Political Demographics

Soil and natality are the two pre-political realities, both horizontal and profane, which absolutely condition the political—the vertical condition is the sacred—Utopia (Thomas More) and uchronia (Charles Renouvier) are not politics, but its inverted and uprooted literary imitation. Political realism can use them polemically, as a literary genre, to elaborate a critique of the political situation. But one cannot live politically in suspense, out of place and out of time, contemplating the acceleration of decadence and waiting for the apocalypse, while landscape and countryside are destroyed with ferocious laws—those that raze the fields and those that rewrite history—the laws of memory, the perfect analog of the former. It is necessary to deal once again with the land (iustissima tellus) and the man engendered on it, for the laws to which I allude are not a Spanish anecdote, but a category of the decadence of Europe—the West is now as vague as the Free World of the Cold War-.

Geography and history are politics from other points of view—that of space and time, of identity and memory. The name of the “profound link between the material and spiritual aspects [of human coexistence], between land and culture” is “homeland” (John Paul II). The man who buries his dead is an earthly being in a particularly intense way. As the dead are seed—buried seed—they are at the same time inheritance, tradition projected in time, that is to say, history.

Politics is “the urgency of living,” as it is said in one of the West’s seminal books. It is an imperative here and now (hic et nunc), because fortune passes without remedy—certus an, incertus quando, like death—from one city to another (Machiavelli). Surviving is not easy. History is not only a graveyard of oligarchies, but also of political communities that have become unrealized, generally without a clear idea of their end. We know nothing of those lost civilizations, submerged in the sea, buried in the desert or devoured by tropical jungles. Although we know about Greece (and Rome) because, as Xavier Zubiri would say, “the Greeks [and the Romans] are us,” it is moving to think that this could also be our destiny. A Roman destiny or way, as suggested by Rémi Brague—to survive political extinction like Rome, culturally conditioning the posterity of the empire’s site—the Polish sociologist Ludwig Gumplowicz did not think of speaking of a Phoenician way, but, coincidentally, he used to say something very similar about the ineffable imprint that the extinct Phoenicians have left on the Mediterranean world.

As opposed to natural politics—Julien Freund would call it the political (politics the political)—deterritorialization and dehistorification constitute the “inconcrete asceticism” of a political class that lives, literally, in airplanes, outside reality, “delocalized” and also alienated from itself. Its spatial sense is, so to speak, liquid, maritime or ethereal, homogeneous, without discontinuities. Its historical sense is the romantic chatter of the end of history and the end of time pointed to in the agenda of an eternal present. They despise the soil and those who live on it. They are cosmopolitan and normativist, enemies of concrete orders; they are delicate, but not subtle.

In Hermann Heller’s theory of the State, territory (space) and people (time!) are two constituent elements of political unity. Francisco Javier Conde, whose ontology of the political (no more than a notebook: El hombre, animal politicoMan, Political Animal) is a precious footnote to Aristotle’s Politics—of very few books can this be said in the last 2,300 years—points out something similar: space and plan configure the political form. The immediate object of politics is the ordering of space, since it is on it that human coexistence is configured and persists (the plan). An unequivocal symptom of decadence is spatial withdrawal, the loss of territorial positions in the world, and depopulation or, more specifically, the collapse of the birth rate (the dénatalité of French demography, which, not in vain, has been constituted, since the end of the 19th century, under the sign of the fear of depopulation and its most severe consequence, the finis Galliae). A political community without territory disappears. A political community without births, becomes extinct. The spatial conscience of a people is geopolitics (political geography), the temporal conscience is demopolitics (political demography)—although Dalmacio Negro would say, rather, cliopolitics, the dimensions are the same.

Hannah Arendt recalls that “natality, and not mortality [is] the central category of political thought, since politics is based on the fact of the plurality of men.” However, the political articulation of this pre-political fact (the birth of new men and, as a consequence, the succession of generations) is not univocal, but is conditioned by the demographic metabolism of each human group, that fantastic animal that grows and decreases, subject to laws that in reality we do not know and over which we have the illusion of being able to influence. We can therefore speak, in this broad sense and not only in the restricted sense of Michel Foucault or Giorgio Agamben, of biopolitics.

Biopolitics has, by the way, two faces, one populationist (anti-Malthusian) and the other anti-populationist (Malthusian). Populationalism and anti-populationalism transcend the Right-Left dichotomy, purely accidental and opportunistic, and devoid of content, an “equivocation” from which it is advisable to get out of as soon as possible, as Arnaud Imatz says in Droite / gauche. Pour sortir de l’équivoque (PGDR 2016). So, it should come as no surprise that the original socialism, militant socialism, was populationist—Proudhon said that in the world there is no one left over… except Malthus—and that, in the 1960s, already triumphant, it became anti-populationist. In the conservative “right” the opposite has happened, in general terms: from anti-Malthusianism to Malthusianism. These attitudes towards population growth or decrease have a striking correlation a) with space and b) with war. Thalassocratic powers tend to be anti-population and naval in their concept of war, a struggle “in which superiority is a matter of wealth and technique, both of which require relatively few combatants.” The continental powers, on the other hand, “live with the obsession of the fragility of their frontiers, of the strength of modern armies and of the appalling consumption of men in recent wars” (Gaston Bouthoul). Carl Schmitt also detected, in the 1930s, the dependence between the principles of the new international law claimed by the maritime powers and their pressure to reduce the birth rate, an “argument… immoral and inhuman, but in which an individualistic and liberal conception of the world is recognized.”

In the same way, although in a different context, there is a policy that is fully engaged in its fight against death (mostly violent). However, after the demographic transition, silently operated in the bedrooms of all Europe since the French Revolution, there is another policy that strangely girdles itself in its fight against life. Thus, it is that the so-called “culture of death,” isolated from its moral or theological radiations, expresses itself politically in a policy of birth control or low birth rate. This anti-natalist political inertia has been nourished since the 19th century by an unprecedented trend in history: the conversion of procreation into a voluntary and reflexive act. The demographic phenomenon of social capillarity perfectly expresses this mutation. Gaston Bouthoul has described this transformation of the traditional (demographic) mentality: when procreation was normal, reflection conditioned sexual abstinence; on the other hand, nowadays, when normal behavior seems to be non-procreation, it is the very act of procreation that requires a conscious and reflective evaluation. This is the paradox, of enormous political relevance: procreative inhibition, a consequence of rationalization, has become the “norm” and “unthinking.”

In the treatises on political geography, particularly in those of the Interbellum, the laws or regularities of geopolitics used to be enumerated: the aspiration towards the domination of the whole of a hydrographic basin, the search for an outlet to the sea, or the aspiration towards the opposite coasts and adjacent islands, not to mention the siren songs of “natural frontiers” and the motive of national unity. Political demography, still in its infancy as a “social science,” also has its commandments or laws. Gérard-François Dumont has dealt with them in his Démographie politique. Les lois de la géopolitique des populations (Ellipses 2007). In his treatise, Dumont explains how demography influences and is influenced by geography according to the laws of numbers, age and gender composition, attraction and repulsion (of migratory flows), including diasporas, a universal phenomenon (“every diasporic group, nolens volens, by its mere presence, has geopolitical effects on its country of residence, on its country of origin and on the geopolitical relations of these two, among themselves and with third countries”).

Alfred Sauvy used to say that demographic problems are so important that the more they are ignored, the more terrible the revenge they take. In a way, the political demographer, even more than the geopolitician, is a voice crying in the wilderness. A good example of this is the scant attention paid to the Polish-born German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn, updater of the demographic debate on the “youth bulge” in his book Söhne und Weltmacht. Terror im Aufstieg und Fall der Nationen (Orell Füssli 2003). In other words, how does a percentile of 20% or more in the cohort of those between 15 and 24 years of age have an influence, particularly on conflict, whether internal or external—riots, revolutions, emigration, wars (emigration to the beyond, as Bouthoul said), conquest? This bulge, hump or thickening of the youth cohort is referred to by the expression “youth bulge,” devised at the end of the 1960s and which has surfaced again in the media in 2011 on the occasion of the “Arab revolutions.”

Heinsohn argues that the cause of war is to be found neither in poverty nor in religion, two of the most popular pacifist clichés since the founding of the UN and UNESCO, but in the demographic structure. That of young peoples is a polemic demography. That of old peoples, on the other hand, is polemophobic. Of course, the doctrine relating population movements to aggressiveness and war is not new. The first scientific developments, exposed in the 1930s, aim to refute the (falsely pacifist) judgment of Marxism that blames wars on an economic causality (economic materialism). But demographic materialism, a substratum of the French polemological school (one of the most representative texts is Cent millions de morts, by G. Bouthoul, Sagittaire 1946) and of American demographers sensitive to the effects of the “Youth bulge theory” (a stupendous status quaestionis can be found in The Youth Bulge. Challenge or Opportunity? (Idebate Press 2012), has illustrious and remote antecedents. Montesquieu, to go no further back, speaks of the beneficial “bloodletting of the Republic”—he is referring to war—that “dissipates the vehement heat of youth.” In Spain, an extraordinary piece is a secret report from the end of the 17th century by Captain Vicente Montano in which he ponders the benefits of war as a “great evacuation” that cures and purges the “sinful and seditious humors.”

But what is decisive is the social “use” of the “demographic dividend,” i.e., of this overabundance of young people (overjuvenation). The European conquest of the world since the end of the 15th century, particularly the last great seizure of land (Carl Schmitt) that took place in the 19th century, was the outlet of a population that had regained its growth after the demographic collapse of the Black Death. The closest thing to that, according to Heinsohn, but with a disproportion unknown in history, is the immense “demographic dividend” of the Islamic countries. If in the 20th century the European population grew from 460 million to 600 million, in the Islamic countries the leap has been exponential in the same period: from 150 million at the beginning of the century to more than 1.2 billion today.

From a Paretian point of view, there is no difference in nature, perhaps only in degree, between Wokism and so-called Islamic fundamentalism, apparently antagonistic. Will the lesson of demographic materialism be learned, which warns Europe, like Cassandra, of the terrible return of the flame of European colonization: the imperialism of the decolonized?

Jerónimo Molina Cano is a jurist, historian of political and legal ideas, translator and author. He is a corresponding member of the Real Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas in Madrid.

Featured: Das Volksfest auf dem Chodynka-Feld, Mai 1896 (The folk festival on the Khodynka field, May 1896), by Vladimir Makovsky; painted ca. 1897-1899.

Islam and Psychiatry

In 1965, a book entitled, Sociologie des maladies mentales (Sociology of Mental Illnesses) by Georges Bastide was published. This book, densely written, was hailed, upon its publication, by the ethnopsychiatrist Georges Devereux, by the psychiatrist Robert Castel and even by the sociologist Alain Besançon, who was particularly laudatory: “Vast readings, patient clarification of entangled concepts, sharply critical of the results, confrontation with what is confrontable, bold conclusions as to the substance, modest in expression.”

What is True

But Georges Bastide’s project was anything but modest—he wanted to found the sociology of mental illness. He asked the question with a somewhat technical elegance: “Can we make room for social factors in the etiology of mental illnesses?” And of course, if so, which one?

To do this, he began by “establishing the register” of the disciplines involved in the question of mental illness. This is commendable. It is a question of avoiding confusion or even conflicts between researchers, and of guaranteeing the independence of the various human sciences and disciplines concerned: social psychiatry, which is concerned with the morbid social behavior of individuals suffering from mental disorders; the sociology of mental illness, which is interested in communities and groups—particularly those that form spontaneously or not in psychiatric hospitals; ethnopsychiatry, which establishes correlations between ethnic facts and types of illness.

We must add disciplines (“sciences” at the time, but that was “early days”) that were a bit specialized: “ecology,” which brings to sociology some of the most important aspects of the human condition, which brings to the sociology of mental illnesses the recognition of a particular spatial distribution of organic and functional psychoses (but which does not manage to grasp the causes). And industrial psychiatry, which, as its name indicates, is interested in psychopathologies linked to industrialization, and they are numerous, and sometimes serious.

The sociology of mental illness has a history whose conceptual evolution goes from Comte to Durkheim and from Freud to Sullivan and Parsons. Bastide clearly identified the two main types of theoretical approaches that divide the discipline: some that start from psychiatry and go towards sociology, others that go from sociology towards psychiatry. The sociologist reserves the right to re-establish the communication network between the three fields thus delimited, theoretically and practically.

Let us summarize the hypothesis: we cannot understand mental illness or the mentally ill if we do not take into account the society in which both are integrated. Or do not fit in. If madness can have organic causes—lesions, biochemical disorders, hereditary factors, etc.—it also has social causes, which need to be recognized and which is a matter of sociology: if an old man is vulnerable to madness, is it because he is old or because society rejects the old?

In other words, the influence of the environment must be recognized in the psychogenesis of mental illness, even its “organogenesis.” Today, this is obvious, and even a dogma. But it is still necessary to establish some foundations.

