A Liberal Napoleon? - Liberal Resistance

A Liberal Napoleon?

There is an interesting, if at times disturbing article on The Week’s site. In What American liberals could learn from France's neo-Bonaparte, Matthew Walther argues that progressives need to learn from France’s president Macron, specifically, he says, we should copy his “his ability to put a neo-Bonapartist ideology — the improving, totalizing but intensely personal vision of the emperor — in service of neoliberal centrism. Like his great predecessor, Macron believes that ‘The people must not be counted upon’ and that ‘a proper direction must be given to them, and proper instruments employed to effect it.’ This is why it does not matter to him in the slightest that lower-middle-class workers disagree with him about climate change and burn cars in the street to protest his fuel taxes. ‘I am a monarch of God's creation, and you reptiles of the earth dare not oppose me.’”


Walther’s point is that if we are ever going to beat Trump and his supporters, we’re going to have to take some pretty tough measures, including disregarding their wants, no matter how un-democratic that might seem. Thus he says, “If American liberalism hopes to survive the populisms of the right and the left alike, it must fearlessly adopt the imperial style...Hillary Clinton's comments about ‘deplorables’ were the beginning of a process that liberals should hope to see culminate in the disenfranchisement of the ‘red’ states, perhaps via the disestablishment of the Electoral College.”


This all pretty spooky, and you have to wonder just how serious Walther is. Still, he might have a point. In age that seems to be abandoning democracy, maybe some sort of kindler, gentler Bonapartism is the best we can hope for.