Thursday, June 5, 2008

You Say Tomato, I Say Liberal

Pierre Moscovici has some sport with Ségolène Royal, who responded to Delanoë's raising of the "liberal socialist" banner by saying that it was impossible to be both socialist and liberal. But she had previously written in her book Maintenant: "Nous, socialistes, nous sommes des libéraux au sens du libéralisme politique originel."

And so the Socialists continue in their petty squabbles. If they really want to see full-blown liberalism in the European sense, they of course need to turn their attention to the United States (where the word is used differently, but the thing itself flourishes). A case in point (via Marginal Revolution):

A small number of California jails have begun to offer pay to stay programs. These programs allow inmates in for minor crimes to "upgrade" to a private or public jail with better facilities. Evidently the fees are profitable to the jails. Take a look at how Santa Ana county advertises it's hotel jail.

The Santa Ana Jail is pleased to host a full range of alternatives to traditional incarceration. Our offerings include weekends in jail, non-linear jail sentences, and a variety of work release options. Our philosophy is designed to allow our clients (!, AT) to serve their obligations to the court in a manner that respects them as human beings and permits them to continue to provide for themselves and their families....

  • Programs that include 2-day or 3-day weekends with minimal impact on the client’s professional life. Work on Saturday and Sunday? No problem...
  • Programs that permit jail sentences to be served in multiple parts. Perfect for clients that live out of the area or clients with frequent business travel.
  • Programs that permit the client to leave jail for work everyday. We have helped everyone from 9 to 5 business people to oil-rig workers, so no work schedule is out of the question.

The Santa Ana Jail is the most modern and comfortable facility in the region. Our housing areas are a world away from cement and steel bars....

Most clients can be approved immediately, over the phone. We can also provide same-day acceptance letters for the court.


Anonymous said...

My understanding of the "debate" is that Ségolène does not agree with the use of the word "Liberal" as a flag or standard for the socialists.
Just imagine going the heart of France where people are not enjoying the wealth of globalization but only burden, and say : "Je suis un liberal", you'll end-up "dans le goudron et les plumes" :- )

Also, in the very same book Maintenant she wrote :
(...) Mais si vous entendez par libéralisme cette conception de l'économie, je dirais même ce dogme ou cette idéologie, qui confie aux marchés, et aux marchés seulement, la régulation des sociétés, alors, oui, je pense que le libéralisme est l'ennemi de la justice sociale."

Thanks for you Californian example !

Anonymous said...

So, Richard, you're saying Ségolene admits to "liberalism" as a philosophy but not as an unregulated economic system; that Delanoë does not either but wants to use the term as a way to brand himself.
Thus are we learning that the French are discovering "political branding".

I heard that Delanoë was gleeful because he had "started a debate of ideas". A pointless intellectual discussion, perhaps. But not one that brings forth any solution or even concerns the French very much.

One must admit that when Royal - no matter how oddball and how much she goofed - decided to break leftist taboos and caused an uproar on the left for bringing up the issue of national identity as a "mix", at least she had a point. Here, I fail to see what anyone gains from the debate.

MYOS said...

Delanoe made an appearance on TF1 last week. It did not generate much buzz here. Art, I must say I laughed out aloud when I heard a (non-socialist and, apparently, non liberal) woman I know say angrily "et puis quoi encore, libéral et socialiste, mais c'est incompatible!!!!" Turns out that for her the PS spends taxes on "services publics" whereas "les libéraux" want no services publics whatsoever, only private everything (private hospitals, private schools). Hence the "incompatibility" in her mind.

Presumably Parisians are more likely to understand "liberalism" as Delanoë wants them to. I hope so for him, because where I live it hardly made a wrinkle and the debate (however *not* long-lasting) was overwhelmingly hostile to Delanoe’s claim.

RichardTrois, the term you’re looking for is ‘tarred and feathered”.
While I doubt Delanoe would suffer such a fate, I think his word was ill-chosen in terms of publicity.
His sentence “Je suis libéral ET socialiste” has definitively been construed as “I want to merge with Bayrou” or some such.
In short, he reminded people on the left of “mon programme n’est pas socialiste” and that’s about it. Not the smartest move, but there’s still a lot of time. Socialists are funny to observe in that way. ☺

As for Moscovici, as you say Art, he's poking fun.
And...? Looking forward to something a bit more useful from the man. Well, now we know he can get a page in Libération even if he’s got nothing to say…