheur.

Le temps est venu de nous libérer de nos addictions consuméristes.

Le temps est venu de ralentir.

Le temps est venu de voyager près de chez nous.

Le temps est venu de nous défaire de nos conditionnements mentaux individuels et collectifs.

Le temps est venu de nous fixer des limites dans ce qui blesse et aucune dans ce qui soigne.

Le temps est venu de faire naître des désirs simples.

Le temps est venu de distinguer l’essentiel du superflu. 

Le temps est venu d’arbitrer dans les possibles.

Le temps est venu de renoncer à ce qui compromet l’avenir. 

Le temps est venu de la créativité et de l’impact positif.

Le temps est venu de lier notre je au nous.

Le temps est venu de croire en l’autre.

Le temps est venu de revisiter nos préjugés. 

Le temps est venu du discernement.

Le temps est devenu d’admettre la complexité.

Le temps est venu de synchroniser science et conscience.

Le temps est venu de l’unité.

Le temps est venu de l’humilité.

Le temps est venu de la bienveillance.

Le temps est venu de traiter les animaux en respectant leurs intérêts propres.

Le temps est venu de l’empathie.

Le temps est venu de la dignité pour tous.

Le temps est venu de déclarer que le racisme est la pire des pollutions mentales. 

Le temps est venu de la modestie et de l’audace.

Le temps est venu de combler le vide entre nos mots et nos actes et d’agir en grand.

Le temps est venu où chacun doit faire sa part et être l’artisan du monde de demain.

Le temps est venu de l’engagement. 

Le temps est venu de croire qu’un autre monde est possible.

Le temps est venu d’un élan effréné pour ouvrir de nouvelles voies.

Le temps est venu sur cette matrice de choisir, encourager et accompagner nos dirigeants ou représentants.

Le temps est venu pour chacun de faire vivre ce manifeste.

Le temps est venu de créer un lobby des consciences.

 

Chinese flu and the inveterate statism of the French

How much government do they want? Nothing less than total

Picking up the Paris newspaper the Monde, Dalrymple comes across an article titled Effondrement, décroissance, relocalisation: comment la gauche pense l’après-coronavirus. There are, Dalrymple says,

no prizes for guessing

how the Left thinks of the post-coronavirus. An economist quoted in the article says:

One has seen, as in every crisis, the retreat of governments.

Dalrymple notes that the economist

omits to mention that public expenditure accounts for 56% of France’s GDP, and that one now needs a laissez-passer to leave one’s house or one will be fined by a policeman.

For the European élite, high tax is an intrinsic good

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 10.15.00

Not a happy ending

Every country, Dalrymple points out, ought to

use the means at its disposal to solve its own problems that arise from history and culture.

Yet a large part of the so-called European project is the plan for a

fiscal straitjacket, accompanied by transfer payments from one country to another.

Glancing at the newspaper the Monde, Dalrymple comes across an article on the subject of la tentation du paradis fiscal that carries the heading

Après le Brexit, le Royaume-Uni fait le choix des charmes dangereux du dumping fiscal

This is a reference to an idea floated in some parts of the UK government that corporate tax might be cut to 15%. ‘Fiscal dumping’ here means

levying a tax rate on corporate profits lower than that of other nations.

Some people, Dalrymple ventures,

might call this competition.

The Monde‘s use of the term ‘fiscal dumping’ is telling, says Dalrymple, about

the dirigiste European political élite mindset. They cannot say a priori what rate is ‘correct’, but terming a 15% corporate tax rate ‘dumping’ implies that there is a correct rate.

The implication is that national differences in tax rates are inherently wrong, and that the tax rate ought to be high, even if a lower rate results in a higher take.

One might think that the main attraction of high tax rates is the distress they cause to those who pay them.

Dalrymple explains that the belief in a ‘correct’ tax rate

can only mean a belief in the uniformity of tax rates in Europe, and in overruling each individual country’s preferences and needs. Uniformity implies the need for a centralised authority over which there could never be the slightest democratic oversight. There is no European people to elect a European government, and never will be.

Official tax rates and effective tax rates may differ.

A system of concessions, exceptions, and bribery is likely to flourish where rates are high and it is worth avoiding and evading tax. A corrupt or flexible polity with a high tax rate may impose less tax in reality than an honest one with a low tax rate.