Why is this book, which is more than fifty years old, still of interest to us?

In addition to the fact that it constitutes one of the most accomplished, the densest, the most documented works of the time on questions that interest us—madness and mental health—it interests us because obviously our society presents some clinical signs of pathological features. Not to mention, of pure madness.

The Normal and the Pathological and the Family

All peoples distinguish several types of abnormality and all know what a mental disorder is.

It is society that designates the sick to be treated, and it is up to the psychiatrist to find the causes and the reasons for the illness. In order to distinguish the madman from the healthy man, it is necessary to rely on an external criterion, the consensus that the healthy man meets in terms of behaviors shared with the other members of the group (the normative character of health). Hence the theorization (or paradigm) in terms of deviant behaviors or conformity behaviors—those that make social life possible (and those that can also make it impossible).

But if we admit that society comes into play in the genesis of mental illness, the question that arises is that of the more or less pathogenic character of the societies in which men are called to be born, to grow up, to fight for most often, or sometimes to integrate into when they emigrate.

It is the ethnopsychiatrist Georges Devereux who put forward the idea that there are social neuroses.

Industrial society is one that eliminates waste. The unproductive is waste: it is for this reason that the madman is designated for the social “trash,” and that, in a world dedicated to rationalization and planning, he is the only one who can make a protest heard (like that of Nietzsche or Antonin Artaud). The misfortune is that this protest cannot be heard, because it is formulated in a way that is neither intelligible nor, above all, admissible. What remains is silence; in other words, superb isolation. The mental illness is in some way the translation of this marginalism of the values rejected and repressed by society.

As isolation, or if one prefers insularity, is a general feature of our civilization, and even a real ideology, (with, on the one hand, the wild competition for the improvement of one’s social status which pushes one to seek participation, and on the other hand the cultural norms which push one to withdraw), schizophrenia appears as a perfect model of sociological category offering to men the shell that they must secrete around them to be able to maintain, on the peripheries, the systems of “blocked” values. It is indeed the “norms” and the “values” which constitute a base of references from which a system of recognition (and exclusion) is built.

It is not difficult to admit that if the individual participates in a global society and in a culture of which he is one of the “cogs,” he is more deeply influenced by the groups of which he is a part, rather than by the larger community. And the most profound influence is obviously that of the family. We all know that it is within the family that insurmountable conflicts are set up, which generate psychopathology; overcome most of the time, but not always, unfortunately.

In this respect, the family is also a “group” which has its laws, its norms, its prohibitions, its taboos; in short, a system for defining what is allowed, what is tolerated, what is admissible or inadmissible.

But there are two ways of looking at the family. From the point of view of Durkheim and most French sociologists, it is a social institution, organized and controlled by the State through civil status—or by the Church—which considers the conjugal bond as irreducible. The rupture of the marriage contract is not free; it is surrounded by guarantees; it must be formalized to become valid. From the dominant point of view of North American sociology, it is a social-group structuring, according to certain cultural norms; a set of inter-individual relationships between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, possibly between the three generations. European countries are increasingly tending to open up to this perspective, which, if not exclusive of the first, can enter into competition, then into conflict and contradiction. Until today, when the anthropologically normalized and normative family institution (one man and one woman), are eroded by recent laws.

There were thus two possible psychiatries of the family, depending on whether one considers it from the institutional or relational perspective.

No need to be a great expert to announce that pathologies will multiply and undoubtedly worsen.

Religion: An Integrative Force

Among the sociological variables of mental illness, we also find religion, or more exactly the religious group.

If this family is Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Hutterite, it will intervene in the constitution of a healthy psyche, but also in the structuring of psychopathologies, even neuroses or psychoses.

Bastide takes again the hypothesis of Durkheim, who conceived religion as an integrative force and who had established that suicides varied in inverse reason of the more or less integrating character of religion. But he rightly questioned the notion.

“Should we understand it as a simple statistical fact of belonging to a group whose faith one may not live, which simply marks the origin and the fact of being baptized? Or should we give this word its full meaning; that of the mystical experience lived in the depths of the soul?”

Only in the second case does religion retain an integrative function. It would have no effect on those who are not Christians and do not participate in the life of the churches. Bastide rightly points out that France has many atheists who behave in a Catholic way and who live according to the values of their ancestors: they have only secularized Christian ideals without changing their mentality.

Is it possible to establish some correlations between a certain type of mental illness and the various confessions?

Yes, answers the anthropologist, but without much theoretical significance. If the values and norms that constitute the religious culture of an ethnic group dominate in the etiology of mental illnesses, (the family factor being determined by the ethnic-religious cultural traditions, at least at the time), these variables are weighted by the “social class” variable.

Moreover, psychic conflicts resulting from religious identification are rare and in cases encountered, the interest in religious things follows the illness and does not precede it. It is not the religion that is important but the individual’s reaction to it. Clearly, it is the illness or the neurosis that is prior to the religion. “The neuroses can transform religion into a pathological construction and the psychoses into feeding the delusions. But it is not the religion which creates the one and the other.”

It would be appropriate to inform a large part of our contemporaries about this.

In the 1960s, especially in Italy, psychiatrists and members of the clergy collaborated on these difficult questions. It was a question of “saving” religious life from what could jeopardize it (intra-family conflicts, the inhumanity of industrial relations) and which could eat away at it from within and make it fail in neurosis. One sought in the community spirit or the discipline of the Churches—(Christian asceticism)—a ” dominium ” of the affective life—in particular of the impulsive life—a protective environment, an education of the spirit and an orientation towards a healthier world. Even more “holy.”

All this is still very true, in any case for the Christian religion which largely molded and configured the European culture and mentality and thus French. At least until the last forty years.

But then what about Islam in a sociology of mental illness? And what about Muslim immigration, since it is clear that it is with this specific immigration that the European peoples are confronted.

The “Culture Shock”: “The Poplar Quarrel”

A famous quarrel pitted André Gide and Maurice Barrès against each other about rootlessness. It is known as the “Poplar Quarrel” because it uses the botanical analogy. Barrès stressed the harmful effects of rootlessness; Gide saw in it the sine qua non condition of creativity—except that the two cultures between which Gide saw himself divided were those of Normandy and Neustria… There is undoubtedly a more violent duality.

What does sociology say about the question?

Everything obviously depends on the predispositions—robust personalities are enriched by this double culture. And they usually learn to exploit both of them skillfully.

In any case, there is always a crisis and this crisis for some may be difficult or impossible to overcome. Learning new cultural mechanisms is difficult after the plasticity of childhood. The new social environment is perceived as hostile, because one does not manage to master it, even if only symbolically through the shared language. More seriously, the new environment is not perceived as different but as contradictory. Anxiety and hostility are the consequences of these difficulties.

In our case, the “European” social body evolved from a Christian society, with associated values and also virtues (even in counterfeits), the morality sometimes a little narrow and puritanical—to a “secularized” society; then secular one; in other words, essentially atheist. And since a few decades, Europe became anti-Christian and even Christianophobic.

In other words, Muslims found themselves faced with a changing society, with which they had less and less affinity, to the point of no longer recognizing themselves at all in the values displayed. The new anthropological foundation only reinforced their deep aversion for a society that they perceive as perverse, immodest and deeply revolting.

Studies, fifty years ago by Georges Bastide, showed that in the case of mixed marriages, the parent belonging to a different civilization pulled the child towards his culture, which made the child internalize a double system of contradictory standards. The disorders resulted from the conflict of cultures, not from family conflicts.

It is known, for example, that the close relationship of sons to their mothers generally delays Americanization (i.e., integration). However, no one is unaware of the hold of the maternal imago in all cultures and societies, but particularly in Muslim society. It is the male child who allows the mother to finally exist. Many psychoses appear not when there is a rupture of the family or internal tribal bonds but where the abnormal rigidity of these pre-social bonds prevents the individual from freeing himself from the law of his family circle, or his restricted group remained foreign to the social community. This is exactly the situation of the Muslim family, tribal, rigid and especially more and more alien to the society that surrounds it.

In the case of a marriage between Muslim and French (of Christian tradition but most often without any knowledge of his or her religious tradition), the Muslim parent has no need to “pull” the child to him or her. The community force acts. The child will be “Islamized.”

This so-called “moderate” Islam is in reality a dormant, muted Islam. It guarantees a possible functioning in European society, according to schizoid modalities (very widespread, whatever the religion) which allow to live, to have a job. The virus is in a way “dormant.” But in the face of the mutations of our societies, and their deviated ethics, radicalized and radicalizing Islam begins to shake the whole edifice. A very deep violence comes out of it, linked to the anguish of psychological disintegration of personalities which have been structured according to modes of which we know very little. Ethnopsychiatrists have been interested in traditional cultures, but relatively little in the disorders of the Muslim population. The proof is that in 1965, Islam was not included in religious variables, nor in any variables at all.

A Psychiatry of Transplantation and Uprooting?

It is obvious that a “crisis of transplantation” is inevitable, whatever the modalities in which it takes shape.

The migration of Muslim communities is not a migration like any other. The men and women who arrive in Europe belong to a completely different civilization. The basic personality built in a Muslim society obeys rigidities and defines a mentality. The new environment can only reshape a mentality that is “compatible” with the host country, if the person does not live withdrawn in a reconstructed environment. However, it takes months before a person or a family is integrated; in other words, before they have a home, a job, a stability that is not based on parasites. The time to feed many feelings of frustration, powerlessness, envy no doubt. The perfect ground for developing mental disorders.

However, the reality that is ours is striking. “Ghettos” are not the sole responsibility of the host country, but also of the need of migrant communities to reconstitute something of their country of origin.
Even if one emigrates to improve one’s social status, the change is marked by a decline in status. We know that Germany has integrated skilled men and women with low wages and trainee status. If at first, given their situation, these doctors, computer scientists and others are happy about the “chance” they have been given, it is not certain that in the long run their appreciation does not change. However, the descent in the social scale occupies an important place in the genesis of mental disorders.

How can the old European lands, de-Christianized, and having to face attacks of a great violence that aim at destroying the anthropological base which constitutes the only common element with the Muslim community, face without risk of collapse such a terrifying aggression?

Durkheim had provided a still effective framework by distinguishing four types of solidarity: mechanical solidarity, organic solidarity, forced solidarity (which defines colonial and slave societies, and apparently ours), and finally anomie. He analyzed the phenomenon of suicide within this framework that he had elaborated. In societies with forced or anomic solidarity, there is an abnormal increase in the suicide rate. This is the case in our societies. Anomie, by developing anxiety (the ambition without brake, the amplitude of the unrealizable projects, or, today, the confusion between unrealizable dreams and projects), by multiplying the failures is particularly apt to multiply the number of suicides.

It seems to me that what we are witnessing is less a clash of civilizations than a clash—very brutal and very violent—of mentalities.

Christianity used to mediate (in an often anomalous, diffuse, sometimes rather soft way) between the Muslim community and French society. Contrary to the efforts to make people believe that we have the same God, which is not the case; but we had common or similar ethical positions in matters of sexuality, an “altruism” whose roots were undoubtedly not comparable, but which in practice are similar: almsgiving, prayer. But blinded by her internal affairs, by the post-conciliar crisis, by the preoccupation to show the world her brand new modernism, the Church remained blind to the essential.

The retreat of Christianity has left Islam facing an increasingly libertine, impudent and shameless secular society, which is now seen not as different and compatible at least on the essentials, but as radically “contradictory.

And then came Muslim migration.

A Shock of Mentalities

From now on, we have to face a community, which not only does not wish to integrate itself into our society but which intends to “disintegrate” it. The madman does not invent his madness: he uses the symptomatological stereotypes that the society or the community to which he belongs provides him. He needs them to give signs. The world of madness not only feeds on images and signs borrowed from the surrounding world, but it keeps the formal laws of this world. Faced with a European madness, understood as the triumph of pure subjectivity, we have today a new pathological disorder: the “jihadist” madness, the madness of the Muslim world understood as the triumph of the religious group.

What better sign than to blow oneself up, in other words to disintegrate? The jihadist with his belt of explosives gives himself to be seen and heard by two types of audience: the Muslims, to whom he addresses himself to show the strength of his faith, and to the society he wants to destroy. And as well to his instructors.

We have two “matrices” to generate mental disorders.

On the one hand, a society suffering from dementia and suicidal madness, which no longer wants to encourage life, support old age, regulate the aggressiveness of dominant males and look after the weakest. And on the other hand, a society that pretends to freeze the roles of men and women, to control social behaviors, to fossilize effort, to forbid women any public life, to forbid them any social mobility and even any education.

They are two faces of the same unheard-of violence: convulsive fury on one side; ideological lies and mass propaganda on the other.

And between them? Ecumenical dialogue and SREM (Department of Muslim Relations) for the Churches, and for the State, ELCOs (Teaching Languages and Cultures of Origin).

In other words, nothing.

Marion Duvauchel is a historian of religions and holds a PhD in philosophy. She has published widely, and has taught in various places, including France, Morocco, Qatar, and Cambodia. She is the founder of the Pteah Barang, in Cambodia.

Featured: Pelerinage aux lieux dits saints de la ville de La Mecque en Arabie Saoudite—Le Hajj (Pilgrimage to the holy places of Mecca in Saudi Arabia—The Hajj), by Alfred Dehodencq (1822—1882); painted ca. late 19th century.

The Political Class

An expression of society, in the sense of Georg Simmel’s “forms of socialization,” the articulation: oligarchy-the masses, the ruling class-the people, the rulers-the governed or the elite-the masses constitutes a constant historical regularity or factor, like the sacred-profane, friend-enemy, command-obedience or community-society polarities. There is no historical epoch that escapes the dynamics of oligarchies. It leaves its mark on social institutions, but also on the creations of the spirit, from urban planning and architecture to literature and even cinema. Giuseppe T. di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game and other such masterpieces unintentionally transcend their time, for they contain a universal lesson, a superior and forgotten banality: the persistence of a political class—beyond men and their rhetoric.

But the discovery of the “political class” and its empirical analysis are relatively recent. It is a phenomenon that is barely registered in the sociological literature from the twentieth century onwards. It is true that there is already an acute awareness of it in Greece and Rome, even for its effects on the government of the city. It is no accident that classical political philosophy—the Western one for us, although there are other comparable traditions—has only been possible once life as freedom—primarily external (freedom of movement) and deployed in public space, in the agora and the forum—was discovered, and how it could be disturbed by the oligarchic dynamics inherent in the political cycle. At the equinoxes of the cycle, between the concentration of power (monocracy) and its disintegration (pluralism), there have always been opposing processes of oligarchization and desoligarchization of government, of construction, destruction and reconstruction of the political class. A Spanish singularity, conditioned by the weakness of the State and by our inextinguishable 19th century, is the absence of a solid political class.

There was already, in a way, an implicit sociology or theory of the political class in the great historians of antiquity, who described these cyclical processes with the greatest naturalness. There is also, no doubt, in the brilliant Tingitan Moor, Ibn Khaldun, anticipator in the 14th century of the Paretian theory of the circulation of the elites, with his meditation on the “esprit de corps” (asabiyyah), which animates the ruling class until its decline, impossible to contain, in the span of four generations.

From the 19th century onwards, examples of a sociology of the political class, latent and rarely expressed as such, abound, from Saint-Simon (“Parable of the Industrialists“) to Joaquin Costa (Oligarquía y caciquismo–Oligarchy and Caciquism), passing through Lorenz von Stein (social movements and monarchy), for whom the conflictive dynamics between the established power (political class or elite), the insurgent power (counter-elite) and the people (dependent and politically null masses) is the key to the laws of social movement and, particularly, of the general subversion triggered by the French Revolution. A more polemical coloration has the diffuse perception of the phenomenon of the power elite, besides Karl Marx, in Franz Oppenheimer and his anti-political critique of the predatory state and its ruling class, and in Thorstein Veblen and his study of the idle class.

But the great moment of the theory of the political class is in the early years of the last century, previously conditioned by the understanding of the phenomenon of contemporary crowds (Gabriel Tarde, Gustave Le Bon and, later, José Ortega y Gasset). Leaving aside the studies on political parties by James Bryce (The American Commonwealth) and Moisey Ostrogorsky (Democracy And The Organization Of Political Parties), the sociological doctrine of elites is forever fixed in the work of the neo-Machiavellian masters: Vilfredo Pareto (Treatise on Sociology), Gaetano Mosca (Elements of Political Science) and Robert Michels (Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchial Tendencies of Modern Democracy). In these books, the iron law of oligarchy is reinvented rather than invented.

The “elite school” of sociology textbooks, after World War II, saw very different developments on the two sides of the Atlantic. In the political sociology of Harold D. Lasswell and Abraham Kaplan (Power and Society), Charles Wright Mills (The Power Elite) and Robert A. Dahl (Polyarchy), focused on the expression of real and apparent power in pluralistic democratic societies. And in the metapolitics with polemical overtones cultivated by Giuseppe Maranini (Gobierno parlamentario y partidocracia) and Gonzalo Fernández de la Mora (La partitocracia), for whom there have never ever been non-oligarchic governments. Christopher Lasch’s critique of contemporary elites and their “betrayal of democracy” (La rebelión de las elites) deserves special mention.

The fundamental social dichotomy is, according to Pareto, that which separates the population into a “lower layer, the non-elite class” and an “upper layer,” divided in turn into a “governmental elite,” the political class in the strict sense, and a “non-governmental elite.” On the other hand, as Mosca points out, the struggle for power does not pit the ruling class against the people. This is a self-serving illusion maintained by all aspirants to power. The competition for power is in reality a family affair: a struggle between the ruling class and its opponent, who struggles to assert itself at all costs. Or between the de iure political class and the de facto ruling class, which brings together what Carl Schmitt has called “indirect powers” (potestas indirecta, indirekte Mächte).

Nothing of what has been said prevents a “molecular renovation” of the political class, incorporating elements of the rival class or of the lower classes. This is, according to Pareto, the “circulation of the elites” or, rather, as Michels corrects him, the “amalgamation” of these with the lower classes. There is, then, in the dynamics of the elite, a “continuous endosmosis and exosmosis between the upper class and some fractions of the lower class” (Mosca), a variable dose of unpremeditated gatopardism. In this sense, the major quarrels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—the constitutional question, the social question and the cultural question—are an expression of the process of renewal and replacement of the elites to which the people attend, by force, as spectators. The reactivation in the 21st century, on a maximum scale, of an equivalent conflict over identity and roots, does not leave the people any more room for maneuver. For the ruling elite advocates revolution from above, while those who aspire to power advocate revolution from below.

The transformation of the political class is a process that has a surprising endogenous cause, since the prolongation in time of a leadership depends only on its faith in the legitimate acquisition of its right to rule. Effective power, what can we do, has impure sources. Whoever has lost this kind of certainty is politically hopeless.

The historical materialism of the Left, faced with the failure of Marxist eschatological forecasts about the revolution, resorted, with the forced footing of an elusive final victory, to the issuing forth of cultural hegemony (Gramsci) to correct the course of events. The Paris Commune has long overshadowed revolutionary history, much more so, if possible, when comparing France with the success of the October Revolution, for it makes one think that something like that, that of Moscow, could not come to fruition west of the Vistula.

With time, the New Right of the 1970s also acquired this business of hegemonies, with ephemeral enthusiasm, transferring it later, in the 1990s, with its deserters, to the systemic, liberal and conservative Right. The latter, without a long-term political strategy, leverage on Gramchism and its moderate variant of the Kulturkampf, the “cultural war,” not of every day, but of the great occasions, rarely shows its face, waiting perhaps for its turn. In Spain it is like that.

From the perspective of the circulation of the elites, Gramchism, Left or Right, is a pure hallucination, a gimmicky but inane gesture. It never bears the promised fruits, that sort of “infant colic” in which ends, as Carlo Gambescia usually says, the folklore of the “politics of culture,” both of the Left and of the Right, but mostly of the latter.

Since the end of World War II, what has been truly profitable for the Left is “psychological warfare,” generalized in the West by Marxism-Leninism—and today also exploited to the full, but in a different way, by various ideological substitutes. At its height, during the Cold War, psychological warfare, according to the original definition of Jules Monnerot, inventor of the term, “aimed to destroy the adversary as an organized force,” but also, and this is decisive, “to strip him of all his reasons for living and hoping” (The war in question). The Gramchist policy is a decoy that hides the real objective of the attack—to raise bad conscience in the political class, to laminate its sense of legitimacy and to make it believe that everything is already lost beforehand. The remorse of the ruling class, often imaginary and motivated by fatigue or fear, together with the instinct of survival, shed light on unheard-of, seemingly inexplicable cessions and twists—the “controlled blowing up” of the State of Fundamental Laws (a suicide of the old political class assisted by the new political class) or Wokism (mostly a strategic diversion practiced by an insidious enemy to morally disarm our capacity of resistance).

The elite, whether political or economic, can compromise the success of democratic regimes, particularly their representativeness, which is often the principle that suffers most from the iron law of oligarchies. Faced with the inexorable rigor of this sociological law, which transforms democratic representativeness into co-optation (even conjugal) or hereditary succession, all kinds of countermeasures have been devised: the imperative mandate; the plebiscite and other institutions of “direct democracy;” the Party, it is understood to be communist; the (futile) renunciation by the ruling class of its privileges; and (tedious) “citizen participation,” which tends to politicize everything. The “countermeasures” or “political formulas” (Mosca) prop up an elite that has lost almost all its civic virtues and needs new sources of legitimization: French resistentialism or Italian liberationism of the second postwar period or Spanish anti-Francoism. The formula may change, but not its stabilizing political function in a period of transformation, in which the loss of the elites’ sense of reality is accentuated.

Unaccustomed to effective command—since their governance is often vicarious—or reluctant to deal with inferiors, with the “retarded of history” (Chantal Delsol), perhaps sick with sentimentality, perhaps frivolous, the declining elites are characterized today by their paradoxical conformity with subversive models. Enduring them has become exhausting for the citizen, particularly in his facet of subject or fiscal subject.

There is a generalized political weariness. Mass, plebeian politics—mass political parties, mass media, mass-man, vulgarized “political science” and, simplifying, populism—has sunk intelligence to abyssal levels. The European “political class,” not to mention the Spanish one, has been coming, for too many years now, from cultural nothingness—for it, a provisional guarantee of adaptation and success. The reverse selection of the elite, a democratically exploited process, is the delayed and unexpected effect of universal suffrage (Monnerot, a reader of Maurras).

Notwithstanding their usefulness, subtle fools flourish in the leadership—the “pure positive stupid” as described by Julio Camba: individuals in whom stupidity “is not a limitation of intelligence, but a substitution of it. The positive stupid reasons with stupidity. Stupidity is his form of intelligence” (Alemania. Impresiones de un españolGermany. Impressions of a Spaniard). Although it can be more diabolical than stupid, a good example of this is the “Sado-Leninist,” a human type of little substance who emerges from the inexhaustible quarries of “post-structuralist theory,” and at whom Aquilino Duque fired some of his darts, with curare, and more current today than in 1975 (La estupidez de la inteligencia).

With the hierarchical and implacable logic of merit, the current Spanish political leadership—present until the general elections—a band of rogues determined to live off the political cattle, to avoid being depredated themselves, could occupy, with luck, socially subaltern positions. However, no matter how much the political flood of stupidity rises, it has to go down, and it will go down, to normal and functional percentages for the regime.

The electoral polls are clamoring away. And also the drawing up of the lists, a touchstone for the reconfiguration of the demo-liberal political class. Exposed once again to the big game—any serious political theory is the scholium of a primordial political hunting—the Hobbesian state of nature must be, in comparison, like spending the afternoon in kindergarten. No one escapes Pareto’s curse: the circulation of elites. What will become of all those dullards and second-timers who hope to cling to a general directorate, a section chief or a councilor’s office, a small seat, a miraculous bush in the ravine of politics, when the waters recede? For their personal drama, glimpses of our electoral cycle, they would deserve that, at least, their name be attached to the monument of the unknown dismissed. A consolation prize for those who remain in the stream and will no longer have the opportunity to take root in the passive classes.

The inexorable renewal of the power elite, more or less rapid, that is what matters, has an impact on the social structure, since it also has its modest demographic facet. Arrivals and departures move up and down the social ladder—and the administrative ladders—and can arrive, like barbarians, to camp out in tribes or families, even by parity vouples, vulgo connubio, in the heart of the State or outside, in its periphery, occupying more imaginative or more discreet positions.

It will be seen at last, perhaps, that neither the political bosses—now macho-alphism, a “sexualized” and banal expression, but obedient to the biopolitical logic of the supreme art of vengeance—nor the dynasty—now caste—nor the entourage—now rabble and, again, after so much Wolf-Ravine disaster, mob—are outdated political categories. Much less will they be Francoist… except for those who, without realizing it, by associating “Francoism” and “regularities of the political,” transform the accidentalism of a “constituent dictatorship of development” (Rodrigo Fernández-Carvajal) into a superstring theory of politics to which is attributed the quality of explaining everything. Senile memory (Aquilino Duque) has unprecedented returns: Franco and Francology, the beginning of everything!

Jerónimo Molina Cano is a jurist, historian of political and legal ideas, translator and author. He is a corresponding member of the Real Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas in Madrid. This article appears through the kind courtesy of La Gaceta.

Featured: The Red Tower, by Giorgio de Chirico; painted in 1913.

Which Law Do You Live Under?


One cannot but be grateful to Messrs. Xavier Azalbert and Stanislas Berton for their recent, rewarding discussion of “how the West has been intoxicated.”

Thought-provoking, that word intoxication, from the Greek toxicon, which means a poison sped by arrow. As it happens, toxon means a bow, so that the original meaning of intoxication is thus a willful act of harm, an act that is calculated and not some accident of nature. An act designed to kill.

The poison that Azalbert and Berton describe; is the act of lying. In biblical tradition, lying is more of the deed than a word. It stands for the betrayal of trust to, first and foremost God’s trust, because God will keep the faith. Lying is thus peculiar to the diabolic deed, aimed to wreck divine creation and bring down mankind as a whole.

Mr. Berton has also drawn a distinction between the lying by political figures as they attempt to protect the citizenry and the poison lie. Indeed, Plato himself acknowledges the utilitarian lie uttered by a government, which he calls “lying by the word”, as a thing excusable owing to its purpose—to protect the people—as distinguished from the “actual lie”, uttered to lead another soul into error, and a despicable act 5.

All these factors are now found combined. Lying is the weapon wielded by the powerful against the citizens of every Western country whose trust they betray as they twist the straitjacket strings and poison the citizenry’s mind. Their arrows are propaganda-vectors, whether in politics, culture or the mass media, who by their maneuvers, their Newspeak, and in fine by outright persecution, poison minds and mores.

Since what is at stake in the battle between truth and lying has always to do with how one judges things in their essence, whether that clearly be identified or cunningly disguised, it is hardly surprising that the poison of lying intoxicates Man’s very identity. Identity, by definition, pertains to the reality of what one Is and Is Not.

Not by chance, then, does one find subverting “identity” at the core of the mass-lying served up to strike a death blow at whatever resists that still deserves the name “Mankind”.

Whether conscious of the fact or not, this “intoxicated West” has taken to lying about itself above all. Although in history, the West may once have deserved the admiration Mr. Berton recalls, its prestige is now usurped as it claims a worldwide moral authority it no longer deserves. Whether the individual, society, the family, all have come under unrelenting onslaught from a West which denies and savages its founding principles. Elsewhere, I have referred to this, in French, as l’Oxydant rather than l’Occident, which in English would be something like the Wastrel West (the Oxidizing West).


Once the all-pervading lie has been identified, it must be fought—and not simply by ascertaining whether one is well or poorly informed, manipulated or not, or whether or not rights are under attack. The issue is whether Man as a free and rational being, will survive.

Despite the very high stakes—and Orwell’s Nineteen Eight-Four is the textbook—this is little understood. Those who would revolt still tend to think and react based on forms of intoxication instilled by education and the mass media. Lies about their dignity as Men, their rights, and the meaning of life or their political existence. Those who attack globalization, for example, do so on behalf of the very individualism, subjectivism and egoism on which globalization relies.

If he who would rise up is infected by the principles which led to his enslavement, he will only tighten his chains, like an insect struggling in the spider’s web.

A revolt will succeed only when the citizen cuts himself free from whatever enslaves him. How to defeat Wokism, if one clings to the “truth” of one’s personal opinions? If one insists on lying to oneself by living by the principles one purportedly rejects, repelling the Army of Lies becomes a pious wish.

The crises into which we are now plunged do nevertheless present the great advantage of compelling us to face a dilemma that can be solved only by choosing truth: either we continue to feed the monster, living and thinking as the monster would have us do docilely, consuming material and ideological objects and fashions—or we starve out the monster by opting for the truth as it is, accordance with objective reality—rather than caprice and fallacies of construction.

When a Roman came before a Judge, the latter would first ask him this: “By which law art thou ruled?” And by that law would he be judged. If my own, personal law, the law which rules my life and thoughts, is liberalism, i.e. individualism whereby the supreme authority is one’s own opinion, by what right do I groan at the yoke I have myself chosen? If however, I wish to be free of it, for myself and the society of men around me, I must reflect upon myself and upon the principles that liberalism seeks to undermine.

In that respect, a common error is to see Christianity as the enemy, whereas it is that belief that historically, forged the principles underpinning the West. In aiming at the wrong target, Christianity’s opponents become putty in the hands of those who would destroy them. On the other hand, there are observers whom one would scarcely call “Catholic”—Michel Onfray, Douglas Murray, Niall Fergusson or Tom Holland—who have studied history and contend that the survival of Christianity, too often betrayed by its own clerics, is critical to the survival of a true West if freedom and law still have any meaning.

There is a valuable lesson to be learnt from what is now taking place worldwide. As Russia moves away from the West’s decadence and totalitarianism she embraces her unique identity and rejects self-hatred. The nations of Africa should do the same. Each country will do best to act and live according to its own, distinct identity. China, India, and Iran would be well advised to follow suit. If the West is to overcome its intoxicated obsession with liberalism, it too will have to return to its traditional roots.

Patrick de Pontonx is a lawyer based in Paris. [Translated from the French by Mendelssohn Moses].

Featured: The Judgment of Solomon, by Nicolas Poussin; painted in 1649.

Why is Democracy Failing in Spain?

We Speak of Liberal or Bourgeois Democracy

Democracy is colloquially quoted as if it were an absolute term, whose meaning we should all understand just by mentioning it (as well as culture, nation, freedom, left, right) and which is also burdened with the heavy responsibility of having to comply with the wishes of each individual, however delirious they may be. This is easily verified on a daily basis in any media or social network. The one discussed here, which is the one implemented in Europe and the United States with different characteristics, is bourgeois liberal democracy. Its origin is usually fixed in three revolutions (England, the colonies that later formed the USA, and France) which, together with the industrial revolution, established the political supremacy of the bourgeoisie over the aristocracy and the lower classes of the Ancien Régime, relegated to exploited workers in the factories of the cities.

In bourgeois democracy, society (or the people) does not evolve spontaneously but is influenced and controlled by its ruling class, which has mutated from local bourgeois with its domicile next to its factory, to international oligarchies. That is why their great victory is to make the citizens (or the people) believe that they vote, think and act freely, as if the influence of the politicians, the press-dogs and the consumerist advertising that the same oligarchies finance, did not exist.

As an illustrative example, recent history in Europe has shown that democratizing consists of privatizing public enterprises, as in the cases of Spain after Francoism and the Warsaw Pact countries, as well as turning any country into a free market economy. It is therefore the ideal system for the control and defense of the interests of the financial oligarchies, where the degree of freedom of each citizen is directly proportional to the size of his or her wealth.

For more than half a century, a country has been democratic or not according to the criteria of the US president. If tomorrow Vladimir Putin decided to cede the exploitation of all his natural resources to Anglo-Saxon companies, the now accused “dictator” would become an exemplary democrat and a true man of peace aspiring to the corresponding Nobel Prize.

Following on from the above, it is fashionable to classify the slogan of the World Economic Forum (You will own nothing and you will be happy) as undemocratic. On the contrary, it is very democratic. In his 1845 book, The Condition of the Working Class in England, Friedrich Engels stated the following:

(Before the English bourgeois revolution)… Thus the workers lived an entirely bearable existence and led an honest and quiet life in all piety and honorability; their material situation was much better than that of their successors; they had no need to kill themselves at work, they did no more than they wished, and yet they earned enough to meet their needs. They had time for healthy work in their garden or on their plot, work which was for them a diversion.”

(After the English Bourgeois Revolution)

This is how the class of agricultural weavers gradually disappeared completely, merging into the new class of those who were exclusively weavers, who lived solely on their wages, did not possess property, not even the illusion of ownership conferred by the lease of land.

Almost two hundred years after the publication of this book, and after innumerable wars, revolutions and dictatorships, the people would only have become happier. Sometimes happiness consists simply in ignoring.

a) First Reason for Failure: Spanish Financial, Political and Charlatan Elites are Unpatriotic.

It is in our collective imagination, like so many other things, that the high industrial development of Catalonia and the Basque Country was due to its incipient and original bourgeoisie of Europeanist character, as opposed to the rest of the country, which maintained an aristocratic structure typical of the Ancien Régime. Here, tariffs and the possibility of trading within an Empire that traced trade routes halfway around the world mattered little. But the truth is that these bourgeoisies were the ones who, based on racist criteria classified as scientific at the time, founded the separation of these territories.

Before and after these nationalisms, politicians and charlatans predominated, who in the name of democracy have wanted Spain to be a colony of France, England, USA and even the USSR; but these, unlike what the current propaganda tells, aspired to exterminate the bourgeoisie to implement their dictatorship of the proletariat.

In our times, we can see, among other nonsense: how a foreign minister asked to cede tons of sovereignty to Europe; parents with their little Spanish flag on their wrists enroll their children in any British school; some high-ranking military members understand that the freedom of Spain consists in submitting to the US and NATO; businessmen who in the search for their greatest profit take their production centers to other countries; or large landowners who cede their lands to the construction of solar panels and invest their profits in Morocco.

In short, the elites who should direct the “democracy we have given ourselves,” have particular interests opposed to those necessary for a correct eutaxia of Spain.

b) Second Reason for Failure: Spaniards Await the Arrival of an Idyllic Democracy that has Never Existed and Never will Exist in Real Life.

The generation born during the years of Desarrollismo (developmentalism) will have the dubious honor of being the first that, in general terms, lived better than their children. I do not blame them for being deceived according to the dictates of the Tardofranquismo (Late Francoism) and the Transition, but they are guilty of having militated and voted in an irrational and fanatical way for corrupt parties full of politicians and well-connected people who only look after their personal interests, while keeping their children and grandchildren deceived about the consequences of their votes. If, as we have been told by those born in that generation, that the democracy we have been given is the government of the people, for the people, then what have you had in your heads during all these decades?

On the other hand, what would you have labeled any individual who at Christmas 1978 would have addressed the anti-Francoists and predicted that after 40 years of democracy Spain would have the highest unemployment rate in Europe, temporary employment companies would boom and the number of millionaires and vulnerable people would increase; state companies, including strategic ones, would pass into the hands of large private capital; GDP would fall below that of Mexico, sovereign debt would exceed 100% of GDP, and countries that did not exist at the time, such as the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia and Lithuania, would be ahead in the per capita income ranking; the industrial sector would go from around 30% to 16% of GDP, the fields would lie fallow while food prices would rise without limit and livestock farming would show such a state of crisis that there would be no choice but to import milk from France; with only the salary of one of the two parents—in general, a family would not be able to live with dignity even though salaries would reach historical maximums, skyrocketing the expense in social benefits; supporting a child would become a privilege; young people would take time to find a decent job and would pay for any house, if they could buy it, with a thirty-year mortgage; drugs and delinquency would be accepted to the point that squatters would have more rights than homeowners; ETA would have more than 379 unsolved crimes since then and a presence in Parliament; the educational content in education would be worse and worse, and respect for authority and elders would be lost; the main political positions would be held by people who have not done anything in their lives and would not fulfill anything of what they promise in election campaigns, and the main political parties would accumulate countless cases of corruption?

The reality is indisputable. If until 1978, according to what they say, the people longed for a democracy, 40 years later, the children and grandchildren of that town, born and educated in that dream, aspire for their salary to last until the end of the month, to have a job decent, not lose the house and, in the best of cases, save something. And in each electoral campaign they promise a reindustrialization (up to 20% of the GDP); the same ones whose political existence makes it impossible for that industrial objective to be fulfilled. (And not only due to lack of interest and incapacity).

In order for this to go unnoticed to a greater extent and for Spaniards not to rebel against the financial elites, who become wealthier with each passing year, and crises, politicians and press-dogs at their service take care of dividing and confronting society with mental drugs from which they also obtain economic benefits, namely animalism, ecologism, gender ideologies or fragmentary nationalisms. It is also curious that in times of change, as in the 1980s and today, there is an increase in drug use. More and more democrats aspire to legalize it, so that the people do not become aware of the misdeeds of those they vote for.

Another idea of the collective imagination is that in Francoism there was always soccer when there were social problems, although it is well known by soccer fans that it was played on Sunday afternoons at coffee time. For the last decade, perhaps since the 2008 crisis, there have been soccer matches and programs every day of the week, from the morning news until the early hours of the next morning. Every political regime is bread and circus—but when the price of bread goes through the roof, the circus also grows in parallel: in our case, the media circus.

A Case that Began to Open my Eyes

I started to become politically aware (rather of the existing parties) during Aznar’s term of office, when I was in the 4th year of ESO. For someone who lived surrounded by a leftist environment defined within the undefined Left, that is, defined by repeating and believing everything published by the media related to the PSOE, later Podemos, but not by knowing how to define what is left of all life that they supposedly defended.

Therefore, it was not surprising that it was accepted that Aznar was a Francoist, especially because he supported a war, defended privatizations and sank the Prestige. At that time, the first two points were beyond me, but on the other hand, about the oil spill, I was struck by the fact that my environment gave so much importance to that disaster (even volunteers went to clean “oil sludge”), when the same did not happen with the spills from the Aznalcóllar mine, less than 100 kilometers from our residences and which reached Doñana. Environmentalism only matters depending on who governs.

