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Michel Houellebecq: Populism's Prophet - Quillette
Houellebecq reasons that the liberalisation of sexual relations, due both to changing societal attitudes and the invention of the birth control pill, have led to widespread sexual inequality; the attractive, more biologically fit elite have more sex than ever, while biological proletarians lead markedly less pleasurable lives, without even the consolation, as in previous eras, of a virtually guaranteed marriage supported by societal institutions. Rather than an isolated phenomenon, Houellebecq sees the sexual marketplace as a natural extension of the competition inherent in the capitalist market system, in which value is assigned to goods, services, and even people, to facilitate trade.

Houellebecq argues that the social structures which maintained Western hegemony by checking the societally harmful excesses of this competition, namely religion and the family unit, have been gradually lost to individualism and the market.
Houellebecq is sceptical that the social stabilising force of Christianity can be called upon anytime soon, and he accepts the decline of religion’s influence over society as a logical consequence of scientific progress.

For Houellebecq, nature is a term that can be used to sanction the most despicable behaviour.
This behaviour may be natural for select human beings, shaped by the right kind of society, but Houellebecq is certain this behaviour is not produced in nature.

humans to create a separate species of asexually reproducing proto-humans, thus freeing the species from the incessant sexual desire and competition that he believes will be the cause of societal collapse.

the old-fashioned institution of marriage did not alter the fact that some were born more physically attractive than others.
the intense pessimism of Houellebecq’s novels often leads one to wonder whether Houellebecq is merely a critic of modern society or, like his idol Schopenhauer, of life in general.

Houellebecq’s view of human nature implies that even if income inequality were reduced, human vanity would find other ways of using choice and taste to perpetuate differences. Natural competition, as a function of unchecked individualism, would continue to dominate, and we would still be left with an inequality of lived experience.

decisions we make in our personal lives, such as where we study, whom we marry and where we live, have an effect on public life and contribute to this inequality in lived experience.
Individually reflecting on the broader consequences of one’s actions, doing one’s best to be humble about the advantages one possesses, and having a genuine compassion for the suffering and insecurities of others may sound banal, but these points are also rarely discussed—possibly because they place a responsibility on all individuals, especially the most privileged among us.
from:rss  français  writer  populism  inequality  society  sex 
september 2019 by aries1988
陈纯:举报、粉红狂潮,与体制外的极权主义|逃犯条例|深度|端传媒 Initium Media

在后天安门时代,国家对于日益增长的超越性精神需求有一个妥协,它默许各种“整全性学说”在不危害主流价值(“爱国”、“发展”和“稳定”)的前提下默默存在——自由主义、基督教、儒家、女权主义……但2012年以后,这种默契就被打破了。当局惧怕这个国家的人民通过一种和它的组织和宣传无关的方式联结起来,所以对于一切整全性学说一概打压,包括原初意义上的马克思主义。也就是说,当局不让任何一种整全性学说获得真正意义上的传播,而它自己也不能提供一套有吸引力的整全性学说(如古代的儒家和毛时代的共产主义),这相当于将所有国民硬生生抛入一种“强制性的虚无主义”之中。而稳定的“强制的虚无主义”不是一种可以长久维持的状态,它要么走向一种健康的“合理多元主义”,要么走向一种“虚无主义狂热”。走向前者就要允许各种整全性学说和各种组织自由发展,很显然,这条路现在是根本不可能的。

让人感到恐惧的是,就我和朋友最近的遭遇来看,“废青”的外延已经在扩大,包括了所有同情香港示威者的大陆人,进一步地,所有曾经对中国共产党提出过批评的大陆公民,也要成为打击对象。
2019  opinion  hongkong  ccp  populism  extremist  patriotism  fandom  story  police  youth  peer  violence  explained 
september 2019 by aries1988
好文!旅法30多年翻译详述法国目前社会动乱“黄马甲运动”及法国的现状!

欧盟为各国制定的未来发展方向是: 法国和意大利是专门旅游国, 西班牙和葡萄牙种菜和水果, 德国荷兰丹麦养猪牛, 波兰种粮食; 东欧各小国按人口总额交纳的欧共体分摊金少, 但领取的补助因货币比值差距大而实际受益最多。

俄和前南诸国向西欧贩卖军火, 大量投资滨海房产, 黑社会势力强大, 东欧的蛇头、娼妓、少年惯偷群, 波兰的长途运输业+电工和建筑工, 北非转来的毒品, 大量新老移民轻易获得法国(和西欧其他各国) 经过历史长期斗争而获得的社会福利, 诸多头疼问题导致各国极右翼迅速发展。

美中俄的威胁

法国的税项门类和总额, 被"世界经济发展与合作组织"排名为欧洲最高额国家之一(丹麦第一, 德国第二, 法国第三)。 在至少十多种赋税和社会分摊金以及行业分摊金中, 增值税 1° 收益最大, 其次是社会保险税 2°, 然后依次为: 收入所得税 3°, 公司所得税 4°, 土地税 5°, 居住税 6°, 烟草税 7°, 社会奉献普及税 8° (法文缩写CSG), 以及颇有争议的 巨富团结税 9° (法文缩写 ISF)。

该税始创于1791年大革命时期, 1953年以法律形式正式确定。 几十年来, 法国所有城镇的基建和福利费用所需: 道路修缮, 垃圾清理, 街心花园, 体育中心, 图书馆, 幼儿园, 中小学交通和食堂等, 全指靠国家对此税收的反还款。

跟世界各地的都市布局和建筑艺术相比, 看来看去, 总觉得法国别具一格: 建筑群内临近楼房的风格一致,建筑物本身的外貌与内部功能一致, 内部装饰物的质地和颜色格调一致, 当时利用与未来的长远发展一致, 一句话, 各个市镇的规划设计, 体现出法国人对美的欣赏水平, 整体上高于其他国家。这正如法国人的穿衣习惯,当今世界生活普遍以务实为主, 不管出身是何层次, 穿着是否品牌, 法国人都注意上衣下裤鞋袜的式样搭配和颜色协调。 跟生活水平差距并不大的南欧北欧和德国相比, 法国人的这一点比较突出, 从旅游团的穿戴就能断定是否来自法国。

** 美国飞机向法国空投了3000台钢琴, 几万份爵士乐谱, 意在传播美国生活方式。

左翼上台后根据他们对"社会主义"理念的理解, 实施人人平等, 全民自由, 对犯罪分子从轻判决, 相信他们能自身改造思想, 实际是放纵坏人罪人。 他们主张"不要隔绝罪犯, 使他们远离生活现实, 不利出狱后再融入社会"。 这种对一小撮人的自由, 势必造成社会紊乱, 人身安全无保障, 更谈不上全民自由! 法国的传统左派应当对此负主要责任。

1986年6月我来到法国, 那时社会比现在稳定, 在"巴黎高等翻译学校"上课, 有时晚上11点乘公交车返回郊区住处, 毫无安全问题; 物价呢, 过去50法朗(折合现在7欧元)能买很多东西, 可现在100欧元(折合过去700法朗) 却买不到啥。 由此可见法国的物价涨幅, 人民的普遍购买力和生活水平下降多大, 我深有体会, 所以同情支持。

有位法国老知识分子曾对我说, 美国人称呼新闻媒介为"第四权力" (西方是"三权"鼎立), 此次法国的"黄马甲"运动, 我深有感触。
The derivation of the term fourth estate arises from the traditional European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The equivalent term fourth power is somewhat uncommon in English but is used in many European languages (see: es:Cuarto poder and fr:Quatrième pouvoir, for example) referring to the separation of powers in government into a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary.
analysis  france  anecdote  stereotype  media  2018  question  future  crisis  populism  history  français 
december 2018 by aries1988
Peace and prosperity: it is worth saving the liberal order
The system established after 1945 was built on US power. But it endured and, after the end of the cold war, expanded because US leadership was embedded in multilateral rules and institutions. Everyone had a stake. Washington sometimes over-reached — in Vietnam or with the invasion of Iraq. By history’s standards, however, the Pax Americana was essentially benign, resting as much on the force of example as military might.
history  uk  world  order  crisis  challenge  china  populism  brexit  nostalgia  immigration  society  politics 
february 2017 by aries1988
Sometimes the People Need to Call the Experts

The government about to take over in Washington has more billionaires than the Boston of Buckley’s time, but it seems willing to test the theory that academics can be dispensed with for the most part.

experts. They understand the importance of applying expertise to complex problems, and they realize many issues do not respond well to common-sense fixes. The citizenry usually cannot make good decisions, or for that matter expert appointments, when technocracy is required.

Very few citizens understand such basic concepts as how inflation rates are calculated, the differences between real and nominal rates of interest, or how the shadow banking system is supposed to work, much less tripartite repurchase agreements or the Basel capital standards. The complexities increase every year, and it is no accident that the last two Fed chairs have been drawn from the highest ranks of academic economists.

each stands a chance of being right in some particular circumstances, and the populist approach doesn’t have any way to differentiate. For that you have to call in someone who specializes in monetary economics, a field with many counterintuitive conclusions.

There is a time and place for populist sentiment, but an excess can be counterproductive on its own terms. As expertise is pushed out the door, the citizenry itself gets a bad name, precisely when we most need it to step up to the plate and demand some excellence.
intelligentsia  mao  government  usa  public  opinion  expert  choice  populism  instapaper_favs 
january 2017 by aries1988
We deride chances of Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump at our peril
Economic insecurity has been supplemented by a sense of social instability, linked to rising immigration. The influx of Hispanics into the US a of Muslims into western Europe has allowed the Trumps and Le Pens to argue that feckless elites have allowed fundamental social changes to take place without consulting ordinary people.

The late senator Daniel Moynihan said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” In the age of social media, that is no longer true. For the likes of Mr Trump, Ms Le Pen and Mr Putin, anything can be labelled “true”. In this climate, against a backdrop of economic, social and physical insecurity, extremism flourishes.
2015  politics  populism  world  usa  france 
december 2015 by aries1988

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