Once Upon a Time …

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Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 24/04/2022 - 9:18pm in

 … people followed the news to be informed. I’m not sure that’s the case anymore.

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As I write this, the French are voting in the second round of their presidential elections. French Lefties have a bitter choice between the first and second candidates by vote in the first round, the neo-liberal Rightist Emmanuel Macron (28% of the vote) or the populist far-Rightist Marine Le Pen (23%), respectively. (Say, should I vote for Macron for foreigners’ sake even though he will make me work three more years for my own retirement; or should I vote for Le Pen to keep my earlier retirement and screw the foreigners?)

Those who voted for Leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon (21%) and Éric Zemmour (7%) will have either to vote for one of the two top contenders or abstain/vote blank.

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(source)
A week before the first round ABC Foreign Correspondent released a report by Michael Rowland.

Rowland was alarmed with the unexpectedly high voting intentions results Éric Zemmour was getting: “the ideals of equality and fraternity that inspired the [French R]evolution may yet be beaten by the politics of hate and division”.

Rowland’s concern seem justified – to me, at any event. You see, rightly or wrongly I tend to trust ABC journos.

For Rowland – and I have no reason to doubt him – Zemmour is “proudly racist” and a “promoter of the Great Replacement” furphy. Even if one discounts as hyperbole some of Rowland’s interviewees more dramatic statements (i.e. “I think Éric Zemmour is a terrorist”), the bloke seems like the kind of person I wouldn’t like to see in a position of power. The Great Replacement thing, for instance, is an article of faith of far Right, white supremacists/white nationalists all over the world.

It’s also closely associated to the notorious “Fourteen Words” (or just 14 or 14/88)[*]. Indeed, white supremacy isn’t so much a part of no-frills Fascism in general, but of Nazism in particular (Übermenschen versus Untermenschen). That, it would have seemed to me, is a relatively straightforward argument.

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So, if one believes Rowland – as I do – there were good reasons then to worry. Even taking into account the first round, the combined results of the duo Le Pen and Zemmour (30%) show 3 in every 10 French vote for the far Right and at least 7% start to look alarmingly close to Nazism.

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Now, I’m not so sure about that conclusion. That argument, clear cut as it seemed to me, has a counter-argument. This is how one of Zemmour’s supporters defended him against the charge of racism:

Éric Zemmour is Jewish! He has Arab origin. He’s from Algeria. So [to say he is a racist] is like saying that a gay is homophobe; it’s nonsense.

What gives that counter its power is that ABC’s Kevin Nguyen adopts it:

Russia tried to build the foundation of its invasion of Ukraine on a lie — such as declaring the country, run by a Jewish president, had a Nazi problem.

So, if a fact-checker finds that a slam dunk, can a simple mortal like me object?

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You may – or not – find that persuasive. It’s up to you.

I believe it falls short. In fact, to be blunt, I believe it’s childish. It’s a typical gotcha “argument” from Twitter, meant to subtly suggest one’s debate opponent’s ignorance. 

I’ll bite. Frankly, I don’t care what Zelensky or Zemmour’s real ideologies are. They may well despise certain beliefs, while finding the believers useful. For example, neither Zelensky nor Azov love Russians or Putin: they may believe my enemy’s enemy is my friend, at least while our mutual enemy is there. You guys have heard, I suppose, that “he may be a bastard, but he is our bastard”, no?

Is that so impossibly unimaginable? Should I draw a picture?

Note:

[*] “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”. The 14/88 adds Heil Hitler (H being the eighth letter in the alphabet).