The Death of True Politics?
The French writer and philosopher Fabrice Hadjadj gave a speech in Sion, the capital of Valais (Switzerland) on October 13, 2017, for the colloquium on “Society at the Risk of Christianity” organized by the diocese of Sion.
Fabrice Hadjadj is a philosopher with an unusual history. Born in 1971 to a practicing Jewish family, he graduated from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and is an agrégé in philosophy. His parents were militant Maoists. He declared he was an atheist and an anarchist until 1998, when he converted to Catholicism.
His conversion resembled that of Claudel, he revealed to Céline Hoyeau in La Croix on March 10, 2017. He found the faith in the church of Saint-Séverin in Paris, at the foot of Our Lady of Good Help, and was baptized at Solesmes. He currently directs the Philanthropos Institute that is part of the Catholic University of Freiburg.
The Reasons Behind the Decline
The philosopher sees one of the first causes of the destruction of politics in the ubiquity of the economic and ecological factors that have invaded the political field. He believes that politicians “worry first about the world of business” in order not to have to face the “true debates in society.” “Ecofascism,” that abolished the city – now considered as a negative vector of pollution – also plays its part in this death of true politics, for the city is the “polis,” the very site of the “public thing”. Fabrice Hadjadj could also wonder at the ubiquity of the economic and ecological factor in the religious field, particularly in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’.
The second cause of the dilution of politics lies according to Fabrice Hadjadj in the 20th century totalitarianisms, that made men believe in a renewed, perfect humanity from which the religious sphere is excluded. By their failure, “Nazism and Communism made man despair of politics and progress,” he claimed, explaining that “since religion had not been restored to its place in society, there remained only a heap of ruins.”
The advance of new technology? It is not progress according to the philosopher from Freiburg, for whom “the machine and the cyborg are leading us towards an exit from History.” “Increased,” tempered man becomes the slave of technology that “little by little will erase classic humanity,” he warned.
Restoring the Gospel is the Solution
For Fabrice Hadjadj, the solution is to bring the Gospel back into the heart of society: “announcing the Gospel will make it possible to fight against enculturation and a lack of culture, and maybe even restore culture,” he claimed, insisting in no uncertain terms upon the urgent missionary role of the Catholic Church in society.
Although truly interesting, Fabrice Hadjadj’s speech remains limited: for example, we are left doubtful when the philosopher invokes the religious liberty introduced by Vatican II to justify a sort of “positive secularism” that could, according to him, give greater freedom and therefore more weight to the Church. Ever since 1965 and Dignitatis Humanae, we do not see what freedom, still less what weight the Church has gained in the world. The separation of powers inherited from the Enlightenment is certainly not the ideal of the Catholic city and of Christian civilization.
What is more, the philosopher seems to have a taste for provocation and paradox that sometimes leaves one uneasy: need he resort to a rhetorical effect on the theme of a “right to blasphemy”, in order to justify the idealized state of a society situated between practical “atheism” and “theocracy,” in which the Church would have a hypothetical folding seat?
Despite its limits, Fabrice Hadjadj’s contribution does at least point out some of the evils corrupting our societies. Only the divinely assisted Church could provide the adequate remedy.
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