Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Like the beleaguered PS, I have reliably radical critics on my left flank: Brent and Mitch. Both castigated yesterday's post for its hostility to M. Mélenchon's "personality" and neglect of his "ideas," which Brent characterized as "ecosocialism." But one doesn't have to put up with--or revel in, as the case may be--Mélenchon's acidulous style to encounter new ideas about sustainable development, innovative energy sources, etc. There's this, for example, from the "social-liberal" Jacques Delors Institute, well to Mélenchon's right.

Both Brent and Mitch seem to be outraged by Hollande's timorous approach to governing, which quickens their taste for something bolder, which they find in Mélenchon. But boldness is cheap when it seeks no compromise and contents itself with standing perpetually in the minority. Ideas may then be merely a camouflage for intransigence. I see in M. Mélenchon's ideas nothing as distinctive as his style or personality, which is why I direct my criticism at these to my mind unfortunate defects rather than praise his undoubted qualities, among them rhetorical mastery, historical acumen, and a readiness to embrace any number of innovations, some of them worth supporting, others not.