Regarding the Iraq War, what once seemed to me undemocratic, now seems to me the true essence of democracy, so I correct my mistake and affirm that the leader of the PP acted as a true democrat, together with the two oldest democracies in the world. Moreover, over the years I discovered that Aznar followed the process of privatization of INI companies, started by the PSOE and due to EU demands and whose income below their value was used to falsify the accounts that allowed us to access the Euro, a system that has brought us so much prosperity(!). To this we must add that he was the one who gave the most to the independentists with the Majestic Pact, who eliminated the “Mili,” tripled the number of regularizations of illegal immigrants with respect to the PSOE, or allowed the repair of the nuclear submarine Tirelles in Gibraltar.

If one wanted to place Aznar within one of the different families of Francoism, one would have to place him next to those who were in exile with the support of England, a nationality which, like so many of the PP, he seems to yearn for.

This year there will be three electoral periods: run to vote to rid Spain of fascism or social communism, which are so “dangerous” that they can be defeated simply with votes, and not with weapons! On the other hand, why does nobody want to save us from liberalism? The answer is quite simple, the five main parties are different formats of liberalism.

Manuel Rodríguez Sancho is a Railway engineer and author of the political novel, El último tren de la democracia (The Last Train of Democracy). He runs his own blog. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Posmodernia.

Featured: La Niña Bonita, or Mariana Española. Poster, April 14, 1931.

How Neocons Rule the French Media

For more than a year now, the majority of the mainstream media have chosen to support Ukraine and to denigrate Russia. Why do the salesmen of Atlanticism have such an open door in the French media?

One thing is certain: treating a subject in a binary way is never a sign of good intellectual health. And Natacha Polony, in a recent editorial on the subject, is quite right to mock “a year of intellectual fraud” offered by the French media class. Also, in this article, one word catches our attention: “neoconservatism.” The editor of Marianne does not hesitate to speak of a “free forum” granted to the “most hardened representatives” of this current. But who are these people who have their place in the media? And besides, what is neoconservatism?

Europe versus New Carthage

In order to understand what neoconservatism is, we must go back to American history. If Westerners like to repeat that the United States is an extension of Europe, they often fail to mention that this country was also built and thought of as a negation of the land of their ancestors. Even if they left with a whole mass and part of the European culture, the United States has always had, and this since the beginning of its existence, the desire to split from the Old Continent. This is why Dominique Venner spoke of “an enriched and renegade bastard.”

Considering that they were living in a promised land, it was the Pilgrim Fathers who cut their ties with Europe. In Our Country, a missionary by the name of Josiah Strong asserted that “the Anglo-Saxon race has been chosen by God to civilize the world.” On December 2, 1823, President Monroe’s declaration of the United States’ desire to keep the European powers out of the New World was an admission of this coming divorce.

It was in August 1845 that the journalist O’Sullivan first used the term “manifest destiny” to legitimize the war that the United States was preparing against Mexico. He explained, “Our manifest destiny is to extend ourselves over the whole continent allotted to us by Providence, for the free development of our millions of inhabitants who are multiplying every year.” Although the United States initially saw itself as the “city on the hill,” the first decades of the 20th century symbolized a departure from this principle. Woodrow Wilson and F. D. Roosevelt were convinced of their role as “civilizers.” D. Roosevelt embodied these imperialist figures of an America projecting itself on to the outside.

Although its downfall has been predicted since 1945, the United States is objectively an exceptional power that holds together, thanks to its capacity for technical innovation and its global economic hegemony. Its strength stems in part from these ambivalences: a continent-state and master of the Anglo-Saxon thalassocracy; a superstitious nation with a great deal of pragmatism; the leading military power and master of soft power; an island with the “gift” of ubiquity. This power has served it, for the last three centuries, to promote those myths and representations that give this people the feeling that it is an “exception.” General de Gaulle said in 1956 to Raymond Tournoux: “America is Carthage… What changes everything is that America has no Rome in front of her.”

Neocons versus Old School Conservatives

Since 1970, neoconservatism has been a movement composed mainly of journalists, politicians and advisers. Originally from the Democratic camp, the “neocons” joined the Republicans during the election of Ronald Reagan. On the other hand, it is important to distinguish between neocons and conservatives, because while the former are in favor of an interventionist foreign policy, the latter are more inclined toward isolationism.

Everything starts from one observation: the international system is in a state of anarchic nature (Hobbes). This is why the United States, whose historical mission is to export democracy, must establish a planetary order of liberal inspiration. The two modern figures of this current, Robert Kagan and William Kristol, affirmed in a 1996 article that it takes political will to establish “a benevolent hegemony of the United States.” Disciples of the philosopher Leo Strauss—although their reading of him is open to debate—neoconservatives are proponents of the use of force and disdain morality, which they denounce as a lying “superstructure.”

Importantly, neoconservatism is the product of urban intellectuals in Washington, D.C., as opposed to the more entrenched men of the conservative party. The neocons despise conservatives who remain committed to America’s “common sense” and see themselves as representatives of the “real country.” While the neocons have shown themselves to be in favor of military spending and increased government control, conservatives are more hostile to capitalist centralism. During the last wars waged by the United States, it was liberals, more than right-wing voters, who endorsed the muscular foreign policy of these ideologues.

One of the paradoxes of this current is that it has its roots on the left. “The founding father of the movement, Irving Kristol, wrote in 1983 that he was still proud to have joined the Fourth International in 1940 and to have contributed to the New International and Partisan Review,” says John Laughland. This left-wing tropism is a marker of the neoconservative International. For example, in the United Kingdom, for a long time the two most hardline “hawks” of this movement (Melanie Philips and Stephen Pollard) came from it. In France, we find the same phenomenon with men like Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Raphaël Enthoven, Romain Goupil, Pascal Bruckner, father and son Glucksman and Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL).

France’s Slow Submission to the Anglosphere

Winston Churchill told General de Gaulle: “Remember this, my General, between Europe and the open sea, we will always choose the open sea!” The Iraq campaign (2003) was a perfect example of this warning. In addition to having reopened the floodgates of Francophobia after the French veto at the UN, the sending of American, British and Australian troops symbolized this desire to create an “economic-political alliance that is essentially Anglophone, but with a global vocation” (Laughland).

This is not new. The idea of a “duty to interfere” is at the basis of American imperialism, which, since 1945, has been embodied in the concept of “state building.” From post-war Europe to the intervention in Afghanistan, it was on the ruin of the old nations that America was betting to set up a “new world order.” After the fall of the Soviet Union, a Pentagon document (the “Wolfowitz Report”) announced that Washington must now “convince potential rivals that they need not aspire to a greater role, regional or global.” Since then, there has been no stopping the United States, which, in defiance of the European states and their adversaries (Russia, China, Iran), has waged a war in Kosovo (1999), Iraq (2003), the Georgian conflict (2008) and the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“With me, it will be the end of a form of neoconservatism imported into France over the past ten years.” This phrase, even if it seems surprising, was President Macron’s in 2017. Wishing to return to the Gaullo-Mitterandian, or even Chiracian, legacy, Macron announced that he was committing France to a different path than that taken by his predecessors—notably that of Sarkozy in Libya and the Hollande-Fabius approach in Iran and then Syria.

However, for years France has accepted, with rare exceptions, the abandonment of its independence by following Anglo-Saxon interventions. If interventionism was also a French tradition (DRC, ex-Yugoslavia and Ivory Coast), a change has been noticed since Sarkozy and Hollande. Since its return to the Atlanticist fold, France has gradually lost its voice in the concert of nations. If Gaullism was characterized by a search for equidistance between the United States and Russia, since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, this attempt at equilibrium has been replaced by an alignment with Uncle Sam.

BHL and His Clique of War-Mongers

If the nationalist side oscillates between Kiev and Moscow—see personalities like Thierry Mariani, the sovereignists or Pierre de Gaulle—the Left, for its part, has joined the Ukrainian side en masse, even if some members of the Communist party or individuals like Emmanuel Todd bring a different perspective In general, the bulk of the troop of the extreme center (from EELV to LR) has draped itself in the blue-yellow banner. But it is mainly the liberal Left that forms the outpost of the French neocons with, for example, Benjamin Haddad, who, before becoming a Renaissance deputy, represented American interests in Europe for the Atlantic Council.

The leader of this coalition, BHL, is the embodiment of these war drummers. Promoters of all the latest American invasions, these “good souls” do not hesitate to call for new battles and destruction. All the hype around BHL’s last film testified to the power of this clan in the media world, and beware of the seditious who questioned this mobilization in favor of Ukraine. Attacking in swarms on television sets (LCI, France 2), radio mornings (France Inter and RTL) and magazine editorials (ParisMatch, L’Express), these “intellectuals” go on warlike diatribes in the name of the “values of the West,” the defense of Europe and the “free world.” In an article for Le Monde diplomatique, Serge Halimi and Pierre Rimbert even speak of a “crusading mood” and an “absence of pluralism.” Lacan liked to say that Kant never went without Sade; if the neocons are moral, it is because they surely take pleasure in it.

Rodolphe Cart is a writer who lives in Paris, France. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Revue Éléments.

Featured: Dido Building Carthage, by J. M. W. Turner; painted in 1815.

Effective multilateralism through the Defense of the Principles of the UN Charter

Mr. Secretary-General,


It is symbolic that we are holding our session on the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace that was introduced into the List of International Days by a UN General Assembly resolution on December 12, 2018.

In two weeks, we will celebrate the 78th anniversary of Victory in World War II. The defeat of Nazi Germany, the decisive contribution to which was made by my country with allied support, made it possible to lay the foundation for the postwar international order. Legally, it was based on the UN Charter while the UN that embodied true multilateralism acquired a central, coordinating role in world politics.

For a little less than 80 years of its existence, the UN has been carrying out the important mission entrusted to it by its founders. For several decades, a basic understanding by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as regards the supremacy of the charter’s goals and principles guaranteed global security. By doing this, it created the conditions for truly multilateral cooperation that was regulated by the universally recognized standards of international law.

Today, our UN-centric system is going through a deep crisis. The main reason is a striving by some UN members to replace international law and the UN Charter with a certain “rules-based” order. Nobody has seen these rules. They have not been discussed in transparent international talks. They are being invented and used to counter the natural process of the forming of new independent development centres that objectively embody multilateralism. Attempts are made to curb them through illegal unilateral measures – by denying them access to modern technology and financial services, excluding them from supply chains, seizing their property, destroying their critical infrastructure and manipulating universally accepted norms and procedures. This leads to the fragmentation of global trade, a collapse of market mechanisms, paralysis of the WTO and the final – now open – conversion of the IMF into an instrument for reaching the goals of the US and its allies, including military goals.

In a desperate attempt to assert its dominance by way of punishing the disobedient, the United States has gone as far as destroying globalisation which it has for many years touted as a great benefit for humankind serving the needs of the global economy’s multilateral system. Washington and the rest of the obeisant West is using these rules as needed to justify illegitimate steps against the countries that build their policies in accordance with international law and refuse to follow the “golden billion’s” self-serving interests. Those who disagree are blacklisted based on the precept that “he who is not with us is against us.”

Our Western colleagues have been inconvenienced by holding talks based on universal formats, such as the UN, for a long time now. In order to provide an ideological substantiation for the course on undermining multilateralism, they initiated a concept of united “democracies” as opposed to “autocracies.” In addition to “summits for democracy,” the list of participants, which is determined by this self-proclaimed hegemon, other “elite clubs” are being created in circumvention of the UN.

Summits for Democracy, the Alliance for Multilateralism, the Global Partnership on AI, the Media Freedom Coalition, the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace – all these and other non-inclusive projects were designed to thwart talks on the corresponding matters under the auspices of the UN and to impose non-consensual concepts and solutions that benefit the West. First, they agree on something privately as a small group, and then they present the things they agreed on as an “international community position.” Let’s call it what it is: no one authorised the Western minority to speak on behalf of all humankind. Please act decently and respect all members of the international community.

By imposing a rules-based order, the quarters behind it arrogantly reject the UN Charter’s key principle which is the sovereign equality of states. The “proud” statement by the head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell to the effect that Europe is a “garden” and the rest of the world is a “jungle” said it all about their world of exceptionality. I would also like to quote the Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation of January 10 which runs as follows: The United West “will further mobilise the combined set of instruments at our disposal, be they political, economic or military, to pursue our common objectives to the benefit of our one billion citizens.”

The collective West has set out to reshape the processes of multilateralism at the regional level to suit its needs. Recently, the United States called for reviving the Monroe Doctrine and wanted the Latin American countries to cut down on their ties with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. However, this policy ran into an obstacle from the countries of this region who resolved to strengthen their own multilateral structures, primarily the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), while upholding their legitimate right to establish themselves as a pillar of the multipolar world. Russia fully supports fair aspirations of that kind.

