FIGAROVOX / INTERVIEW – For the professor of constitutional law, certain aspects of the law currently being debated in the Assembly threaten freedom of expression.
Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet is vice-president of the French Association of Constitutional Law and professor at the University of Rennes-I.
LE FIGARO. – Isn't the law of moralization legitimate in a context of growing distrust of politics?
Anne-Marie LE POURHIET. –This perfectly demagogic bill is intended to give pledges of probity to a government and a majority tainted by the Bayrou and Ferrand affairs. The ban on family jobs is part of the epidermal and populist reaction. It seems to me that what Penelope Fillon was accused of was the fictivity of her job, not her family character. In the name of what would there be a presumption of incompetence due to a family tie? Especially since it favors unofficial relationships (mistresses, lovers) at the expense of institutionally established ties. The overwhelming incompetence of many LREM deputies seems to me more scandalous than the fact of recruiting one's spouse or nephew as parliamentary attaché. It would be better to pass tests of general culture and constitutional law to the candidates for deputy than to require their extract of criminal record.
One of the measures adopted by the deputies plans to extend the principle of ineligibility to people convicted of racism, anti-Semitism or homophobia. Is this a good thing?
Any skeptic who criticizes or makes a value judgment on mores, behaviors, cultures or beliefs is immediately considered guilty of the offense of “phobia”. This amendment is just another step in the tyranny of minorities. Not only do we live in a gagged society where it is no longer possible to criticize an individual or a group without risking being dragged into the correctional system by associations of vindictive and sectarian activists, but they would also like those convicted on the basis of wicked laws wrung from a complacent legislator are prohibited from exercising public office.
In the title of the amendment, it is affirmed that these offenses “undermine the republican values that an elected official must share”. Do these “republican values” have legal content?
“Republican values” are today invoked wrongly and through to justify anything. Having been condemned for “sexist remarks” or being hostile to marriage for all or to the opening of borders will soon be considered “anti-republican”! It seems to me that one of the cardinal values of the French Revolution is precisely freedom of expression, which surely does not consist in merely formulating benevolent opinions!
Republican values, historically, are secularism, the unity of the Nation and the equality of citizens before the law. The ba-ba of the French Revolution is the refusal of the rights of groups and corporations in favor of the rights of the individual free from all affiliation. Normative multiculturalism is directly contrary to republican values and criminal law takes the opposite path to republican principles by systematically sanctioning offenses against communities. It started in 1972 with the very badly drafted Pleven law, then the movement accelerated from the 1980s with the proliferation of protected categories and above all the authorization of militant associations to bring civil proceedings for press offences. We have thus privatized public action and subjected the media, intellectuals and citizens to the permanent threat of censorship and trials for crimes of opinion.
Militant anti-racism establishes a continuum between verbal and symbolic violence and acting out. Isn't that problematic from a legal point of view?
It's insane. It is not because I find the begging of certain Roma on the sidewalks embarrassing that I am going to start attacking them. Christ can no doubt say to his flock "Love one another", but a republican and liberal legislator cannot forbid citizens from "not loving" such an individual, such a group, such a religion, such a behavior or such culture. We cannot forbid people to pass a value judgment on the mores of others, nor to prioritize behaviors. Everyone has the right to think what they want and to say what they think. The problem is that the “oppression groups” (according to the expression of Philippe Muray) obtained the multiplication of penal laws tending to repress what they call “phobias”. They want to force us to appreciate the Islamic headscarf and the burkini, to force us to approve of gay marriage, to force us to welcome thousands of migrants with a smile, to force us to watch the Paralympic Games and admire women's football. We are summoned to consider that everything is equivalent (in the etymological sense of equal value) in the name of “non-discrimination”. And to be sure that our political assemblies will only include docile sheep bleating in the direction of “progress”, we will make all those condemned for “ill-thinking” ineligible.
Are we witnessing a return to “political correctness”?
A return"? We have been sinking into politically correct dictatorship for almost thirty years. The repressive arsenal continues to grow, not to mention the proliferation of parallel offices responsible for bringing us to heel (CSA, Defender of Rights, Consultative Commission on Human Rights, high authority of ci, observatory of that, etc.) and the unbearable preaching and preaching instances of the Council of Europe. We are overwhelmed by norms of social control and institutions of censorship. And we even have the right to petitions on social networks tending, for example, to withdraw the attribution of a prize to an author on the grounds that he would be against gay marriage and therefore "homophobic" or to have a television channel for letting a "mentally ill stigmatizing" sequence pass in a game! The first reflex when faced with the imperfections of society is prohibition. From now on, any conflict, any disagreement must end in court. Instead of allowing the pluralism and contradiction particularly dear to jurists to express themselves (audi alteram partem = listen to the other party), one thinks only of silencing dissidence.
Is France becoming one of the most repressive democracies when it comes to freedom of expression?
If the United States was a forerunner in terms of "political correctness", the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of Philadelphia and the meticulous jurisprudence of the Supreme Court effectively protect American citizens against any criminal repression of freedom of opinion. In our country, even the Constitutional Council has given up on protecting freedom of expression. Apart from the offense of denial of "genocides recognized by law", he let all draconian laws pass. Freedom and pluralism are disappearing from the country of Voltaire. It's unbreathable.
Would you say with Alain Finkielkraut that "anti-racism is the communism of the XNUMXst century"?
Yes! "Every anti-Communist is a dog," said Sartre, every anti-progressive now is. What strikes me above all is the tetany in which the entire political and media elite is plunged. No one dares to say that the king is naked anymore, it's the beginning of submission.
Source: © Le Figaro Premium – Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet: “The law of moralization is demagogic and draconian”