Sunday, April 08, 2007

Abandon All Hope, All Ye Who Are Born Here

This is the news message of the French TV media’s favorite candidate for the French presidential election. Yes, you heard me: not “I’m gonna give you a better place to live in,” not “I’ll solve all your problems in no time,” not “I’m the best of them all.” No.

Abandon all hope.

You are born with a destiny. With a fate you can only bow down to.

Pre-destination. It’s another word for determinism, an obsolete concept according to which we are born with flaws and qualities, with deficiencies, and that’s it. It claims that nothing we can do, nothing our parents, the society we live in can do, will change them. It claims that we cannot make our own choices, we are prey to the material that shaped us at birth. It claims that those of us who become criminals aren't shaped, even in part, by the events of their lives, by the family they were raised into, by the society they live in. It claims that everything is said and done at birth.


Ah, genes. They’re everywhere these days. Gene therapy, hope. Genetic heirloom, threat. Eugenics, nostalgia of fascism and Nazism. It seems that Nicolas Sarkozy is well on the way to falling headlong into that particular pit. A few days ago, in an interview for a philosophy magazine, Mr. Sarkozy argued—twice—that in his opinion, pedophiles are born pedophiles. People with suicidal tendencies are born with suicidal tendencies. Several times he was asked to confirm that opinion, he was asked whether he didn’t think that society, family, the whole environment of the individual couldn’t account for a great part into people turning out the way they do.

But Mr. Sarkozy confirmed, time and again: pedophiles are born pedophiles. People with suicidal tendencies are born so.

This whole interview reveals something dreadful, beyond its message of hopelessness and deresponsibilisation, beyond the unbearable message that claims that we are not free to be who and what we want to be: the nauseating stench of eugenics, of the most repellant aspects of the far-right ideology. If people are born this way, then there is nothing to be done for them. No amount of education, of help, of discipline, of punishment will change what they are. “They cannot help the way they’re born.”

From thereon, the tune is well known. Since nothing can cure those who are born that way, the only thing you can do, at first, is to keep them away. Reject them. Wall them out of society. There’s no need to look for a cause, to question ourselves, to question the way we live, the society we live in, the society we’ve built. We aren’t part of the problem, nobody else but those people are part of the problem. They, and they alone. So, first off, wall the away. Then, really, when the healthy portion of society has had time to ponder the equation, get rid of the problem. Eradicate the defects. Eradicate them from the gene pool.

“They’re born that way.” How easy it is, to wipe difficult, terrible questions and problem away. How easy it is, to shy away from responsibility, from staring at the ugliness that humanity can spawn full in the face. Of course, it’s a very American thing to do. The American school of psychiatry aims to reduce everything to biological problems, to chemical unbalances, thereby turning a blind eye on all the outside elements that cause and trigger depression, and a great many mental health problems. Of course, it’s easy to understand why, when you take a look at the way the US’ society works. It’s easy to see why it’d be helpful to have “science” tell us that our problems stem from our genes, from our biology, thus denying all the harm society, our environment, the blows we take in our lives, the more so when we have no perspective, no social security net to sustain us when the weather gets stormy,

Far more than negating the most basic principles of self-determination and the ability for people to make and lead their own lives, far more than simply bowing down to the US’ way of thinking as is his wont, Nicolas Sarkozy is once again pitting people against each other.

Black and white.

Good and bad.

And this time, he’s telling us that the bad as born bad, and will stay that way. That there is no solution to be found, no question to be asked. That we can do nothing, but protect ourselves. Oh, he’s not there yet. No, no. First, he must rise in power. Be elected. But watch out for him. Once he’s there, the natural sequel of his reasoning will unfailingly follow: if people are born hideous criminals and monsters such as pedophiles, if there is nothing to do about this, then what other way out than to wall them away? What other way out than to build camps? To eradicate the threat, from the gene pool first, and then from society altogether?

But…Mr. Sarkozy, what is the gene that says someone is born a pedophile? What is the gene that says someone is born a delinquent? What is the gene that says someone is born depressive with suicidal tendencies?

Ah, you do not know.

But… Ah, it doesn’t matter, you are convinced that people are born pedophiles or heterosexual or depressive with suicidal tendencies.

And, tell us again, Mr. Sarkozy, what is the solution to those terrible problems, if that is so? Ah, you do not say. Yet.

Today, I’ve read at least ten times the interview where Nicolas Sarkozy happily spews out an argument that places him close to the worst of far-right leaders. Ten times, I’ve been wondering how a man who is making a bid for the French presidency has the gall to utter such heinous nonsense, and how he can get away with it. Had it been any other candidate, it would be all over the TV media, but as it is…nothing.

Nothing at all.

Not even a blink on French TV news. Oh, Belgian TV did mention the scandal, but the French TV networks are unexplainably keeping silent. Of course, the fact that Nicolas Sarkozy’s arm is a far-reaching one, and that he has ties with most of the owners of private TV channels, not to mention connections within public TV channels. If one wants to hear about this, one must get on the internet, read the newspapers, read blogs, and fish out the information the general media doesn’t want the people to see.

And again, Nicolas Sarkozy has shown his true colors: that of a dangerous, out of control autocrat who will stop at nothing, who will embrace far-right theories and more. he has shown that he isn’t worthy to become France’s president. Worse, that he’s not worthy to be a candidate in this election.

I can only hope, that people will hear of this latest derailing, and beware.


Boz said...

Sarkozy has taken some criticism for the remarks, even from far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen. One can only hope that he was rambling, and not expressing a deep belief.


Fuu-chan said...

It's funny, in a horrible sort of way, to see JM Le Pen on the "right" side of the fence in this instance.
As you say, one can always hope, but I've heard enough deeply troubling things from Mr Sarkozy to know that he's a man I never want to see elected.