a very gloomy picture – Protestant Perspectives

Reconciliation of confectioners? All joking aside: the Sud-Rail union is threatening to extend the strike at SNCF next weekend, the pension reform project is protesting all representative unions and, in most of the disagreements, there is talk of possible power cuts. It’s more elegant to call it “dumping” – after all, it feeds bad feelings and rumors.

We would add that the war in Ukraine continues, but you will see that we are exaggerating, that Protestantism and pessimism do not go well with each other, that it is not ridiculous to hold out hope as December 25 approaches. Very Good. But doesn’t the political and social situation call our compatriots to be cautious? To find out, we interviewed historian Christian Delacroix, co-author with Michel Zancarini-Fournel of La France du tempspresent, the latest volume of the massive French history published in folio, edited by Joël Cornette.

The social question, which is too often considered secondary, even subordinate, reveals more than public debate might suggest. Although our social system remains one of the most favorable systems for redistributing wealth, it is increasingly seen as a machine for creating inequalities. Since then, the social issue has occupied the political sphere:

“Often calm, sometimes spectacular – we saw this during the movement of the yellow vests – the French remind political leaders of their visceral attachment to the notion of a protective welfare state, observes Christian Delacroix. The destruction of this state awakens in them a sense of social insecurity, creates violence that political leaders are not always able to respond to. A number of social actions, even social microreactions, can be associated with this mutation. So we can identify this social dynamic at work behind the parliamentary game, anger at the inability of elected officials to change the course of events. Under these conditions, the exercise of power (and even counter-power) becomes more and more difficult.

Talk about a big bummer? I’m not sure. The normalization of the extreme right continues. The election of Eric Ciotti as head of Les Republicains on a program partially outside of Marine Le Pen’s shows this. The dominance of La France Insoumise on the left reflects the same trend of radicalism.

The fall of the two major parties, the right-wing contender and the socialist left, does not prevent the end of Emmanuel Macron’s desired surplus., believes Christian Delacroix. The “at the same time” rhetoric is no longer effective. The majority does not have an absolute majority, the government pushes the machine forward 49.3, but everyone wonders how long it can last. The left-right division is re-established in other, unprecedented forms. »

The concept of “democratic exhaustion” is perhaps relevant. However, since political nature also hates a vacuum, one can fear the emergence of authoritarian power and the seizure of power by non-republican parties.

Personality change

“Some political thinkers speak of authoritarian liberalism,” notes Christian Delacroix. Weak and strong, strong and weak, political power swam with the flow without losing its interest. However, Emmanuel Macron’s “at all costs” approach has surprised many French people and responded… »

Identity change continues to poison public discourse today. A dream invites itself to the table as much as quarrels or fears. For Christian Delacroix, social conflict is reframed by what he calls the racial question.

“We see tensions in identity,” he notes. However, it seems to me that it is dangerous to isolate this topic from the social issue, because then we allow ourselves to go to extremes. Some of our compatriots describe the 1905 law as a weapon against the French Muslims whom they tried to convert to their faith.. Jean Baubérot has repeatedly condemned the transformation of peace law into a religion of civil identity. »

However, it should be noted that this analysis is debated even among Protestants.

The future of the planet also creates numerous public contests – or personal: in which house has there not already been a dispute over this question? “This is a serious matter that deserves more reasons,” Christian Delacroix believes. Instead of promising a transition energya statement that is not matched by anything since it has never been observed in history, political leaders must adopt rational management of practices and projects.

The return of war in Europe adds an element of uncertainty to this very bleak picture.

“The conflict between Ukraine and Russia started in Donbass in 2014, recalls Christian Delacroix. But it did not arouse general awareness. This time, everyone sees that the war is at our door. This event forces us to rebuild our relationship with time, to rethink today from a long-term perspective. »

For the historian, of course, there is something like a restored function here: the function of educating his contemporaries. But with humility.

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