FIGAROVOX / ANALYSIS - According to the Cevipof barometers, less than 10% of the French are totally indifferent to politics, but correlatively they send him a feeling of mistrust. Paul-François Schira analyzes the causes of this paradox.
Paul-François Schira is a senior official and lecturer at Sciences-Po.
Do the French lose interest in their country?
On the one hand, the barometers of confidence held by the Cevipof consistently include "mistrust, disgust and boredom" in the feelings the French feel for politics. The end of this great electoral year confirms this disengagement: rate of adhesion to traditional parties at half-mast, inability of the ruling party, In March !, to federate a militant base in the long term, all this within the framework of a steady decline participation rates in the political elections of this country.
On the other hand, the same barometers note that only less than 10% of French people are not interested in politics at all. We must see the crowds thronging Heritage Days, or the craze generated by works drawn from national history and geography! Huge thirst for transmission, belonging.
Where does this paradox come from?
It may be, at first glance, the political scene that has grieved us, with its opportunist actors playing their scales to reap the applause of the media. "Business", of course, does not help things. We are discouraged by the egocentric behavior of these politicians, 90% of the French believe they do not care at all what citizens think.
But since man has always been a man, a mixture of sublime and petty, attracted by covetousness as much as by nobility to power, why does this unhealthy personalization of politics seem to us to be accentuated today?
Perhaps, as a second approach, because the spectacle of personal ambitions fills a void: that of thought and common action.
The emptiness of thought and common action takes the form of a reasonable discourse. This discourse transforms into political ends the certainties that are of the order of means. It seems to indicate that the love of our country is not worth much in the "real life", that of the "complexity of a globalized world in full change". These changes - globalization, innovation, competition, financial or migratory flows - are posited as inescapable, unambiguous and irresistible; If it is up to the politicians to organize them effectively, they give up to the more or less talented individuals the task of giving them a meaning, or of being crushed by them - with a few allowances.
Politics then becomes the prerogative of a few technicians, and is reduced to mere entertainment "people" with respect to the common man. It is the imperial form of governance that reappears, and destroys the slow process of maturation that, from Capet to De Gaulle, shaped our people and our institutions to form the nation.
The nation is not the empire, the infinite territory over which a conquering house exerts domination - by coercion or seduction - with regard to its resources and its subjects. It is not an indefinite space, but a particular place; it is not multitudes of subjects who go about their business, but a people who stay there; it is not a link of domination that holds them, but a bond of belonging anchored in a shared culture, and which projects itself into the world through the expression of a common will.
Between the religious universalisms of Rome and the politics of Charles V and then of the Habsburgs, France was constituted as a nation in order to create an independent living body, sufficiently coherent, whose anxious quest for internal stability made it ready to guide, to weigh on and give meaning to the events that were external to him.
The nation is summed up in a cry: "we want". This cry supposes a "we" at the same time as a "want". It is the characteristic of conjugation to bring the subject to action, for it is she who gives meaning to language. It takes a us, that is to say the feeling of belonging, to generate the confidence necessary for the exercise of a will. It also requires a will, that is to say the feeling of giving meaning to belonging, so that there is one of us. Both are indissociable.
What are we witnessing today? At the dissolution of the "we", certainly; but the disappearance of "want", especially. Both phenomena are simultaneous; but, of the two, it seems to me that it is the second who must play, in the collective awareness, the role of the hen. The crisis of identity is only the symptom of what we begin to no longer know for what, for what purpose, we are "us".
Efficiency instead of meaning
It is striking to note how many political programs focus mainly on the question of means, rarely on that of ends. They often concern only the machinery of the state whose pipes should be opened, as if a company communicated less about the service it rendered than about how it was rendered. We must rationalize the expenditure; optimize revenue; to be transparent; to digitize; simplify; communicate with pedagogy.
The political horizon is replaced by the administrative horizon: we do the collection at the source, because it is more efficient; and we will eventually eliminate the tax home, because we did the withholding tax. Can we still question the meaning that a tax declarative system can have, or what is the principle of taxation by household? A model collapses in the name of efficiency without its purpose being clearly debated. Hence the feeling of being tossed around by a short-termist catallaxy, this aggregation of spontaneous behaviors without an overall vision, the totality of which can lead, but we realize too late, to a subtraction of the good. be global.
This loss of political sense for the benefit of the administration of things is due to the fact that the common will is assimilated to totalitarianism, of which the best antidote would be individualism. Apart from the efficient organization of means (legal procedures, the market economy), postmodernity has played the reassuring role of making politics as neutral as possible and expelling it from any ends other than the promotion of individuals.
No end of the quiet history in this exit of the policy, but rather a return to the chaos of the state of savagery. The refusal to conceive that there is a common thing that it would be for man to serve is the age of narcissism, which is used when one has the means to do so; where one seeks to get something out of the ordinary, rather than add to it; where one no longer cultivates restraint of oneself, leaving free the field of shared work, but where one spreads as far as one can go. When the only finality admitted is the freedom of each subject to the freedom of others, then the common space is privatized, and is reduced to the thin membrane that separates two individuals: "the other "By definition becomes an irritation, that must be manipulated, destroyed, or, in the best case, to undergo.
The institutions, the culture, the civilization supposed to elevate these behaviors lose all their legitimacy since they are reduced to the law and the market, that is to say to the optimal organization of power relations. Shocks of ideas become shocks of people when they no longer conceive of the place of their common home: it is the soil on which the ancient promises of community fusion feed on the utopian homogeneity, cultural or religious, similar individuals aggregated into a sort of lobby of interests.
The current feeling of the French must not be taken for what it is not. It is not because France would be an old lady, the nation an obsolete framework, patriotism a backward feeling, that the French are moving away from politics. But, on the other hand, it is because the French are moving away from politics, seeing only a distressing entertainment that France risks becoming an old lady, the nation an obsolete framework, patriotism a feeling "n 1945 ".
The marked indifference to the electoral system, and the success of En Marche's proposal! to overcome the left / right divides that have been its corollary, are not a plebiscite in favor of the Great Planetary Game. To think that this is the case is to take the consequence of a phenomenon for its cause. And this confusion gives us a lesson: we are tempted to lose interest in politics not because we no longer believe in our country, nor even because the actors in the political world pretend to believe it, but because we Let us forget that the first actors in the political world is ourselves: to recreate the common, to rediscover the honor of serving it, is a matter of our own responsibility in our daily, family, associative or professional lives. If we're fed up with politics, it's actually because we need more.
- The Le Figaro editorial: "Macron, the great ideological capture"
- "The return of conservatism corresponds to a deep aspiration of the French"