LRO 342: “The Murder of Words”


When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender
This I could not do

(Leonard Cohen, The Partisan)

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LRO 342
19th May 2022


The Murder of Words
Deborah Gutermann-Jacquet | Paris, France

In her speech on 22 February in Reims, Marine Le Pen (henceforth referred to as MLP) held forth on her obsession with dispossession and her wish to give French people back their country by making them the custodians of the right to define who can be French and to take it to the people by means of a referendum proposed by popular initiative. This plebiscitary practice, which claims to give significant legislative power to the people, can legitimately give rise to fears that by establishing the street, the crowd­, with such a power of decree, a certain lynch mob mentality could acquire the force of law. In a broadcast on Studio Lacan, Blandine Kriegel showed the excesses and errors of this power given to the crowd in the name of the majority rule, which is what brought Hitler to power. Thus, power in the hands of the people – which is also expressed by MLP in the expression make the French masters of their own house – is not a guarantee of democracy (liberal democracy, at any rate), and even less of the maintenance of the republic’s institutions, which are seen as rivals to this will of the majority. Prioritising referendums over institutions is how the framework of the rule of law is torn apart, and with it, one of the most consequential obstacles to the establishment of a real fascist power, because the state and its institutions are, in fact, the only safeguards left against the fascist threat…… [Read full article]

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