The United States and its allies have deployed significant forces to undermine multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific region where an ASEAN-centered successful and open economic and security cooperation system has been taking shape for decades. This system helped them develop consensus approaches that suited the 10 ASEAN members and their dialogue partners, including Russia, China, the United States, India, Japan, Australia, and the Republic of Korea, thus ensuring genuine inclusive multilateralism. Washington then advanced its Indo-Pacific Strategy in an effort to break up this established architecture.

At last year’s summit in Madrid, the NATO countries spoke about their global responsibility and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic region and in the so-called Indo-Pacific region, even though they have always made it a point to persuade everyone that they aspired to peace and that their military programmes were purely defensive. This means NATO’s boundaries as a defensive organisation are being moved towards the western coastal regions of the Pacific. This bloc-oriented policy that is eroding ASEAN-centred multilateralism manifests itself in the creation of the AUKUS military organisation, with Tokyo, Seoul and several ASEAN countries being drawn into it. The United State is leading the effort to develop mechanisms to interfere in maritime security in a move to protect the unilateral interests of the West in the South China Sea region. Josep Borrell, whom I referred to earlier, promised yesterday to send EU naval forces to this region. No one is hiding the fact that this Indo-Pacific strategy is seeking to contain China and isolate Russia. This is how our Western colleagues interpret the concept of effective multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific Region.

As soon as the Warsaw Treaty Organisation was dissolved and the Soviet Union vanished from the political arena, many entertained the hope that the principle of genuine multilateralism without dividing lines across the Euro-Atlantic area could be brought to life. However, instead of tapping the OSCE’s potential on an equal, collective basis, the Western countries not only kept NATO but, despite their firm pledges to the contrary, pursued a brazen policy of bringing the neighbouring areas under control, including those that are and always have been of vital interest to Russia. As then US State Secretary James Baker said talking to President George W. Bush, the OSCE is the main threat to NATO. On our behalf, I would add that today both the UN and the UN Charter’s provisions also pose a threat to Washington’s global ambitions.

Russia patiently tried to achieve mutually beneficial multilateral agreements relying on the principle of indivisible security which was solemnly declared at the highest level in OSCE summit documents in 1999 and 2010. It states unambiguously in black and white that no one should strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others and no state, group of states or organisation can be assigned primary responsibility for maintaining peace in the organisation’s region or consider any part of the OSCE region its sphere of influence.

NATO didn’t care one bit about the obligations of the presidents and prime ministers of its member countries and began to do exactly the opposite, having declared its “right” to arbitrary actions of any kind. The illegal bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, which included the use of depleted uranium warheads that later led to a surge in cancer cases among Serbian citizens and NATO military members is another glaring case in point. Joseph Biden was a senator then and said on camera, not without pride, that he personally called for bombing Belgrade and destroying bridges on the Drina River. Now, US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill is using the media to call on the Serbs to turn the page and “set aside their grievances.” The United States has an extensive track record of “setting aside grievances.” Japan has long been bashfully silent about who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. School textbooks don’t mention it. Recently, at a G-7 meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condescendingly grieved over the suffering of the victims of those bombings, but failed to mention who was behind them. These are the “rules,” and no one dares to disagree.

Since World War II, Washington has pulled off dozens of reckless criminal military operations without even trying to secure multilateral legitimacy. Why bother, with their set of arbitrary “rules?”

The disgraceful invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition in 2003 was carried out in violation of the UN Charter, just like the aggression against Libya in 2011. Both led to the destruction of statehood, hundreds of thousands of lost lives and rampant terrorism.

The US intervention in the domestic affairs of the post-Soviet countries also came as a flagrant violation of the UN Charter. “Colour revolutions” were concocted in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, and a bloody coup was staged in Kiev in February 2014. Attempts to seize power by force in Belarus in 2020 are part of the same approach.

The Anglo-Saxons who are at the helm of the West not only justify these lawless adventures, but flaunt them in their policy for “promoting democracy,” while doing so according to their own set of rules as well, where they recognised Kosovo’s independence without a referendum, but refused to recognise Crimea’s independence even though a referendum was held there; according to British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, the Falklands/Malvinas are not an issue, because there was a referendum there. That’s amusing.

In order to avoid double standards, we call on everyone to follow the consensus agreements that were reached as part of the 1970 UN Declaration on Principles of International Law which remains in force. It clearly declares the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states that conduct “themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples as described above and thus possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory.” Any unbiased observer can clearly see that the Nazi Kiev regime can in no way be considered as a government representing the residents of the territories who refused to accept the results of the bloody February 2014 coup against whom the putschists unleashed a war. Just like Pristina cannot claim to represent the interests of the Kosovo Serbs to whom the EU promised autonomy, Berlin and Paris similarly promised a special status for Donbass. We are well aware of how these promises play out eventually.

In his message to the second Summit for Democracy on March 29, 2023, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said some great words: “Democracy flows from the United Nations Charter. Its opening invocation of ‘We the Peoples,’ reflects the fundamental source of legitimate authority: the consent of the governed.” I will emphasise the word “consent” once again.

Multilateral efforts were made to stop the war unleashed in the east of Ukraine as a result of a government coup. These efforts towards peaceful settlement were embodied in a UN Security Council resolution that unanimously approved the Minsk agreements. Kiev and its Western bosses trampled these agreements underfoot. They even cynically admitted with a tinge of pride that they never planned to fulfil them but merely wanted to gain time to fill Ukraine with weapons to use against Russia. In doing this they publicly announced the violation of a multilateral commitment by UN members as per the UN Charter, which requires all member countries to comply with Security Council resolutions.

Our consistent efforts to prevent this confrontation, including proposals made by President of Russia Vladimir Putin in December 2021 on agreeing on multilateral mutual security guarantees were arrogantly rejected. We were told that nobody can prevent NATO from “embracing” Ukraine.

During the years since the state coup and despite our strong demands, nobody from among Kiev’s Western bosses pulled Pyotr Poroshenko, Vladimir Zelensky or Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada back when the Russian language, education, the media and, in general, Russian cultural and religious traditions were being consistently destroyed by law. This was a direct violation of the Constitution of Ukraine and universal conventions on the rights of ethnic minorities. In parallel, the Kiev regime was introducing the theory and practice of Nazism in everyday life and adopting related laws. The Kiev regime shamelessly staged huge torchlight processions under the banners of SS divisions in the centre of the capital and other cities. The West kept silent and rubbed its hands together. What was happening fully fit into the US’s plans to use the openly racist regime that Washington had created in the hope of weakening Russia across the board. It was part of a US strategic course towards removing rivals and undermining any scenario that implied the assertion of fair multilateralism in global affairs.

Now, all countries understand this, but not all talk about it openly – this is not really about Ukraine but about the future structure of international relations. Will they rest on a sustainable consensus based on the balance of interests or will they be reduced to the aggressive and explosive promotion of hegemony? It is inaccurate to take the Ukraine issue out of its geopolitical context. Multilateralism implies respect for the UN Charter and all of its interconnected principles, as I have already said. Russia has clearly explained the goals it is pursuing in conducting its special military operation – to remove the threat to its security that NATO has been creating for years directly on our borders, and to protect the people who were deprived of the rights that have been declared in multilateral conventions. Russia wanted to protect them from Kiev’s public and direct threats of annihilation and expulsion from the territories where their ancestors had lived for centuries. We honestly laid out for what and for whom we were fighting.

I am tempted to ask by contrast, against the backdrop of the US- and EU-fuelled hysteria – what did Washington and NATO do in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya? Were there threats to their security, culture, religion or languages? What multilateral standards were they guided by when they declared Kosovo’s independence in violation of OCSE principles and when they were destroying stable and economically wealthy Iraq and Libya that were ten thousand miles away from America’s coasts?

The shameless attempts by the Western countries to bring the secretariats of the UN and other international institutions under control came to threaten the multilateral system. The West has always enjoyed a quantitative advantage in terms of personnel, however, until recently the [UN] Secretariat tried to remain neutral. Today, this imbalance has become chronic while secretariat employees increasingly allow themselves politically motivated behaviour that is unbecoming to international officials. We call on His Excellency UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to ensure that all of his staff meet the requirements of impartiality in keeping with Article 100 of the UN Charter. We also call on the secretariat’s top officials to be guided – as they prepare initiative documents on the general agenda issues that were mentioned earlier, and the “New Agenda for Peace” – by the need to prompt the member countries on how to find ways of reaching consensus and a balance of interests, instead of playing up to neoliberal concepts. Otherwise, instead of a multilateral agenda, we will see an increasingly wider gap between the golden billion countries and the global majority.

As we speak of multilateralism, we cannot confine ourselves to an international context: in exactly the same way, we cannot ignore this international context as we speak of democracy. There should be no such thing as double standards. Both multilateralism and democracy should be respected within the member countries and in their relations with one another. Everyone knows that the West, while it imposes its understanding of democracy on other nations, opposes the democratisation of international relations based on respect for the sovereign equality of countries. Today, along with its efforts to promote its so-called rules in the international arena, the West is also suppressing multilateralism and democracy at home, resorting to increasingly repressive tools to crush dissent, in much the same way as the criminal Kiev regime is doing with support from its teachers – the United States and its allies.

Colleagues, once again, as in the Cold War years, we have approached a dangerous, and perhaps even a more dangerous, line. The situation is further aggravated by loss of faith in multilateralism where the financial and economic aggression of the West is destroying the benefits of globalisation and where Washington and its allies are abandoning diplomacy and demanding that things be sorted out “on the battlefield.” All of that is taking place within the walls of the UN which was created to prevent the horrors of war. The voices of responsible and sensible forces and the calls to show political wisdom and to revive the culture of dialogue are drowned out by those who set out to undermine the fundamental principles of communication between countries. We must all return to the roots and comply with the UN Charter’s purposes and principles in all their diversity and interconnectedness.

Genuine multilateralism today requires the UN to adapt to objective developments in the process of forming a multipolar architecture of international relations. It is imperative to expedite Security Council reform by expanding the representation of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The inordinate over-representation of the West in this main UN body undermines the principle of multilateralism.

Venezuela spearheaded the creation of the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations. We call on all countries that respect the Charter to join it. It is also important to use the constructive potential of BRICS and the SCO. The EAEU, the CIS, and the CSTO are willing to contribute. We stand for using the initiatives advanced by the regional associations of the Global South. The G20 can be useful in maintaining multilateralism if its Western participants stop distracting their colleagues from priority items on its agenda in hopes of downplaying their responsibility for the pile-up of crises in the global economy.

It is our common duty to preserve the United Nations as the hard-won epitome of multilateralism and coordination of international politics. The key to success lies in working together, renouncing claims to anyone’s exceptionalism and – to reiterate – showing respect for the sovereign equality of states. This is what we all signed up for when ratifying the UN Charter.

In 2021, President Vladimir Putin suggested convening a summit of the UN Security Council permanent members. The leaders of China and France supported this initiative, but, unfortunately, it has not been brought to fruition. This issue is directly related to multilateralism. It’s not because the five powers have certain privileges over the rest, but precisely because of their special responsibility under the UN Charter for maintaining international peace and security. This is exactly what the imperatives of the UN-centric system, which is crumbling before our eyes as a result of the actions of the West, call for.

Concern about this situation can be increasingly heard in multiple initiatives and ideas from the Global South countries ranging from East and Southeast Asia, the Arab and generally the Muslim world all the way to Africa and Latin America. We appreciate their sincere desire to ensure the settlement of current issues through honest collective work aimed at agreeing on a balance of interests based on the sovereign equality of states and indivisible security.

In closing, I would like to let the reporters who are covering our meeting know that their colleagues from the Russian media were not allowed to come here. The US Embassy in Moscow cynically said it was ready to give them their passports with visas in them but only when our plane was taking off. So, I have a huge request for you. Please make up for the absence of Russian journalists. Please see to it that worldwide audiences can use your reports to glean every angle of the comments and assessments.

This speech appears through the kind courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Battle Standards of Lepanto

“Military service, under the banner, of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, brilliant soldier of the Elite Special Forces of the Spanish Old Tercios, at Lepanto, soul of every soldier and heart of Spain, is a divine virtue.”

For the first time since the death of the “King of Spanish Literature,” 407 years later, I have the great honor of dedicating a brief study to the invincible standards of the glorious Man of La Mancha, who loved them with all his heart and soul and defended them with the highest dignity, nobility and courage because “the soldier seems more likely to be dead in battle than alive and safe in flight” (Don Quixote, II-XXIIII).

Here the words of Major General (R) Rafael Dávila Álvarez come readily to mind: “There is nothing like the Spanish soldier, and my only aspiration has always been to be at his level.”

Under threat of imminent war against the Ottoman Empire of Selim II (1524-1574), Cervantes entered his first military service in Italy, and thanks to the recommendation of Giulio Acquaviva d’Aragona and Giovanni Girolamo I Acquaviva d’Aragona (1521-1592), the tenth Duke of Atri, and that of his son Adriano Acquaviva d’Aragona (1544-1607), very good friends of General Marcantonio Colonna (1535-1584), of whom Cervantes had heard “have often heard Cardinal de Acquaviva tell of your Lordship [Ascanio Colonna, Abbot of Santa Sofia] when I was his chamberlain at Rome” (Galatea, 1585).

