The idea that the political designations Right and Left as being obsolete is one of the cornerstones of the Neo-Liberal Dispensation. The in-order-to of Buruma’s intellectual mendacity is to pose his conjecture in the interrogative. All of this with the proper historically plausible garnish: in sum the Left is obsolete, Jeremy Corbyn is a throwback to the 1970’s: the endlessly repeated Party Line of The Economist and The Financial Times, if they don’t picture Corbyn as the natural inheritor of the Bolsheviks. The Neo-Liberalism of Blair and Bill Clinton is ascendant, which translated into economic/political catastrophe.
The idea of the transcendence of those two political categories, as obsolete, has infected the whole of Western Political Discourse. We live in the watershed of the Economic Collapse of 2008. Where is the myth of the Self-correcting Market? Another cornerstone of Neo-Liberal myth-making? The cumulative wisdom of Occupy Wall Street provides an arresting political metaphor: we live in the Age of the 99% vs. the 1%. We need, in World Politics, a series of FDR’s of ‘I welcome your hatred’ instead we get Hillary Clinton and Emmanuel Macron.
Mr. Buruma is a respectable bourgeois intellectual, just the latest in a long line of thinkers/political activists to repeat the canard of Neo-Liberal Political Theology, as a truism of the political present. All in advocacy/defense of the Neo-Liberal Lite Macron. In sum, Macron transcends political categorization, in the intellectual mirage of that Neo-Liberal huckstering. The man without a Party will govern how? Macron voters chose ‘the lesser of two evils’ a subject that Buruma carefully avoids. Speed and Shock Fillon received almost 20% of the vote, as did Mélenchon, so the very outline of the premature Macron Triumphalism is another manufactured mythology of the political present. And Mr. Buruma just another ‘fellow traveler’ in the parade of the bankruptcy of ‘public intellectuals’ who surrendered their critical faculties to the imperative of political conformity. As the reader can tell I’ve run out of patience with intellectual hacks!
But never fear, like the respectable bourgeois intellectual, he hedges his bets in his final paragraph:
While France has dodged the xenophobic bullet this time, the dust has not yet settled. Left and right may be in flux, but the old divisions that emerged after 1789 are still there, perhaps more than ever. Macron is full of good intentions. But if his politics fail, the latter-day anti-Dreyfusards will be back with a vengeance.