THE REVOLUTIONARY MACRÕN
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
July 14, 2017
‘Macron’ now means something more than a diacritical mark elongating vowels. The term presently purports revolution, the long-awaited revolution fomented by Immanuel Macron, the newly elected President of France, who convened Parliament at Versailles for a grandiloquent proclamation of reactionary principles for France: Efficiency, Representivity, and Responsibility.
Consequently Macron is ridiculed as a pretender to the throne of France as well as the revolutionary antidote to monarchy. But insiders who liken him to counter-revolutionary Napoleon Bonaparte draw a better likening.
Nevertheless, there is a whiff of liberal revolution, the overthrow of The System, a razing of a labyrinthine, Kafkaesque superstructure, and a return to primitive foundations, the retrograde movement towards radical roots that gave Hegel cause to revamp his dialectical musings as he feared the spread of the Revolution of revolutions, the French Revolution, to his native country.
True, Macron eschews violent overthrows of government, and he is not yet a dictator, but radical reform may gather momentum and go too far, for we know that the most efficient way to hold humans responsible is to cart them off to the scaffold for humane disposition.
In any case, he would export his counter-revolution to the world. He called upon Citizens to change their cynical attitudes so that France can be “the center of a new humanist project for the world.”
The United States of America, which has suffered the dialectic of the French Revolution within the American Revolution since the Declaration of Independence, is no longer the Beacon on the Hill that it once was. Yes, Americans, like the French, are “divided,” yet that is really nothing new since every in-dividual is theoretically divided from birth by the radical Me/We antagonism from which organizational conflicts evolve. The collective secures us so we love it, and that love is often based on the fear therefore hatred of others, for other collectives are a threat. We will wage war with France or other nations if they take the wrong side. So what is the global or catholic solution?
Macron believes inefficient organization is the obstacle to Life, Liberty, and Property—the last term was changed to Happiness in America. He does not preach Love as the solution, but material reorganization on scientific principles, as if politics, economics, sociology, and so on are really sciences the study of which can produce predictable outcomes. No less than Thomas Jefferson was swayed by that attitude on his visit to France during the Revolution there, which he blamed on Marie Antoinette. Jefferson fell in with the Ideologues, and became so enthused by the ideology of social science borrowed from physics that he replaced Theology with Ideology at his beloved university in Virginia upon his return to the states.
That being said, Macron is certainly not a materialist, for he exerts mind over matter, with thoughts “too complex for journalists” to understand, he said, when explaining why he would not make a traditional Bastille Day speech. We cannot read his mind, but we think a counter-revolutionary prejudice dissuaded him. We suppose he had contemplated the popular storming of the Bastille, a prison where the monarchy kept its political prisoners, although there were only seven inmates at the time. Upwards of two hundred revolutionaries were killed, and the superintendant of the jail was beheaded—one story claims his heart was ripped out and eaten. The recent terrorist attack in Nice on Bastille Day will never be forgotten. Such terrifying events tend to unify France, but for a sophisticate like Macron, they are in themselves repugnant.
Indeed, his thoughts are so complex that his approach to unity was described as “mystical.” His Versailles speech was short on details, as is typical with inspiring, high-flown rhetoric. The nation would realize the principles of Efficiency, Representation, and Responsibility by virtue of a social contract with the people.
That contract would apparently be in the underlying spirit of Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s Du contrat social of 1762, which differs somewhat from John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government, claimed to be a foundational document for political theory in the fledgling United States, which really did not have much of a theory because its history was virtually new, and reading the Bible and the biographies of its founding fathers sufficed for knowing what to do.
According to Locke, people would be moved by natural law to form a government to defend life, liberty and property, and their freedom would be guaranteed the constitutional contract for representative government. Locke puts the state over the individuals consenting to it as “one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority; for that which acts any community being only the consent of the individuals of it, and it being necessary to that which is one body to move one way, it is necessary the body should move that way whither the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority.”
With Locke we have an overwhelming power of numbers, and, since a great number of people may not consent to the acts of a majority, the possibility of the tyranny of the majority of representatives beholden not to the people at large but to factions and special interests. The solution as always is the right of people to overthrow “their” government, and good luck to them with that project.
Rousseau would have the people directly represent themselves with the guidance of a charismatic leader in accordance with the impetus of the universal ‘We’ of all individuals, namely, the mystical General Will. That man must be Macron, and presumably the General Will would be done even if his reforms are obstructed because he will call for a referendum to effect them.
Macron declared to the Parliament order to Versailles that from efficiency, representivity, and responsibility he wants a “contractual republic” to emerge, a contract between citizens and the republic, a direct relationship that has been destroyed by the mechanical exercises of parliament. For one thing, he would reduce the number of representatives in both houses, which now number well over 900, by a third. Simple laws could be made by parliamentary commissions instead of in full sessions.
Legislation must be streamlined to address pressing issues and suit the changing needs of the people. Lawmakers should draft laws more quickly and legislate less. We might add that, if a contradiction lies therein, never mind, for it is, as Luther once famously said of self-contradictory theology, one of God’s mysteries.
Rather than debate over whether or not merely changing an organizational form can save people of different cultures from themselves, let us presume that our present constitution or architecture of government, which we believe is better than the Constitution of France although there are archaic similarities, is not the best at present because times have changed.
Taking the cue from Macron in France, we have known for some time that the members of the United States Congress have lost touch with the people of the United States. There is no real or mystical bond between the government and the people. The people are represented well only intermittently, and then by a minority able to persuade special interests to go along. The Congress has been poisoned. It has become the enemy of the people. It is the de facto cabinet of the privileged elite, a small minority that has sway over the vast multitude whose freedom has become an institutional prison.
So where is our charismatic efficiency expert, and what would he recommend to amend our constitution? He is no Macron, for he would enjoy consorting with workers in their dining establishments and union halls, and attend well to the welfare of the disadvantaged, hopefully investing in Louis Blanc’s national workshops. If they are to be responsible, they must have the means. He has already said he would free people from the straightjackets of their cultural origins, but he had better watch his step there, and observe how many revolutions Chinese culture has survived.
Our own long-awaited Macron would recommend, for example, abolishing the United States Senate as a “check” upon the so-called democratic House of Representatives. The nobles should get down off their high horses and sit with the people. If a check is needed, that check should be the people in an electronic referendum.
Modest cabinet amendments to the wording of our Constitution would render the legislature and the president immediately responsible to the majority of representatives, who could with a vote of no confidence dismiss the cabinet with its president and call for a new election. In fact, that might be done today if we had the amendment, but then again, perhaps not, for the representatives might really represent us with a two-thirds consensus in major matters.
Rights of Man 1789 – 2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression