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French linguists analyse antisemitism, religion and sectarianism

This blog is the outcome of discussions among specialists of various academic fields, concerned by the rise of ideological claims that aim to fight the humanistic values of French and Western culture. The dubious aggregate of so-called ‘antiracist’, ‘pacifist’, ‘feminist’, ‘post-colonial’ groups harping on contemporary pathos are all based on a set of rhetoric tricks serving to attack the core of values that hold the nation together.

The difficulty to understand what is really at stake with those positions is the fact that they use and misuse words and phrases borrowed from mainstream egalitarian ideology in order to fight its most basic values, distorting the proper meaning of a consensual political vocabulary that has long been validated by the national community and by the collective memory of the French society. The phrases taken from the philosophy of Human Rights, of tolerance, of respect for religious freedom, of equality between sexes and races have been skilfully integrated into argumentative strategies whose goals differ widely from that philosophical corpus. Surprisingly enough, ‘freedom’ and ‘tolerance’ have thus been enrolled in Islamic propaganda by zealots to promote their own platform and gain power within the public sphere, supposedly devoid of religious control in the western democratic nations.

The dogma of altruism forces intellectuals to spurn their own cultural identity and side with their opponents so as not to be accused of sectarianism. A lot of Jewish thinkers are thus intimidated into supporting anti-Semitic groups such as the “Indigènes de la République”.

Taking the moral high-ground many contemporary ideologists produce a warped version of political and historical reality in line with their personal agenda. Such is the pseudo-sociological attitude that has become prevalent in the media which aims at presenting young Islamic jihadists as victims of a racist society whose prejudice is responsible for failing to assimilate them. Or the neo-feminist judgement of males as pure embodiments of violent instincts. Or the anti-Israel positions — actually a mainstream position in France — whose purportedly ‘critical’ and ‘legitimate’ view of Israel actually fuels Jew hatred and contributes to spreading rabid antisemitism.

Those attitudes share a common bias based on victimhood. Claiming to be a victim becomes a moral entitlement, a social and discursive stance. The social sphere has thus been filled with victims of all sorts—women, Muslims, ‘Palestinians’, banlieues youth… Everybody seems to have been colonised and oppressed. The social demands for empathy have become injunctions, exploiting and co-opting the prevailing humanistic morality and bringing a simplistic and placatory view of complex social and political questions.

Our aim is to show the inner workings of those positions, the rhetoric nuts and bolts of ideas that attack freedom of speech and thought as well as the fundamentals of life in a democratic nation. Our analyses are based upon the concepts and methods from discourse analysis, social psychology, history and philosophy.