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Change is forever!

by Jacques de Guillebon

" The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence after it’s been trampled by the masses "

“Resist mass movement,” was the warning launched ten years ago by Pierre-André Taguieff. As well as being a heretic for whom there is something good about staying put, the unhappy historian of ideas dreamt that it was still possible to oppose the gigantic Brownian motion shaking the entire globe. But it seems that, instead, the slogan of the times is: “If you don’t move, you’re dead.”

Good-hearted postmodernists are convinced that, through the active grace of humanitarian democracy, the glorious day of friendship between peoples, the day that will witness their disappearance through cultural, or even racial hybridisation, for those who believe in it, is at hand. We have seen the end of the ancient world. Well, almost. Things don’t always go according to plan. But we’ll get there. We’ll get there because it is the will of Progress, and it is forbidden to call its augurs into question, especially when Progress combines the two greatest forces of our era, the two self-proclaimed freedoms: libertarianism and liberalism. Indeed, the first is already the dupe of the second, even if unknowingly. Naomi Klein has perfectly analysed the “shock doctrine” characteristic of neoliberalism, according to which all catastrophes, natural or political, are profitable to it. She illustrated her theory in reference to the striking example of New Orleans after Katrina, an unhoped-for chance finally to modernise this dilapidated city from another age.

The massive population shifts that we seeing now, events that have no historical equivalent, are another powerful factor in the establishment of the reign of the only power that really counts today, namely money. Poor workers; adventurers seeking a better life, seduced like the French peasants of the 19th century by the bright lights of the city; expats; ruthless middle-managers; illegals who have survived the black waters of the Mediterranean; human flesh prey to geography and Mafiosi, all of them, in one way or another, participate in the mass movement that undermines the organic unity of peoples.

When class consciousness, corporatism, a feeling of belonging to a certain place have faded and died, when local, immediate ties have unravelled, the democracy of opinion, with its illusory objectivity, is triumphant. We are living in a time in which the uncultivated elect the uncultivated according to passing whim, a process they refer to as freedom. “Sometimes they wake up in fear and gropingly search for life,” as Guy Debord said. But it doesn’t take them long to fall asleep again and forget that they have been reduced to mere units of market share. Electoral market share, but above all market share at the service of consumerism. The obscure Tamil worker in the Faubourg Saint-Denis doesn’t know or doesn’t want to know that when he buys a pair of jeans in Paris, it is his cousin back home who made them for thirty cents an hour. And he himself unknowingly contributes to wage deflation in developed countries by injecting his unfair labour into the market.

The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence after it’s been trampled by the masses. But it is above all the disappearance of family, ethnic, local and national cultures that serves Mammon: McWorld is extending its empire across the globe as disneyfication sets in. Perhaps the peasants, the yokels, the poor, attached to their land, their traditions and their customs, knew the ancient ways of resisting the apocalypse of desire; perhaps they had mastered the “common decency” dear to Orwell, the last possession of the poor, the art of living, or, in other words, of controlling oneself.

There is no doubt that the time of the great migrations, of transhumance with no return is not that of joy or happiness, but of artificial paradises, which are, as such, ephemeral and fundamentally destructive. Time and space have disappeared and with them a whole culture of distance, geographical and civilisational, above all intimate – distance from oneself and the other, the precondition of morality and philosophy. Wisdom will never return.

Jacques de Guillebon

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