Indeed, Cervantes’ first military mission began under the command of Marcantonio, who led numerous naval operations before the battle of Lepanto, and whom Cervantes served for more than two years, according to the dedication of La Galatea addressed to Cardinal Ascanio Colonna (1560-1608), where he affirmed that “I may at least deserve it for having followed for several years the conquering standards of that Sun of warfare whom but yesterday Heaven took from before our eyes, but not from the remembrance of those who strive to keep the remembrance of things worthy of it, I mean your Lordship’s most excellent father.”

To Cervantes it was an opportune occasion to restore his reputation and to enter the army because “the Turk was coming down with a powerful armada and his design was not known, nor where he was going to unload such a great cloud” (Don Quixote, II-I). Therefore, on June 5, 1570, Pope Pius V (1504-1572) appointed the Roman Marco Antonio Colonna, the general in chief of the pontifical squadron, and on July 15 of the same year, the “Prince of Christendom” ordered “his commanders in Italy to place themselves under the orders of the General of the Armada of Pius V” (A.Z. c. 51 no. 2).

According to the historian Ricardo de Hinojosa y Naveros (Los despachos de la diplomacia Pontificia en España,185-86) Marcantonio was general of the pontifical galley squadron before April 1570, which was part of the twelve galleys assembled along with the sixteen galleys of the Genoese admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria on September 1, 1570 in La Suda in order to organize the relief-expedition of Cyprus and to raise the siege of Nicosia.

Cervantes joined the Pontifical Armed Forces in early 1570 and took part in the unsuccessful campaign for the relief of Nicosia, whose was launched on August 30, 1570 and then abandoned after the loss of Nicosia.

Cervantes details that they arrived “at the strong island of Corfu, where they took water” (The Liberal Lover) and then crossed the place where The Liberal Lover began: “O pitiful ruins of wretched Nicosia, scarcely wiped with the blood of your valiant and unfortunate defenders!” and tells that “looking from an outcrop at the demolished walls of the already lost Nicosia; and so he spoke with them, and compared their miseries to his own, as if they were capable of understanding him.”

Cervantes undoubtedly served in a company of Marcantonio until the arrival of his brother Rodrigo in Genoa, on July 26, 1571, who was one of the 2,259 soldiers of the company of Captain Diego de Urbina, deployed in the Tercio of the field commander Miguel de Gurrea y Moncada (ca. 1549-1612) and in that of Lope de Figueroa, who crushed the Alpujarra rebellion under the command of John of Austria and the Third Duke of Sessa.

Cervantes alludes to the arrival of John in Genoa, on August 6, 1571, who on August 9, 1571 went on to Naples, as follows: “My good fortune would have it that Senor Don John of Austria had just arrived in Genoa and was passing on to Naples to join the Venetian armada” (Don Quixote, I-XXXIX).

Military historian Juan Luis Sánchez Martín thinks that Cervantes enlisted in Diego de Urbina’s company “between August 9 and August 19, 1571 in Naples” (Los capitanes del soldado Miguel de Cervantes, 176) and the letter of August 25, 1571 from Don Juan to García Álvarez de Toledo Osorio (1514-1577), captain general of the galleys of Naples, evidences the appearance of Spanish troops in the Venetian squadron thus: “I found here Marco Antonio de Colonna with the twelve galleys of his Holiness, which are in his charge, well in order; likewise I found Sebastián Vernier, general of the navy of the Venetians, with forty-eight galleys, six galleys and two ships” (M. Fernández Nieto, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quijote de la Mancha, 214-15).

On September 1, 1571 the sixty galleys from Venice arrived in Messina, and on September 8 Don Juan reviewed the fleet “in which he had boarded on his ships, the Venetians, 4000 soldiers, for the service of the king of Spain;” and on September 9 in Leguméniças he communicated that “with the occasion of a dispatch that I sent to Naples it has seemed to me to advise you that these Venetian gentlemen at the end have finished resolving to take in their galleys four thousand infantrymen of those of S. M… that is to say, 2500 Spaniards and 2500 Spaniards, that is to say, 2500 Spaniards and 1500 Italians” (J. A. Crespo-Francés, Miguel de Cervantes, 8).

On Sunday, October 7, 1571, Cervantes was part of the Third Squadron of the fifty-four ships of the Venetian commander Agustín Barbarigo (1500-1571), located on the left wing of La Real, led by Don Juan, about which on March 20, 1578, Ensign Mateo de Santisteban stated thus: “To know the said Miguel de Cervantes, which was the day that the said Cervantes served in the said battle, and was a soldier of the company of Captain Diego de Urbina in the galley Marquesa, of Juan Andrea” (K. Sliwa, Documentos De Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, 49-50).

This statement proves that Cervantes fought in the only Genoese galley Marquesa, commanded by the Italian captain Francisco Molin, belonging to Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria, No. 34 of the Third Squadron of the Venetian commander Augustin Barbarigo, second in the high command of the Venetian Fleet after the Venetian Admiral Sebastiano Venier (1496-1578).

At Lepanto, Cervantes was among, inter alia, the following standards:

Before ending this brief summary on the legacy of Cervantes, hero of Algiers, who infinite times, with tears of love, kissed the flag of his homeland, heart of Spain, I thank the excellent military historian and Infantry Brigadier, Miguel Angel Dominguez Rubio, decorated with the Cross of Military Merit with White Distinctive, the Cross of the Royal Military Order of San Hermenegildo and the NATO Medal, Head of the Communication Office, Infantry Regiment, “Tercio Viejo de Sicilia,” N. No. 67, and author of the exemplary book: 1719-2019 Tercio Viejo de Sicilia nº 67: 300 años de la llegada a San Sebastián (Halland Books, 2019), in collaboration with Josué del Cristo Pineda Gómez. His love, sacrifice and bravery to Spain, homeland of heroes, and his gift of the shoulder flash, the medal with the words: “Valor, Firmeza y Constancia” [Courage, Firmness and Constancy], and the pocket flag of the Infantry Regiment, “Tercio Viejo de Sicilia,” No. 67, whose words ennoble all of us, who love “our sweet Spain, beloved homeland” (Treatise on Algiers):

With this Flag on your pocket, you will always carry with you a piece of our Homeland. It will help you to keep your commitment of Service to Spain. It will remind you of all those who fight by your side and are proud of your sacrifice and it will give you the strength will give you the strength for your dedication in the defense of our Nation, its values and its freedom.

I conclude by making a special emphasis that our exemplary and excellent Infantry Regiment, “Tercio Viejo de Sicilia”, No. 67, has as a collective pride to recite every morning the Camino del Sicilia, the stanzas that form the essence of our identity, and the voice of the colonel who exhorts us loudly: “This is the old Third!” And everyone responds with the verses of the Camino del Sicilia: “This is the old third,

which in death has proven more than a thousand times its nobility!” And this compendium of virtues and commitments is sealed with our “Battle Cry,” that is answered by the three words of response: “In combat, courage!”

“In our ideals, steadfastness! In preparation, constancy!” (M. Á. Domínguez Rubio, 1719-2019, Tercio Viejo de Sicilia, 50).

Laus in excelsis Deo.

Krzysztof Sliwa is a professor, writer for Galatea, a journal of the Sociedad Cervantina de Esquivias, Spain, and a specialist in the life and works of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and the Spanish Golden Age Literature, all subjects on which he has written several books. He has also published numerous articles and reviews in English, German, Spanish and Polish, and is the Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of Cordoba and Toledo.

Featured: The Battle of Lepanto, fresco by Giorgio Vasari; painted ca. 1572-1573.

Nord Stream! And Lutherania Descends into the Maelstrom

“Thank you, USA!”
Radek Sikorski, MEP

“Thank you, Olaf Scholz!”
Society for German Garden Gnomes

In a few minutes more, there came over the scene another radical alteration. The general surface grew somewhat more smooth, and the whirlpools, one by one, disappeared, while prodigious streaks of foam became apparent where none had been seen before. These streaks, at length, spreading out to a great distance, and entering into combination, took unto themselves the gyratory motion of the subsided vortices, and seemed to form the germ of another more vast. Suddenly—very suddenly—this assumed a distinct and definite existence, in a circle of more than a mile in diameter. The edge of the whirl was represented by a broad belt of gleaming spray ; but no particle of this slipped into the mouth of the terrific funnel, whose interior, as far as the eye could fathom it, was a smooth, shining, and jet-black wall of water, inclined to the horizon at an angle of some forty-five degrees, speeding dizzily round and round with a swaying and sweltering motion, and sending forth to the winds an appalling voice, half shriek, half roar, such as not even the mighty cataract of Niagara ever lifts up in its agony to Heaven [Edgar Allan Poe, Descent into the Maelström (1856)].

Most observers—even those extremely hostile to Scholz—tend to see him as a blithering idiot, stooge or punching-bag for the Annalena “Miss Piggy” Baerbock faction. However, on February 21, 2023, Professor Michel Chossudovsky published a piece on the Nord Stream blast referring to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ own statements, and suggesting that the latter had, from the outset, been in on the plan to physically demolish Nord Stream.

As the Professor’s article did not, however, report the passages below from Scholz’ intervention in German at the notorious Washington press conference on February 7, 2022 allow us to do so now. There, President Biden publicly announced that the Deed would be Done. Picking up where Biden had left off (“I promise you we will be able to do it…”) Scholz stated the following:

Olaf Scholz ((from 5 mins. 9 seconds):

“Let’s be clear. In order to concretely implement whatever sanctions be needed, should it come to an attack on the Ukraine, our preparations have been intense. We must do whatever may be called for, to make Russia understand that the measures will be tough and far-reaching. Obviously, we will not toss all our cards onto the table: the Russians must be made to realize that a great deal more may occur, than they would even imagine. Meanwhile making it perfectly plain that we’re well prepared. The measures will be far-reaching.”

[More here].

To get a handle on the purported “blithering idiot,” “stooge,” or, rather more likely, Quisling, backtrack to the 1980s.

Where There’s a Steklov, There Must be a Schmolz

According to the French version of Wikipedia, two short lines of which brush off Scholz’ role in the CumEx affair—it just happens to be the biggest tax fraud in German history—in 1982 at 24 years of age Olaf Scholz was appointed Federal Vice-President of the JUSOS (Young Socialists), quite the power-brokering agency in the social-democracy at the time. The French weekly L’Express then described him as “far closer to the DDR’s Communists than to West-German leaders”, as Scholz made a name for himself calling for Germany to leave NATO, and for all US medium-range nuclear weapons to be withdrawn from her territory.

In his role as JUSO VP (1982-1988) and VP of the International Union of Socialist Youth (1987-1989), Scholz crossed over to the DDR several times. One of his meetings with Egon Krenz and the DDR Nomenklatura made prime-time television in the DDR:

As the nail-hard East German delegation stares impudently across the table at the baby-faced West German youths, giddy with their own sense of importance, one can only wonder… at what went on behind the scenes. Trained in the USSR, with the Stasi and the apparatchiki weeviling into the woodwork, the Nomenklatura rarely wasted the main chance. In any event, the above video conveniently popped up on YT on August 19, 2022, just as Olaf Scholz appeared before the Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry (PUA) on the CumEx affair.

One should perhaps add that until 1989, given the red-tape, surveillance and harassment on both sides of the Wall, few Westerners ever attempted to travel to the East bloc. But Olaf Scholz, plainly, had slippery skin.

Olaf Scholz, A Babe in the DDR Wood

“Europe, not Euroshima!”
Freie Deutsche Jugend slogan

As one might imagine, Olaf Scholz’ profile as one more braying ass in NATO’s stable of useful idiots, resembles that of his contemporary Jens Stoltenberg, known as Steklov to the KGB whilst still a “socialist” teenager.

Thus, on February 5, 2022 Markus Decker, ex-member of the Freie Deutsche Jugend or FDJ (Free German Youth, outlawed as anti-constitutional in West Germany from 1951), penned a short note confirming that , in 1983 he attended an FDJ camp at Werder an der Havel in the DDR, with Olaf Scholz essentially at its helm.

“Scholz was six years older than I … he headed the delegation (West German—editor’s note) to Werder, and was more a player, than a mere onlooker. Scholz travelled to the DDR several times. According to reports, he was waved through the checkpoints, and inter alia met with someone who would be much talked of in 1989: Egon Krenz, Secretary of the SED (Socialist Unity Party) Central Committee. Scholz belonged to the Stamokap wing, State Monopoly Capitalism… the dimension of the problem concerns the actual surveillance of Olaf Scholz in West Germany. Seven or more West German citizens under the aliases ‘Kugel,’ ‘Gustav,’ ‘Giesbert,’ ‘Konrad,’ ‘Holm,’ ‘Heine’ and ‘Udo’… forwarded no less than 19 reports (to the West German authorities—editor’s note) between 1978 and 1987 on Scholz and his activity on behalf of JUSO-Hamburg…”

Ah, “Peace ! First amongst the Rights of Man! Europe, not Euroshima! (Frieden ist unser erstes Menschenrecht! Europa darf kein Euroshima werden!), such were the slogans produced for the Werder an der Havel camp, nicht wahr, Herr Kanzler?

