Is France Doomed?

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IS FRANCE DOOMED?

By David Arthur Walters

18 December 2018

Once upon a time, when ‘France’ stood for ‘freedom’, France enlightened the world, but Lady Liberty, who led peoples from rule by few towards rule by many, has lost her luster of late. In fact she is despondent and at times hysterical.

A mere year ago we expected France to lead a Europe out of the darkness into enlightened unity, but now the Frankish masses complain they are being smothered by immigrants and strangled by taxes. This has been going on for some time, and they cannot stand it anymore. They just want to be French, again, and they would burn their house down rather than suffer another day in the vices of a soi disant union. One thing they do not want is the alienating advice of the predatory capitalist elite represented by the current government.

Britain, who once ruled the seas, still prefers the more conservative English Enlightenment to the liberal French Enlightenment, wherefore she would exit the European Union, ungracefully if necessary. She is not the only one. Nationalist dissonance resounds in every state today, even across the pond in the United States. Disunion, disintegration, dissolution is the tendency of the populaces unwilling to pay the purportedly temporary price of consolidation for long-term benefits in the Promised Land.

We once beheld France for the sake of Progress. Now we behold her regression. Let it be a warning to the world. She is dispirited, depressed, her countenance has a deathly pallor. It is as if she lives just to die, weary of the productive span between birth and death. Indeed, the metaphysical substance of France is decaying like the nearly spoiled, discounted meat the poor housewife brings home from the market to keep frozen until she cooks it over a trash fire to save electricity and serves it to her family, who wear several layers of clothes or are wrapped in blankets under a single light bulb at the dinner table.

No, the bread of life is not yet blackened and filled with sawdust, but it is moldy enough for hallucinations. We see thousands of people milling in the streets with yellow traffic vests, provoked to madness by anarchists and police.

The globalists have a rational argument that the human race would stabilize and prosper economically if only it were singularly incorporated. Yet we have good reason to suspect that Totalitaria is bound to fail. Everyone has a rebel within, a fact that advances and protects the race from total disaster. We are identified by how we passively and actively react to circumstances. We need our differences and mutual identifications to sustain life. Variety is so dearly wanted because it is the spice of life.

Fortunately for our palates, the French are good with spices. Various spices were offered to the gods in prehistoric times. Today many French households cannot afford meat, let alone spices. Such luxuries are commonplace, however, in the palaces, mansions, and restaurants of the neo-nobility, the effete snobs who believe their net worth measures their virtue.

Of course that phenomenon is not peculiar to the French elite. An economic class is not an ethical class. We all know high class people who are no better than low class people. We know members of the ruling class who have risen like scum to the top of the pond yet are snobs who think they are better than everyone else. They are most despised in France, and not only by communists.

Times are certainly tough for many French people. Still things are not as bad as they seem, and the definition of bad is relative. Camille, a highly educated, attractive woman in her forties, suffers because she has to pay $6 or more for a gallon of gas. She is a good woman, kind at heart, a conservative woman in the sense that she does not think like a man. She has studied and worked hard for decades, winding up single. The garage at her home outside of Paris has no electric outlet. She also suffers property taxes and maintenance fees. She cannot afford to go out and socialize. No, she cannot make ends meet and has to borrow from her parents although she earns slightly above the national median income. She might have to sell the home and move in with her parents. France is so depressing lately given the killer taxes and its black mood that she thinks of death. Yes, she is very wealthy compared to a Cro-Magnon woman, but human wants have become needs, so a cave and fire will not do. Of course those of us who pay $2.50 a gallon of gas certainly sympathize with her. On the other hand, there are many of us in the United States, the greatest superpower and wealthiest nation in the world, who think she is lucky to even have a car, a home, a garage, parents who can afford to take her in if need be, a responsible job, and her good looks. An ambitious single American woman might even scoff at her, and tell her she does not need a husband, that she should strive to become CEO of Google instead of crying in her champagne, but she would not scoff if she understood the traditionally misogynist politics of France.

Hundreds of thousands of people in France below the median income are even worse off, and they do not want to take it anymore, so they took to the streets and the highways, and they are damaging the economy. The concessions made by the government to quell the unrest will cost billions, but pessimist pundits who lust for blood call them “crumbs,” “empty talk,” “mere words.” Many members of the upper middle class honk their horns approvingly, and even a few members of the elite are sympathetic. That is a good sign for reform. However, all too many people would rather have a revolution than billions in concessions and decades of muddling; they would fain die in the revolutionary process rather than continue with a material life they have learned to hate because there is never enough stuff to consume. Mind you that it is not the stuff they really want. The material concessions given are bound to be insufficient. They want so many different things that it is hard to say what they want. Some do not even know. That was a phenomenon recorded by historians in previous revolutions: people were rioting, unsure of what they wanted except blood, perhaps to see the severed head of a rich man on a pike or in a bucket at the guillotine.