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From Germany, hope for insomniacs

The federal foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Zzz zzz zzz… Verbal anæsthesia: the federal foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, delivers an address that is well-timed (coming shortly after the British voted to leave the European Union), and in duration no longer than about an hour-and-a-half, concerning the glories of the European Union. Zzz zzz zzz…

Zzz zzz zzz zzz…

Picking up a copy of the Paris daily the Monde, which he describes as the French equivalent of the Times of New York, though

still rather more interesting,

Dalrymple comes across an article by the Bundesminister des Auswärtigen, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. To read it, Dalrymple says,

is to enter a world of grey thought, evasive cliché, Soviet-style slogans, verbal anæsthesia. I think you could put almost anyone to sleep by reading it aloud to him.

Steinmeier’s remarks are intended to be

a stirring call to readers, like de Gaulle’s radio broadcast from London.

There are passages such as this:

We are committed to making Europe better. This is the direction taken by the proposals put forward by Jean-Marc Ayrault [the Ministre des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international] and myself. We have ideas on improved internal and external security, an active migration policy and a policy for growth and employment. We look forward to receiving lots of constructive ideas. A better, more flexible EU will respect differing views on the further progress of Europe and will allow for different speeds, without excluding anyone or leaving anyone behind. Instead of arguing about what the ultimate goal of European integration should be, we should work towards tangible results. It is only by working together that we will make progress. That is why it is so important for us to consult each other in the group of 27, to listen carefully to each other, and then take joint action.

Hergestellt in Detmold, Deutschland

Hergestellt in Detmold, Deutschland

Zzzz zzz zzz zzz… Dalrymple comments:

I do not know Mr Steinmeier and have no animus against him. He is probably a perfectly decent man, as politicians go. What intrigues me is whether his article corresponds to any thoughts that actually ran through his head. If they did, one can only pity him: how boring it must be to be Mr Steinmeier.

But Dalrymple does not want to be accused of selective quotation, so he closes his eyes and lets his finger alight at random on part of the article. Here is the passage:

We are looking back on an unprecedented 70 years of peace and stability. More than 25 years have passed since we brought an end to the division of our continent. The process of European unification is an unparalleled success story. At its core is an agreed political framework under which the member states come to Brussels to manage their relations and settle their conflicts — and do not head off to the battlefield. This agreement has lost none of its utility or significance. The European peace project must be passed on intact to the generations who will follow us.

Zzz zzz zzz zzz… Dalrymple says that to combine, in such a way,

soporific banality with cunning evasiveness takes, I suppose, talent of a kind, the kind of talent required to rule without appearing to want to do so. It is a dull talent, and one that I cannot much admire.

The Alexandria of one’s youth

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 08.55.36Dalrymple writes that a cosmopolitan city, such as the Alexandria he knew as a young man in the 1890s,

is one in which several nationalities and cultures coexist with some actual knowledge of each other’s languages and sympathetic participation in each other’s customs, not a city in which the citizens of 167 different countries happened to have turned up in the hope of social security and/or a decent job.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 09.00.10There is

a difference between a cocktail and a Mickey Finn; and I doubt that many extollers of cosmopolitanism in Le Monde sense of the word have taken a serious interest in Somali culture, for example, even if there is a large Somali ‘community’ in their city. (I have been to Somalia, and I intended at the time to read the works of a celebrated specialist anthropologist called I.M. Lewis about Somali culture. It is still on my list of things to do.)

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.27.42Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.18.42Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.19.01 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.19.16 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.19.38 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.19.50 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.20.02 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.20.37 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.20.49 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.20.58 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.22.19 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.22.49 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.23.04 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.23.58 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.24.11 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.24.22 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.24.40 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.24.59 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.25.32 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.26.33 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.26.51 Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 19.27.23

They tremble in Molenbeek

Lucid: Eric Delbecque

Lucid: Eric Delbecque

Picking up a copy of the Paris newspaper the Monde, Dalrymple comes across a lucid article by Eric Delbecque, who is described as head of the pôle intelligence stratégique de Sifaris and a member of the conseil scientifique du Conseil supérieur de la formation et de la recherche stratégiques.

Dalrymple draws attention to the following passage in Delbecque’s article:

Témoigner de notre soutien sans faille à la Belgique et demeurer lucide dans ce combat de long terme sont nos priorités. Notre arme? Changer enfin de posture mentale dans la lutte antiterroriste et penser autrement: vaste programme.

Dalrymple comments:

So now you know. I bet they’re terrified down in Molenbeek. Henceforth the infidels are going to think differently. From now on they’re going to be lucid. If we don’t look out, they’ll withdraw our citizenship from us after we’ve blown ourselves up—like they almost did in France before the parliamentary opposition to the bill.

