LETTER from PARIS: The Populists are coming!Archive
FOLLOWING the famous Brexit and then the totally unexpected triumph of Donald Trump across the Atlantic, the Europeans are having a hard time getting used to a new expression that is repeatedly hammered down their ears by the media — Populism.
To grasp its real meaning we put the question before Count André de la Roche, a man who keeps his distance from political controversies but still remains a calm and very objective analyst of the intellectual muddle that has the entire European continent in its grip these days.
“Well, it is simple to understand,” he says:
“I don’t have to name them, but once you get to the basics you’ll understand yourself. They are the people who own the Wall Street, most of the banks, more than 80 per cent of the American newspapers, magazines, TV channels and social networks plus the entirety of Hollywood’s movie productions.
“They regularly invent these new terminologies in order to impose a pensée unique on the world and have been very successful doing it for the past 30 years or so.
“If I take pride in the French history, literature and language; in Voltaire, Moliere and Balzac for example, then I am a Populist. But if I turn myself into a defender of the ‘global village’ ideology, I automatically become a normal person because, after all, a human being is essentially a consumer and any indication of civilisation and culture is bad for business.
“To give you another example, among the French education minister’s projects intended to efface all notions of history from the schools, was the introduction of new spellings for a number of words. ‘Vaccination’ would thus become ‘vaxination’ — no need to take pride in its Latin origin vaccinus.
“Happily for France, the socialists are most likely to lose power in the next few months and it is doubtful if the government will dare to carry out this multicultural plastic surgery in such a short period.
“For all apparent reasons, the days of the massive international brainwashing are over and signs are already there that things are changing not only in the UK and the USA but also in Spain, France, Holland, Switzerland and Germany as well as in a number of Scandinavian and East European countries.
“Last Sunday though the Populists narrowly lost the election in Austria to an ecology leader for the mainly ceremonial post of president, in Italy they succeeded in shaking up the entire country by saying ‘no’ through a referendum to pro-European Union constitutional reforms planned by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
“By the way, if you’re opposed to the dictatorship of the European Union’s high and mighty bureaucrats, there is a one-word argument also to ensure your silence. You’re a Europhobe!
“Even if Liberty Party, the Dutch Populist group, fails to win a majority in the legislative elections next March, it is certain to accede to a huge number of seats in parliament, thus creating a tough resistance against the EU bureaucracy. Similarly after the May 2017 presidential election, either the Republican François Fillon or the National Front leader Marine Le Pen will come to power in France. Both have promised to rid the French society of this cerebral rubber-stamping.
“Then you have the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in power since 2005 and the real force behind the European Union. If she is defeated in next October’s legislative elections by the Populist AfD party, that will prove to be the final smash-up for the imperious ideological conformism imposed upon the European people.
“In other words, the Populists are coming fast. This inevitably brings to your mind the famous 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds by a 23-year-old Orson Welles who had created panic in the American cities by his repeated warning: ‘the Martians are coming!’”
—The writer is a journalist based in Paris.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2016