The catholic spirit seems to be lacking today. Religion used to take care of that. Not anymore. It is unfair, however, to lay the blame on a dearth of spirit, for the anarchic spirit of rebellion is alive and well. That much is instinctive. So law and order, or what we call freedom in order, must prevail or many shall die. But whose law and order? Whose freedom? Are we to have primitive equality or predatory hierarchy? The French police called out to keep order during the riots are weary and emotionally disturbed. They contributed to the rioting by abusing people with baton charges, tear gas, water cannon, and hard rubber balls. The demonstrators were just milling around aimlessly. It may have been better to let them demonstrate, hand out marijuana, pipe in some music, yet use lethal force on vandals and looters.

But never mind, the police were just following orders, and now they want their fair share of the Yellow Vest spoils in the form of a bonus, but a bonus might not be enough. You see, they have causes in common with the Yellow Vests, and at this juncture nothing is enough, or only nothing is enough if the death instinct is in play to prove that the purpose of life is death of the individual to preserve the species. If this irrational movement ran the usual French course, the gendarmes and National Guard would ultimately side with their own people, that is, the working masses who lack the means of production, as opposed to the bourgeoisie who are eating from fine plates. In that event, the government would fall and not be replaced until a new constitution is written, perchance for the National Socialist Democracy of France. So France, which the Polish minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, mocked as the “sick man of Europe,” is indeed leading Europe, and perhaps not in a direction wanted by the investment bankers, but to another round of revolution and war, perhaps even a world war between rich and poor instead of between the rich and rich.

An apocalypse, an uncovering of the horrors of human nature, is possible. The “division” being experienced among peoples of several nations is between Love and Strife, Eros and Thanatos, Life and Death. Prophecies of doom are made so that people can make sure everything possible is done to forestall doom, for doom is the judgement of Dom, and surely the unrighteous will be damned to hell unless they mend their ways.

xYx

Critical Mass and The Yellow Vest Unrest

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CRITICAL MASS AND THE YELLOW VEST UNREST

by David Arthur Walters

France is in the grips of a sort of mass hysteria, a contagion spread by mass media, the factions of which accuse one another of engaging in false and fake news, the cause of which is really the confusion of opinions, a confusion that can only be cleared up by a perspicacious master who can get out ahead of the issues and lead instead of be led.

It is with that in mind that I consulted Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the Book of Changes (I Ching) as to the fate of the Yellow Vest Unrest, a social episode in France of tremendous import for the world since France is the source of many of its leading political ideas, not to mention the soft culture that is still ranked as most influential.

I left sorting the yarrow stalks to Chinese sages and tossed the coins in the easy Western fashion, which returned the 28th hexagram, Critical Mass (Ta Kuo), Preponderance of the Great, with lines changing in the third and fourth places. I sent along this reference to President Emmanuel Macron late last evening in hopes that he would consider it during the preparation of his widely anticipated speech today.

We see that the hexagram represents a sagging ridgepole that is so heavy in the middle and weak on the ends that it is about to break and bring the structure down.
Revolution, however, is not to be feared because the weight is on the center of gravity.

A great person can brace the ridgepole so the roof does not collapse. He can do so by taking responsibility and befriending people of the lower ranks, and acting quickly.

On the other hand, if a leader misuses his connections to obtain power and income, accepts no advice from others, and insists on plowing ahead instead of rescuing the whole people, his program will surely fail and he will be duly humiliated.

The Commentaries on this hexagram indicate that there is a want of nourishment without which the people cannot get ahead,

Now some pundits in France see a similarity in the French Revolution of 1789 to the Yellow Vest Unrest of 2018 because the middle class, particularly the lower middle class, are purportedly being starved by high taxes and benefit cuts.

One must nonetheless consult history to discover that the starvation was far less metaphorical in the years of drought and deprivation before the 1789 revolt led by the Middle Class and dissident nobles. The dearth then was such that people were eating bread spoiled black, bread often filled with bone meal from bones dug up at the cemeteries.

Today, although we do not deny that many people are squeezed by inappropriate economic policies based on the natural greed of the bulging belly bourgeoisie (BBB). we cannot help noticing that many people who have taken off work, or who are supported by unemployment benefits to wear yellow vests, are overweight.

One advantage, and it has it drawbacks, of the parliamentary system is that the government can be changed when confidence is lost in it. The structure itself would remain.

President Macron’s party has the strength between right and left ends, the strength referred to in the Book of Changes. Yet he and his government is vulnerable. He may even choose to resign.

Mister President is cast as the devil already. But who will replace him? Would you replace him? What would you do? Would you again vote for other representatives and a president with high hopes that things would change, when they have not changed before?

