Monday, May 14, 2007

Says Francesc-Marc Alvaro, La Vanguardia's best columnist:

...When Sarkozy declared he was going to discontinue the 1968 brand name, he was not referring to the positive gains that European and Western society has irreversibly incorporated, such as equality for women, rights for minorities, an ecological consciousness, a more participative vision of democracy, and a new way of experiencing personal relationships both within the family and at work. All this forms part of the great current consensus, and is also accepted by the democratic Right. 1968 cannot be summarized superficially as a mere end to ties and bras. there was a change in mentality that was born among the well-informed elites and, with time, spread and took root.

Sarkozy, therefore, is aiming in another direction when he criticizes May 1968. His target is the dark side of 1968, that anti-authoritarianism that became totalitarianism in favor of Third World dictators; that pacifism that turned into the terrorism of the Gauche Proletarienne, the Italian Red Brigades, and the German Baader-Meinhoffs; that intoxicating nihilism that broke down classroom order; that disenchantment which mutated into the cynicism of so many ideological commissars, beginning with many of Mitterrand's, Gonzalez's, and Schroeder's collaborators: that moral superiority of the professional leftist, even after reality has proven his dogmas false; that adulteration of the terms "democracy," "memory," "anti-Fascism," "liberty," and "progress."

Among us, the two sides of 1968 coexist. The good side, which has modernized us and made us freer, and the bad side, which stimulates reactionary imposturing, nostalgic and decadent, and which scorns reality because reality has destroyed their old-fashioned analysis. Sarkozy has won his match against the dark side of 1968, that disastrous legacy that harms us every day. And he has done so, above all, by recovering the meaning of important words like "work," "effort," "commitment," and "responsibility." Every political battle begins by liberating hijacked words.

No comments: