Comment on Lordon’s ‘The Beating Heart of Macronism’

Thinker Frédéric Lordon has been providing a solid critical analysis of the phénomène Macron throughout the French electoral period. A witty and sometimes cruel writer, he has the talent to sketch a fraction of society in one compact paragraph. In a recent article for online media titled Situation and translated in English for Verso Books’ Blog, he delivers once again one of its acute readings of French society, going as far as describing the motives and modus operandi of a “pest class” currently imposing its discourse thanks to a blatant self-confidence and a favorable media structure : “The pest class”, for Lordon, is a fraction of the educated class characterized by a “penchant to become intoxicated by general ideas, which give […] the feeling of having risen to the level of taking on the world”.

For Lordon, shallow discourse and empty abstractions on realism, modernity, French Tech or entrepreneurship are now a powerful doxa that has taken on the political stage, regardeless of their actual implications. This is, Lordon develops, a non-intellectual state of mind for “half-witted and utterly self-centred” people. It is many words and attitudes, but very few thoughts.

It’s a harsh portrait for those of us who definitely fit the description. Harsh… but necessary in a time where profound thinking is threatened to get swallowed by technicity, catchphrases (“Make Earth Great Again”), media “stunts”, PR strategies and the ever growing confidence in the truth of “data”.

Sail forth and guard yourself, soon there will only remain sequences and figures.

In the current state of Democratic order, alongside a “Macronised” educated class “dreaming that they can be French Zuckerbergs”, Lordon sees the emergence of an “ungovernable” educated people. He mentions: “the execs disheartened with what they are made to do, those disgusted with managerial life, the mistreated, those who have been put to waste and make a virtue of necessity”. This population refuses “to fight to get back into the game” and is “going off at a tangent” according to Lordon. An often precarious tangent, not always chosen, sometimes on the fringe of marginality. But a necessary tangent and a ground for new ideas to emerge; an uncluttered ground, partly freed from an aggresive media structure and from the contemporary doxa of techno-progressivism.

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