The ridgepole has been sagging for decades, so now we have a crisis. Should we burn down our own house? Should we write a new constitution, and call our country the Sixth Republic? Or should it be the First Democracy of France?

History provides us with some guidelines. The commentary to the Ta Kuo hexagram puts it into context with this Sequence:

“Without provision of nourishment one cannot move; hence there follows the hexagram of Preponderance of the Great.”

Here we have the main issue the lack of nourishment. But bread is not the only kind of food, although we might consecrate it so that it embodies the spirit of humankind associated with love and the ability to reason on experience and pass wisdom down through the generations.

No, we may be down to using one light bulb to save on electricity, but our bread is not black, we are not grinding the bones of our ancestors up or using sawdust to make our bread fill our bellies. What we may want in this predicament is spiritual sustenance, and the French do have a romantic reputation for spiritual progress. Where are they?

Hexagram 28 represents wood under the lake, gentleness under joy. The Commentary speculates on the ancient source of the symbolic meaning of the wood.

People used to cover up the dead with brush and leave them to decompose. Eventually they used the wood to build coffins for the dead, and they created definite rituals honoring ancestors, including leaving food out for them. This is the beginning of what we call history, and our history if nothing else is the history of the spiritual progress of civilization. Feed the hungry spirit and you shall have plenty of food for the stomach.

We must engage in the great conversation, sort out the confusion of ideas, and select the best ones to approach the realization of our highest ideals, those which are inclusive of the best possible outcomes. They will not be achieved overnight. Yet immediate steps must be taken or we shall get nowhere.

The changing lines of Hexagram 28 leave us with Hexagram 29, K’an. That is the future. Think upon it

xYx.

Miami Beach 9 December 2018

Is a Macron a Great Man or a mark over a vowel in French history?

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IS A MACRON A GREAT MAN OR A DIACRITICAL MARK?

By David Arthur Walters

PRESS INDEPENDENT

30 November 2018

President Emmanuel Macron of France has been characterized by mainstream media, on the one hand, as charismatic, handsome, and articulate, and, on the other hand, as arrogant, imperious, and condescending. Is he a great man or a mere diacritical mark over a vowel in French history?

Charisma is the key to transformative leadership, and charisma, like prestige, depends on virtually miraculous deeds, not on good looks and sophistry, and it may be appreciated all the more when the man is arrogant, imperious and condescending as people bask in the reflected glory of his deeds. When success turns to failure, charisma is lost forthwith, and the man had better retire before he is utterly disgraced.

The fact that Macron was an investment banker and bureaucrat and is now an elected politician tends to disqualify him from punctuating world history with marvelous deeds although not necessarily so.  Thus far he has wasted public money on expensive dishware and talked the liberal talk of the upper bourgeoisie, casting himself as a president of the rich and a wannabe king. He condemns welfare fraud and labor unions, makes snide remarks to workers who complain of unemployment, and proposes tax cuts for the wealthy and refers to their tax evasions as “fiscal optimizations.”

Yet the debonair French president has been quite charming on the international stage. He certainly used his charm to make a fool out of President Trump, the epitome of vulgar populism in America, going so far as to pat him on the knee, and the intellectual world is grateful for that.

Macron was never popular in France, where he was portrayed as leading a grand march to victory over populist foes. Elected as the least of several evils on the left-right political spectrum, he was so out of touch with the travails of labor that riots were incited by his gas tax hike to save the climate. Eighty-percent of the population, almost everyone who works or wants work, sympathized with the hordes of demonstrators wearing emergency yellow jackets. Wherefore the suave gentleman in his fine suit and shiny shoes has lately been dubbed “toxic.”

That does not mean Macron will never be a great man. He is naïve and may yet prove blessed by the gods. Great men, like gods, make big mistakes, and are accordingly defamed, but their goods exceed their evils in the final analysis, when the universe implodes to expand yet again from nothing, for nothing and only nothing is perfect.

Victor Cousin, the French philosopher who laid the foundation for the French and American education systems, developed a great man theory from his studies of history, which convinced him that there were more great men among philosophers than elsewhere.

“The fundamental rule of philosophy,” declared Cousin, “in regard to great men is to do as humanity does… to neglect the description of weaknesses inherent in their individuality and which have perished with it… to fasten itself upon the great things which they have done, which have served humanity, and which still endure in the memories of men… to search out what has given them power and glory, namely, the idea they represent, and their intimate relation with the spirit of their times and their nation….”

Macron’s big mistake has been his treatment of ordinary workers, the concrete foundation that upholds his elitist regime on the top floors.

