Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oy, oy, oy!

A new polemic has erupted over the pseudo-question of "Who decontaminated the Front National?" That is the title of an article in Le Nouvel Obs, which accuses Alain Finkielkraut, Élisabeth Lévy, Philippe Cohen, Éric Zemmour, and Ivan Rioufiol. I won't detain you with the arguments of the attackers or the counterarguments of the attacked. This food fight is a règlement de comptes in the worst Parisian style and a distraction from the far more pressing questions of the hour: To what segments of the population is the appeal of the revamped FN most attractive? What sorts of arguments might counter the growing FN influence? Why have the major parties failed to respond to the discontent indicated by these shifts? Can they do so without betraying their core values? Will they resist the temptation to take the low road? If Le Nouvel Obs wanted to do the country a service, it would send its reporters out into the field to talk to new FN recruits rather than clip the columns of its competitors and scour them for points of coincidence with some aspect of FN discourse.

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