Friday, October 3, 2008

Will France ever abandon its Socialistic dream?

France and much of the EU has had to rethink itself because of the failure of Russian Socialism. After the Vichy, France embraced Socialism and was especially attracted to the USSR as the embodiment of the Socialistic ideal. They put the best light on everything the USSR did. But with successive Communist failures and abuses, the French admiration of the USSR weakened. There was a crisis in this regard in the sixties and all, but the most dedicated Communist diehards, abandoned all regard for the USSR after its fall in 1989. France connects Socialism with the USSR, and other Western European nations do as well.

While the ideals popularized by Marx and Lenin are widely known and, especially in France, are much admired, but no Socialistic government has been a success. Most collapsed in a relatively short period of time. The few holdouts such as Cuba and North Korea, are relics and not successes by anyone’s standards. Some Middle Eastern nations such as Syria claim to be Socialistic, but it would be difficult to hold them up as successes. Still, many in France cling to socialistic ideals. The cradle to the grave Welfare State is Socialism-Lite.

In France Luc Ferry and Alain Renault’s French Philosophy of the Sixties fell like a bombshell in 1985: In the preface we read: “For what is now in fact forty years, two critiques of the democratic world have always been competing: the Marxist one, conducted in the name of an ideal future, and the Heideggerian one, depending more openly on traditions dating from before the advent of the modern world (for example, on the Greeks). Since the (recent) collapse of the Marxist dream of a radiant future, it is the neoconservative critique of the Heideggerian type that is in turn being politically compromised. That the two major critiques of modern humanism have been linked with totalitarian adventures is most significant; Whether conducted in the name of a radiant future or a traditionalist reaction, the total critique of the modern world, because it is necessarily an antihumanism that leads inevitably to seeing in the democratic project, for example in human rights, the prototype of ideology or of the metaphysical illusion, is structurally incapable of taking up, except insincerely and seemingly in spite of itself, the promises that are also those of modernity. . .”

A host of books have followed Luc Ferry and Alain Renault’s lead and some believe Liberal-Democracy may be making a comeback in France and other parts of Europe. Many were purported to have turned away from Heidegger as well as Marx and Lenin; however, I haven’t read anything recently that would make me sanguine about France giving up its Socialistic dreams.

Lawrence Helm

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