Gaulish workers have not forgotten the socialist Principles of ’89 the aristocracy would monopolize for themselves. Gauls have real revolution in their blood, and are not inclined to bend over as far their reformist cousins in America do in hopes of getting rich quick themselves. Macron sympathized with the wage slaves after the Yellow Jacket protests, but they require more than fancy talk, and soon. Although they are not yet forced to buy sawdust flour or rotting bread, they are not prepared to wait for scraps to trickle down from the dinner table Macron has laid out for capitalists eager to cheapen labor until workers are desperate enough to work for a pittance.

The liberal conservatives, in the interest of conserving the lion’s share of the world’s wealth, persuaded themselves that France was impeding progress with its mixed economy. A highly regulated labor market with generous social benefits supported by high taxes simply would not suffice for global prosperity.

One might imagine that the typical French worker was rendered lazy and incompetent, fat, dumb and happy by short working hours, long holidays, extended vacations, free medical care, cheap bread, discounted fine wine and cheese. That would be the ideal state as far as lazy Chinese emperors of yore were concerned as they changed palaces every month, for then they could rule by doing nothing except collect taxes. Such is not the case in France, where many thousands of honest workers have been taxed into the red, and are beginning to thirst for blood.

The same thing said about the French market was once said about the German mixed market, which was expected to collapse after the Wall came down, absorbing millions of poor people into the democratic federal republic, yet it has prospered, wages are high, and the generous social benefits persist. Is that because Germany is a hog, or are the Germans more efficient? Could it be a question of mental attitude? Should the French language become more guttural and less slurred, impressionistic and romantic?

Perhaps France needs an upgraded Napoleon I or Napoleon III or Charles de Gaulle to prosper the economy and restore prestige to France. The quest for glory and the hubris of great men toppled their empires, so it is a wonder that the charisma of the first Napoleon still persists while that of the third was lost with the German victory. The third deserves celebration because Napoleon III recognized the worth of labor and advanced the industrial revolution.

Hail Caesar! France loves strong military leaders. General de Gaulle was not an imperialist although he expected France, made great again, to be the European leader as a nation state, not as a member of a European union. He rejected U.S. domination. Roosevelt feared de Gaulle would become a dictator if not an emperor. Thanks in part to the U.S. Marshall Plan, France enjoyed thirty prosperous years from 1945 to 1975, dubbed Les Trente Glorieuses, ou la révolution invisible de 1946 à 1975, by demographer Jean Fourastié.

Macron’s poses has caused him to be disparagingly compared to Caesar and Louis XIV. The satire reveals a certain truth, to wit, the great expectation that a savior will appear to save France from its predicaments whatever they might be. The French have yet to be advised, “Ask not what the government can do for you, ask what you can do for France, and then get it done.” We deserve our leaders, even absent a republic or democracy, therefore everyone should strive to be a better leader in order to press the best leaders forward and remove the worst ones from office by the best means available for the change or overthrow of governments.

It is said that Russians love to obey strong men. Yet a great Russian author noted that great men are made men.  “A king is history’s slave,” Tolstoy penned in War and Peace.  “Man lives consciously for himself, but is an unconscious instrument in the attainment of the historic, universal, aims of humanity. A deed done is irrevocable, and its result coinciding in time with the actions of millions of other men assumes an historic significance. The higher a man stands on the social ladder, the more people he is connected with and the more power he has over others, the more evidence is the predestination and inevitability of his every action.”

Macron is the man of the moment, and he can be a great man for France and Europe if persuaded to be history’s slave, that is, if history is, as Victor Cousin averred, the history of progress, and progress is the history of liberty.

The People are ready to act, and want positive inspiration and a great plan that is in accord with the survival and progress of the race.

Macron wants to save the planet, for example, from the ravages of climate change caused by man, so let him come up with a business plan to finance and implement a salvation plan immediately, and include in the budget for that program and other public works ample funding for the training and employment of a well paid, massive workforce, including women standing on a equal footing with men, and immigrants as well, so that migrants will want to stay in France and work instead of pile up trying to get to England. Engage that workforce to perfect a rapid, distributed public transportation system that runs like clockwork, and to invent and manufacture French alternative energy folk cars. Take advantage of technology to build a vast virtual workplace in the cloud for telecommuters. Convert land from the production of livestock protein to plant protein. Make sure livestock feed is supplanted with Gas-X to reduce methane pollution for the production of great cheeses. That is not all. Review science fiction for ideas.

“But where is the money going to come from? Certainly the economy will fail if we embark on such quixotic endeavors.”

Not.

Macron, if he personifies progress, knows well the trade secret of money, and he is fully aware that much of the medium of exchange goes for the purchase of wanted things instead of necessities. Today a great deal of the gross product is immaterial! And much of the material product is trash, at least in the eyes of the well to do who can afford fine plates and silver at the dinner table.

A great man with a glib tongue, great ideas, and budgeting skills can make France great again if he gives full faith and credit to the workforce. Then he shall have the prestige of a great man, an elite man, a member of the great man aristocracy.

xYx