Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thin line between facts and Fascism

We're four days away from the first round of the French presidential elections. Since I'm not French, I won't be voting, but I have my personal aspirations and apprehensions. I would like to see a great victory for the Centrist François Bayrou, rather than the lightweight Socialist Ségolène Royal, because he appears to envisage French politics in a new light, without the eternal split between the Left and the Right. My vital hope, above all, is for the massive defeat of the Extreme Right of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

For the moment, the super favorite would appear to be Nicolas Sarkozy. I can understand this preference in the sense that many people would like to see France governed by a ferocious little bull terrier, which is exactly the image of Sarkozy. The possibility of a resurgence of Islamic terrorism in nearby Algeria promotes the case of a strongman such as Sarkozy, who doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to pointing a finger at societal outlaws, designated spontaneously as scum in need of Karcher-style cleansing.

In a recent interview with a philosopher, Sarkozy dropped an intellectual bombshell that was picked up immediately by everybody. First, in speaking of pedophiles, Sarkozy said: "One is born a pedophile. Besides, it's a problem in that we don't know how to handle this pathology." Then the pit bull turned to an adjacent subject: adolescent suicides. Here are the words of Sarkozy (my translation): "Some 1200 to 1300 young people commit suicide every year in France. They did so, not because their parents weren't taking care of them, but because they were genetically fragile, victims of a precursory pain." Programmed genetically to die. This is strong language, which brings to mind the terrible theme of eugenics.

Today, few people remember the unexpected but profound collaboration between the French Nobel prize-winner Alexis Carrell [1873-1944] and his young disciple, the American aviator Charles Lindbergh [1902-1974]. Carrell was a believer in eugenics: the science and potential technology of breeding humans like stud cattle. Hitler, among others, was fond of this theme.

Nicolas Sarkozy is a smart guy, and he knows where to stop, before going too far. He's perfectly aware (I hope) of the thin line that separates facts from Fascism.

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