Forty Years that Unmade France.


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Mr. Zemmour argues that four quite different developments in the 1970-1972 period set the stage for ongoing France’s suicide. The first was a 1970 law that abolished paternal authority within the family in favor of “parental authority” shared between spouses. Fathers, in Mr. Zemmour’s words:

incarnate the law and the reality principle as against the pleasure principle. They channel and curb children’s impulses in order to sublimate them. [But] fathers are an artificial, cultural creation who need society’s support to overcome natural maternal power.

In 1970, they lost that support. Mr. Zemour also believes that giving the mother equal power in the household pushed France decisively away from saving and towards consumption.

The second crucial development was a 1971 decision by the Constitutional Council, which has the power to declare laws unconstitutional. This was a complex case, but was the first time the Council went beyond checking laws for conformity with a higher legal norm and censured a law politically because of its content. Thus did France, in Mr. Zemmour’s words, “unknowingly abandon the shores of the Republic and enter with eyes closed upon the bumpy road of government by judges.” Americans are all too familiar with judges who seize legislative authority.

The third blow came in 1971 when President Nixon abolished the gold standard. This effectively nullified the Bretton Woods Agreement to which France was a signatory, and ushered in our current era of free-floating fiat currencies. Freed from the constraints of the gold standard, governments no longer worry about deficits. France has not had a balanced budget since 1981.

The fourth and final blow of this period was the so-called Pleven Law of 1972 (Socialists pushed it, but it is named after the Gaullist minister who adopted it), prohibiting “provocation to discrimination, hatred or violence” against persons or groups “on the grounds of their origin or their membership or non-membership in a particular ethnic group, nation, race or religion.” Passed unanimously amid much self-congratulation, this law, in Mr. Zemmour’s words, “introduces subjectivity where objectivity had prevailed; it condemns intentions and not acts; it gives judges the right and the duty to probe into people’s hearts and souls, to dig up thoughts and ulterior motives.”

The author emphasizes the significance of including “nation” among the protected categories. President Georges Pompidou was at that time bringing literally millions of foreign workers into France at the behest of the construction and automobile industries, and the Pleven law meant that no one could criticize their presence.

As Mr. Zemmour points out, the very concept of a nation requires discrimination—a determination that some people are “us,” while the rest are “not us.” Taken literally, a prohibition against making this distinction is incompatible with the continued existence of France, and in practice, the law is used to silence criticism of demographic displacement. As Mr. Zemmour has discovered, even citing verifiable facts can lead to a conviction.

(American Renaissance, November 14, 2014).

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