Speaking frankly, had Olaf Scholz stuck to his anti-NATO, peacenik, communistic views his enitre life – like the unrepentant Rainer Rupp, ex-spy, now a militant essayist—whether one agreed or not, one would have simply shrugged one’s shoulders and said “at least he’s coherent.”

And Scholz would never have become mayor of Hamburg, then finance minister, and now soon to be ex-chancellor, but a Potsdam Town Councillor. Hence the joke doing the rounds when Scholz turned his coat: Es ist Schmolzder Scholz is geschmolzen—Scholz has liquified.

But for Scholz to have liquified, geschmolzen, to the point of applauding an act of war by the US against his own country, of agitating for injecting experimental gene therapy into his own population, of appointing as Foreign Minister an individual, Miss Baerbock, whose vulgarity, ignorance and recklessness beggars belief, of actively pressing for Operation Barbarossa II… there had to be either a carrot or a big stick at the other end. Given the implications of the CumEx affair, it looks rather like the big stick.

Whatever is this “CumEx” business, the maelstrom down which Scholz and Co. will eventually no doubt vanish? According to the specialized site FinanzWende, which has been tracking Olaf Scholz’ role from the word go, CumEx refers to a series of share-deals effected with the sole purpose of tricking the tax authorities into refunding (unpaid) taxes several times over to a chain of players, linked by an underground network.

Share-bundles are bought and sold in swift succession close to the dividend due-date, with (cum) or without (ex) dividend-entitlement. As the deal-wheel spins swiftly, the real share-holder at any one time is unclear to the tax authorities; they end up refunding capital gains tax to all the players who then divvy up the loot.

CumCum deals are similar: these enable foreign shareholders to draw tax refunds in Germany, a thing normally forbidden. Which is why one finds the Hamburg lawyer Hanno Berger, plying that trade from Switzerland, or Freshfields Germany partners, or the Canadian Maple Bank, all with their fingers in the pie.

Via a judgment handed down on December 15, 1999, the Federal Finance Court (Bundesfinanzhof) had carelessly opened a breach for such deals, by holding that for tax purposes, a single share might have two owners, with property passing to the buyer at the time of the sale despite the share still being “in the hands” of the vendor. In late December 2002, the German Bank Association (Bundesverband deutscher Banken) wrote to the Finance Ministry about CumEx, to suggest that legislation be designed to mitigate liability for the banks involved. The argument then bandied about was that CumEx/CumCum was a tax loophole rather than a criminal scheme to defraud the tax authorities.

From that point on the CumEx/CumCum merry-go-round took off: over a period of roughly fiften years Germany was cheated of about 10 billion Euro tax revenue through CumEx deals and roughly 28 billion through CumCum. On the European level, the losses in tax revenue for the various countries have been estimated at roughly environ 150 billion Euro.

As it happens, the German authorities were tipped off to the scam early on. According to Finanzwende, between 2005 and 2007 a whistleblower contacted BaFin (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, the banking oversight agency), in vain. In 2007, “alarm bells rang in the Finance Ministry: a whistleblower reported that CumEx deals were taking on monstrous proportions … nevertheless, the Ministry neither sent the oversight agencies into the banks, nor ordered a freeze on all federal tax refunds from the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern, nor alerted the Prosecution Service.

There would be much, much more to say. Plainly, by no later than 2007 not a single political or financial figure in Germany could have been unaware of the fact that THE far more profitable CumEx and CumCum deals had come to replace “plain vanilla” banking, that the gamers were making at least 20 % on such deals, and that the tax base was being looted. By 2012, official investigations and legal proceedings both civil and criminal were underway in several Länder, especially in Cologne where officials were notably diligent; by 2014 Landesbank Baden-Württemberg for example, agreed with to the tax agents to return 150 million Euro in undue refunds.

In January 2016, the Cologne Prosecutor launched an enquiry into Warburg Bank at Hamburg (150 million Euro at stake), and February 2016, a Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry into CumEx was set up.

Under such circumstances—and the publicly-available documentation on CumEx/CumCum runs into the thousands of pages of which we have been able to read only a fraction—there can be no doubt whatsoever that Olaf Scholz, whether as Mayor of Hamburg (2011-2017), or Federal Finance Minister (2018-2019), was well aware that a major scam was afoot.

By some quirk of fate, Die Akte Scholz (The Scholz File), a study by investigative reporters Oliver Schröm and Oliver Hollenstein, appeared only a few days after the Nord Stream blast (September 26, 2022); the book picked up from leads in the impounded private journal of Warburg’s Hamburg boss Christian Olearius. For a pitiless and quite thorough summary of events as related in Die Akte Scholz, see this three part video by young German financer Kolja Barghoorn:

Founded in the late 18th Century, the Warburg Bank, although with tentacles extending worldwide (Paul Warburg was amongst the Federal Reserve’s founders in 1913), holds the splendid city of Hamburg, all very prim, proper and Lutheran, in its grip. As for Christian Olearius, who in 40 years multiplied the bank’s turnover by five, nothing stirred in Hamburg without him, lastly but not leastly CumEx deals for its notables.

“Warburg’s Using the Threat of Bankruptcy”

In 2016 and 2017 Scholz, then Mayor of Hamburg, thrice received Christian Olearius and Max Warburg at Town Hall, although investigators were already engaged in a CumEx tax-fraud enquiry against Olearius.

Whilst elsewhere in Germany, the tax authorities and prosecutors were tearing hither and thither, striving to shut down the CumEx scam, nothing of the sort occured at Hamburg. There, the tax people, led by the mysterious Svenja Pannhusen (all trace of her seems to have vanished from the Internet) not only declined to chase up the Warburg Bank for refunds, but made so free as to disclose civil servants’ OTR musings to the bank. Scholz himself apparently suggested the following, terribly original argument to the tax office: “Warburg is Too Big to Fail. And is threatening to go bankrupt (Existenzgefaehrdung)”. According to Die Akte Scholz, then-Mayor Scholz told Olearius of his exchanges with Svenja Pannhusen and the Hamburg Finance Senator, the interesting Peter Tschentscher who was to take over from Scholz as Mayor in 2018.

And thus we have the Hamburg tax authorities letting Warburg’s CumEx shenanigans slide right up to – you guessed it – the Statute of Limitations (December 2016, 47 million Euro time-barred, just in time for a Warburg Christmas). But, Perfection being Not of this World, not even in the Warburg World, the Federal Ministry of Finance, deaf to screams of protest from the Hamburg tax office, managed to file a demand for 42 million Euro in tax refunds from Warburg, just before the cut-off date in late 2017.

Amongst the truly strange Machers, as we say in Yiddisch, tugging strings in the environment, one stumbles upon the man who may be Olaf Scholz’ actual controller, a certain Colonel Alfons Pawelczyk; in 2021, he was raided by the Cologne authorities, again in relation to CumEx, Warburg and Scholz.

Defense Industry Boring into the Woodwork?

Whilst Scholz was still Mayor, his party, the Hamburg SPD, is known to have taken 45,000 Euro in donations from the Warburg Bank, thanks to Pawelczyk’s good offices – tip of the iceberg? Given how much politicians cost these days? Another peculiar Macher in Scholz’ entourage is fellow SPD’er Johannes Kahrs, in tight with Warburg and with defense industry figures. In 2022, CumEx investigators from Cologne (them-thar pests again!) cracked open one of Kahrs’ strong-boxes, only to find banknotes in the amount of 218,000 Euro, the origin of which Kahrs has not yet cared to explain.

In the USA, lying to the US Congress or Senate is an offence (perjury), for which in theory punishment is severe. Funny. Perjury seems to worry no-one in Beautifool Germanie.

Indeed, since 2020, Olaf Scholz has had to appear before the Hamburg Town Council, known as the Bürgerschaft (2021, 2022), and before the Federal Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry (2020, 2023). As some of these hearings took place behind closed doors, there is doubtless much of which we are unaware.

Be that as it may, and going by a report that appeared on 16th January 2023, Scholz was economical with the truth before the Parliamentary Commission. Minutes of a Commission session held in July 2020, initially kept secret (Why?), have just appeared. Amongst the many inconsistencies, one learns that in July 2020 Scholz was able to bring to mind a conversation with Christian Olearius of Warburg, of which he had, however, lost “all concrete recollection” by September 2020. Cat got his tongue? N’other joke doing the rounds of Lutherania: CumEx Lingus.

At the time of writing, despite the dismal delays and lack of expert investigators, 1500 individuals and 130 banks are being prosecuted at various levels in the CumEx/CumCum affair. Bearing in mind that this is by far the most serious looting operation against the German taxpayer, and one that carried on merrily for over 15years, one can only be bewildered by the German authorities’ forbearance, compared to the unprecedented armed raids conducted by German police, prosecutors and secret service against a gaggle of grey-bearded garden gnomes going by the name of “Reichsbuerger” in December 2022. That said—Rejoice! Retro-engineering the truth, Andromeda Yacht style should pose no problem to Chancellor Scholz.

Mendelssohn Moses is a Paris-based writer.

Is There a “True Islam?”

In his book, Sur l’Islam [On Islam], Rémi Brague gently mocks Pope Francis’ 2013 statement that “true Islam and a proper interpretation of the Koran are opposed to all violence.” “True Islam?” In this fascinating book tinged with caustic humor, striking by its erudition and its clarity, Rémi Brague puts things in their right place: by seeking to apprehend Islam under its different facets, without any positive or negative a priori, he shows that there is no “true Islam” and that it cannot exist because it does not recognize an authoritative magisterium, as it is the case in the Catholic Church. The Islamic terrorist who kills “unbelievers” can claim to be a “true Islam” just as much as the Sufi who is immersed in his meditations.

In order to understand what Islam is, therefore, what the Islamic vision of God and the world is, Brague explores its “fundamentals,” and in particular the Koran, which, since the Mu’tazilite crisis of the ninth century, has been fixed as the uncreated word of God dictated to Muhammad. This essential aspect explains an important part of the Muslim reality. The Koran contains a number of legal provisions, often extremely precise and dealing with daily life in some of its smallest details, making Islam more than a simple religion, “a legislation,” writes Brague—a “religion of the Law.” “In this way,” he continues, “when Islam, as a religion, enters Europe, it does not do so only as a religion…. It enters as a civilization that forms an organic whole and proposes well-defined rules of life.”

In Islam, reason can in no way be the source of the obligation of law, the law comes directly from God, via the Koran itself, the uncreated word of God. And when contradictions arise, they are resolved by the theory of “abrogation” which gives primacy to the most recent Koranic verse, which is always more severe than the previous one—thereby relativizing the more tolerant passages towards Jews and Christians that are usually put forward.

Thus, since there is only God’s law, the concept of natural law is meaningless and there can be, in theory, no common rules for Muslims and “unbelievers.” The consequences of this approach to law, a discipline that dominates all others in Islam, are important, notably through its repercussions on morality and the relativization of principles that we consider universal: what God wants is good; therefore what the Koran requires can only be good, including what Muhammad did, who is the “beautiful example” that God recommends to follow (Koran XXXIII, 21). Thus, murdering, torturing, conquering by the sword, lying (taqiyya), multiplying wives (including very young ones, since Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was only 9 years old)—none of these actions are bad since they were done by the “Prophet”. Of course, no Muslim is obliged to do the same, but at least he can do so without betraying his religion.

Islam and Europe

Another theme on which Brague sets the record straight: the contribution of Islamic civilization (in which Christians, Jews, Sabians and Zoroastrians played a significant role) to Europe in the Middle Ages. Admittedly, the Arab sciences, at that time, were more developed in the Islamic than Christian sphere, but, tempers Brague, “Islam as a religion did not bring much to Europe, and only did so late,” while Western Christianity never completely ceased intellectual exchange with Byzantium, which enabled contact with Greek culture to be maintained, and which Islam in no way sought to assimilate.

For about five centuries, Islam, as it were, interrupted its cultural development and gradually allowed itself to be overtaken and dominated by Europe, causing intense humiliation among many Muslims—this is what Brague calls the “ankylosis” of Islam. Today, if it were not for the manna of oil, the Muslim countries, scientifically and militarily weak, would have no bearing at the international level. Their asset is nevertheless their strong demography, coupled with massive immigration to Europe, which has allowed the installation of vast Muslim communities, financed by the money of black gold. This is another, more patient but undoubtedly more effective way to win and thus take revenge on the past. When will we realize it?

Christophe Geffroy publishes the journal La Nef, through whose kind courtesy we are publishing this article.