April 06, 2005

French Legitimite

French legitimacy has been much on my mind of late and here's an article showing how it's playing out in the real world. Essentially, the problem of legitimacy came to a peak in 1939 when a hollow France unexpectedly collapsed. De Gaulle took the duct tape of meritocratic elites rising via examination and the baling wire of a large European Union (of course guided and dominated by France) and renewed French legitimacy enough to keep France alive if never really healthy.

The corruption scandals and the trials it is producing in France are unraveling the elite's legitimacy and the European Union has grown too large for France to be a dominant force in it even when their proposed constitution is written by a frenchman. Eventually, the acid drip of convictions (and no doubt bought pardons) will eat away and reduce the duct tape of the legitimacy of the elite to insignificant binding power.

The voters of France are poised to say "non" to the constitution on May 29th in a referendum and the results will be catastrophic to the continued integration of Europe if present trends hold. When that happens there goes the baling wire. At best we will enter a holding pattern where further integration will be stymied by institutions that will tend to work against progress and, more likely, europe will start to backslide.

When finally, either now or later, legitimite has completely eroded and the France of 1939 makes its full reappearance, do we have any idea what to do? Will we just ignore it until the smallest little wind blows down a completely rotten France and establishes some new European insanity? Or will we engage France, challenge her to reestablish herself on some sustainable basis?

Posted by TMLutas at April 6, 2005 08:39 AM