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French Conservatives

·696 words·4 mins·

French Conservatives

I’ve wanted to write this for a while: France can be extremely conservative. I’m not referencing conservative parties on the right, but the culture as a whole. This, amusingly enough, includes communists and socialists. You would think that it wouldn’t, but it absolutely does. And this election, once again, shows exactly what I mean.

But first, let’s saunter back a few years in history to make my point: Back when the gilets jaunes were all over the news, they were blocking traffic everywhere - including shutting down the metro. And, of course, they would protest at Place de la République. I had an argument with a few of their supporters asking why they are doing that. Why, when they really want the elites to change the system, are they fucking over the little guy? After all, I take the metro, but the elites don’t. Blocking the metro isn’t going to send a personal message to anyone other than the people who can’t change the system. I, personally, nor anyone else I know who takes the metro, can possibly change the laws of the country.

I offered a solution to them to not bother the person in the street: Why don’t you block all of the traffic around Le palais de l’Élysée? The people you want to confront are all there. They’re the ones who can change the laws.

Everyone I suggested this to was aghast. Quite literally. They couldn’t wrap their heads around it - including even some literal communists I talked to. Their response was, quite literally, “We’ve always done it this way. We’ve always protested at République.” Even the most die-hard “revolutionaries” among them could not envision a solution which would change the status quo since (quite literally) 1789. It simply was not something they could ever consider.

This, naturally, is just a single anecdotal reference to my claim: French society is very conservative. It may come across as progressive from time to time, but it really, fundamentally, isn’t.

For instance: in this latest round of elections, the left is quite literally using the exact same stances on issues that they were back in the good old days of communism. They’ve never changed. Ever. Not once. In Britain and the U.S.A., the Democrats have re-invented themselves a few times over (most famously during the Clinton/Blair years). The left has never re-invented itself in France. If you talk to the guys who run it, they’ve been saying the exact same thing since the last 6o or 70 years.

I’m not saying that it’s necessary to re-invent something all of the time if it works, but we know that their vision doesn’t work. It’s been tested - many times - and it hasn’t worked. However, they can’t imagine ever changing it, even if it means getting more votes and actually getting some things done. They’re a bit like MAGA in a way.

I’m not saying that the right here is much better. However, they are trying to re-invent themselves - most notably to get the stench of Nazism off of their party (it isn’t working very well). Granted, when your party was literally founded by a Nazi collaborator with Nazi-views, it’s a bit hard to change the minds of people that you suddenly mean well because you put a new face on it.

All in all, French politics hasn’t changed, except for one instance: Emmanuel Macron. His centrist party was really the first breath of fresh air that France has had in the last century. But it hasn’t worked. Why? Because any change to the system is deemed as too unsavory to stomach.

So now, we’re back to voting for a side which was quite literally founded by a Nazi collaborator (which is now very keen on telling everyone they don’t like the antisemitism on the left), and a side which makes the communists in the Soviet era look like Republicans.

It’s a complete and utter disaster.

One of the worst things that ever happened to this country, in the end, was the Revolution. It’s still there, still marching in the streets, and it’s unwilling to change from what it was in 1789.