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Arthur Chevallier – The Greens against Pleasure

LThe proud dream of regulating the pleasures they do not understand. The Europe Ecology-The Greens party has discovered a specialty not listed in its statutes: revolutionizing happiness in the name of theirs. Ban the July 14 parade (Eva Joly), replace a Christmas tree in Bordeaux, castigate the Tour de France (Grégory Doucet), the national holiday, Christmas and the most prestigious cycling race in the world. These brilliant ideas were not enough. Elected officials from the south of France have regretted the holding of the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Le Castellet, and have expressed the wish that it will disappear next year. Let them be reassured: Formula 1 should leave France next year. After all, why maintain an event that only brings together 200,000 people? And if ecology was a pretext?

In the middle of the XVIIIe century, theatrical performances were prohibited in Geneva. In an article by The encyclopedia, d’Alembert deplored it. Rousseau made a point of responding to the scientist with a famous text: the Letter to d’Alembert on the shows (Where Letter on shows). With meticulousness, the philosopher engages in a diatribe against the characters and the plays which, according to him, are the embodiment of immorality. He goes so far as to criticize plays of ancient inspiration, by Racine for example, for portraying criminals who are not punished by justice… As for the youth, he invites them to have fun in a virtuous way, to reject trivialities, in the forefront of which the theater. In short, Rousseau, who moreover had himself written plays, never disappoints us: as soon as a pleasure presents itself, he fights it in the name of the public good, that is to say of his pretension. Modernity has nothing to do with this puritanism. At IIe century BC, in Carthage, Tertullian, one of the greatest Christian theologians, wrote of his disgust for circus games, theaters and entertainment in general. Wickedness, intolerance and pride are ageless.

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What is the relationship with the Europe Ecology-The Greens party? Facts and times differ, but logic does not vary. Ecology is a priority, no one disputes that. Moreover, all the Republican political parties hold the protection of the environment as a primary issue; and that’s fine. The Greens, pioneers of this cause, have therefore been, despite themselves, dispossessed of their purpose. To survive, they had to outbid and imagine a dogma from which no one can depart without being perceived as a criminal. Rigorism, imprecations and anathema are the order of the day. The popular entertainments which they demand the disappearance have however also taken up the cause of ecology.

From Tertullian to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, morality is the most convenient of rhetorical expedients.

Formula 1 itself has made concrete commitments. The cars are equipped with a hybrid engine, whose power unit is the most efficient in the world, in other words: the one that gives the greatest power while spending the least fuel, therefore CO2. The International Automobile Federation has made a commitment to be zero carbon by 2030. Because it is an area of ​​excellence that concentrates phenomenal sums, Formula 1 innovates in incomparable proportions; and its innovations will benefit the entire automotive industry, and therefore the environment. Some will say that they could do more, that perfection is human and that when it comes to ecology, zero tolerance is the order of the day. They will use this argument to ban what they don’t understand, what they don’t want. And they will divert the object of science rightly enslaved by man on the pretext of survival, by promising the apocalypse.

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And we understand why, from Tertullian to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, morality is the most convenient of rhetorical expedients. The author of confessions did not criticize the shows in the name of the idea he had of virtue, but of social harmony: a world without vice. Similarly, the Europe Écologie-Les Verts party systematically attacks popular meetings, finding them unworthy and unconscious. All in the name of a title, that of apostle of the survival of humanity, which they do not have. In a democracy, the coexistence of passions and fears is a condition; nuance is a duty; the election a power: 4.63% in the presidential election. This is a figure that should temper the ardor of an oppression in the making.

book reference

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Letter on showsAmsterdam, 1758.

Tertullian, Complete WorksParis, The Beautiful Letters, 2017.

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