Coulibaly’s really landed us in the shit

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 22.31.28He’s left us in the lurch!

Dalrymple on the dark humour in a newspaper report on a terrorist killer

Amedy Coulibaly was a professionnel de la délinquance and an armed-robber-cum-racketeer who, Dalrymple writes,

found Islamic extremism much to his liking.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 22.33.20Preparing for his attack, reports the Paris daily the Monde (‘Coulibaly et ses sous-traitants’, link here — article on page 3), Coulibaly demanded that a former rapper who owed him €30,000 repay the money because he needed it urgently. The ex-rapper told the police:

J’ai naïvement pensé aux fêtes de fin d’année.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 22.34.45But Coulibaly wasn’t going on holiday to somewhere earthly like Rio de Janeiro or Las Vegas or Bangkok. There would be houris all right, thousands of them as his reward, but they wouldn’t be in this world. He needed the cash

pour acheter des armes, une voiture et tout son équipement de guerre: gilets pare-balles, bombes lacrymogènes, mais aussi couteaux, Taser, gants.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 07.49.35He sub-contracted the procuring of these items to a jobless man, Willy P., who undertook to carry out the purchasing duties because ‘sinon, c’était des menaces‘, Coulibaly enjoying, writes Dalrymple,

much respect in the area. By respect, of course, was meant fear.

Willy P. told the police:

Je savais que c’était un braqueur, qu’il faisait dans le stupéfiant. C’est pour ça que je ne me suis pas inquiété lorsqu’il m’a demandé toutes les choses. Je pensais qu’il allait faire un gofast ou un braquage de gofast.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 22.38.05A simple, straightforward, quotidian drug deal. Which is why Willy P. wasn’t worried. Or an ordinary, workaday, plain vanilla robbery. Perfectly respectable, unexceptionable activities. Routine, commonplace, bread-and-butter stuff in today’s France. In other words, writes Dalrymple,

Willy P. thought the weapons he was buying for Coulibaly were for everyday, normal, uncontentious use.

An associate of Willy P., Tonino G., backed him up on this. Tonino G. did not think it un truc de ouf to be asked to buy such prosaic, centime-a-dozen, even trivial, items. This is normal, daily life. Tonino G. told the police:

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 22.39.59C’est pas, comment dire, quelque chose qui me paraît pas normal.

So you can imagine the reaction of Willy P. and his associates when they saw on TV that it was Coulibaly who had murderously attacked the kosher store. They felt they were justified in feeling that they had been put, a mite unreasonably, in an (albeit mildly) embarrassing and slightly difficult position. They were, after all, being interviewed by the police, and quite rightly the police do not normally interest themselves in relatively trivial matters such as armed robbery or drug dealing.

Willy P. and his associates said to themselves:

Coulibaly avait mis dans la merde.

Sadism as godliness

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 07.10.43Faits de petite délinquance (rien de bien méchant)

On a different planet: the Monde newspaper

Moussa Coulibaly’s record before his stabbing spree at the Jewish club: six convictions — theft, narcotics use, insulting police officers, that kind of thing. Kids will get up to that sort of stuff. Trivial really.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 07.11.05

How the Monde reported the story

Dalrymple writes:

Given the percentage of offences that are actually elucidated in France (as elsewhere), the chances are that he had committed at least ten times as much as he had ever been charged with, and it is also very likely that some of what he had done was a good deal more serious than anything that has come to light. The total amount of harm he did, the misery caused to or inflicted on others, was considerable. Rien de bien méchant doesn’t quite capture it.

Naughty boy: Moussa Coulibaly stabbed three soldiers outside a Jewish community centre

Naughty boy: Moussa Coulibaly stabbed three soldiers outside a Jewish community centre in Nice

Such a thing could only have been written by

someone inhabiting so utterly different a social world that he has no idea of the nature of Coulibaly’s.

The trajectory followed by Coulibaly, says Dalrymple,

is depressingly familiar. I could have written the outlines of his biography myself merely by having read what he did in Nice. As with many others of his type, his delinquency was followed by religious radicalisation that gave to his criminal impulses a patina of moral justification.

Islamism

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 09.49.40not only gave him permission to do bad things, but made them morally obligatory. Could there be any greater pleasure in life than making others suffer for righteousness’ sake? For such as he, and those worse than he, sadism is next to godliness, or even the thing itself.

The Werther effect

is not confined to Muslim converts or radicals, though no doubt such conversion adds to the weak-mindedness of which the effect is a manifestation.

 

On the typology of pessimists

The existential and the apocalyptic.