By radicalizing, everyone creates the same opposite radical in front of themselves.” This maxim is repeatedly verified. An Algerian comedian drew an Islamist extremist marching with a ‘Vote Trump’ sign. Indeed, populists such as Trump or Zemmour play into the hands of opposing radicals, to the detriment of moderates. Similarly, among the Caledonian separatists, those who held extreme speeches (expropriation, autocratic government by the FLNKS) awakened the stiffness of the loyalists and discouraged the idea of a common destiny.
Radicalization nevertheless has an advantage: when you cry out for 1 billion, when you are not entitled to anything, you still get 500 million. When it comes to extremes, the negative does not properly balance the positive. The claim is not compensated by the denial. There will always be something left of it. This is inherent in our desire to have power over the world: it must obey a little, rather than nothing. Universal desire, even among the supporters of the no.
How to avoid abuse of this cognitive bias?
Because it is not a question of killing our positivism, at the risk of falling into apathy. Let us only prevent undue claims from halting the general boom, because the game of competition would not be respected. This is already a difficult task. Why do so many poor people remain in misery? Because there are rich people, do you think? In part. But above all because the poor are stolen by other poor, by those who do not respect the solidarity distribution of social assistance. There are thus two kinds of poor: the real ones, who do not even know that help exists (I call them pooreton); and the fakes, who know it so well that they recover the essentials (the claimants).
Abuses of extremes avoided by the firmness of the center
Centrists are not only guarantors of balance, mediators between radicals. They are the only authentic representatives of the collective, the proponents of synthesis. In this sense they are an authority superior to the extremes. All independent of the parties. This whole can move its identity according to the parties, but there remains a merger, a retrocontrol that is imposed on the parties. In its absence, the conflict is no longer productive and becomes a war of annihilation. The importance of the center is thus indisputable, superimposed on the extremes, because of another order, falling within the choice of social peace. Choice of a majority of the population. If this was no longer the case in New Caledonia and you are still one of the few reasonable beings, all that remains is to leave. There are no more a nation.
Moderate politicians can never be sufficiently aware of this importance of the center. They experience it in their hearts, in the pulsations of a collectivist fiber, but they do not represent it sufficiently as a power. Because this power is maternal. It is not there to denigrate its children but to bring them together, to give them the confidence that allows them to open up to the other. Sweetness seen as a softness by the radical. It insults the father (the extremist opposite) but is also mean to the mother (the moderate). It’s easier; she does not react much; she loves us anyway.
The strength of the mother (and the center) is not in opposition but in disappointment. Pain rather than anger. When the centrist listens to the extremist’s speech, he refrains from sending him back to back with the opposite extreme, which only excites him; it depicts another reality, the fusional, the one where the extremist is included and his opponent too. It is not a mixture but a result. Different level of information. Black + White = Grey. Grey is not a mixture: we no longer see either black or white. That is something else. An emergence. In its constitution, black can remain black, white remains white. The proportions may change and the tone of the gray may vary. But there remains an independence that is imposed on its components.
The true centrist
The centrist is disappointed if the extremist refuses the superior reality of the gray world. If some of the black decide to withdraw from it, the world will be a little whiter. Too bad. Less complete fusion. More unstable society, because some are not part of it, agitate in vain to replace it. This merger has no other reason to be than to represent a majority of people.
A true centrist will be offended that a government is something other than a merger as well. To put a party exclusively in power, as some Western democratic systems do, is to open the door wide to extremists. They are on the threshold in France, have governed four years in the USA. New Caledonia is fortunate to be more collegial, but lacks convinced centrists to keep the country’s best interest alive. When a government is made up of members concerned only with the interests of friends, it is a capernaum without guidelines. Unshakable New Caledonian clientelism, which abandons the needs of the country in the waiting room. We lack gray dads and gray moms, in the center, to settle the disputes of the children and enforce the New Caledonian family cause in the jungle of nations. Perhaps, the referendum fight over, will we be able to find and honor these new shepherds?
On the Caledonians
In the end, they do not count so many fanatics among them. There is no shortage of extreme ideas. But fanaticism is something else. It is to prohibit any rival idea. To be reduced to anger, to be an abscess that can only explode and destroy. On the contrary, supporting extreme ideas without stopping at them has a positive role: they balance opposing ideas. The large gap specifies the place of the center. Even the radicals who fantasized about a post-referendum revolution have done a service to the center, to living together, by reinforcing the need to find it. They were useful because they were few and in equivalent numbers.
Western culture has found a battalion of it, fortunately for it. Because its weakness is that its members internalize conflicts more. What they are externalizing is already a compromise, a centrist position. Melanesian culture has more concentrated outbursts of violence, despite customary speech. It produces few radicals but these are many. Strangers to the word. There are only other foreigners to answer them, by the same heavy silence in front of the questions that annoy. And should they stay together in small numbers? Too much silence precedes the nightmarish cry of war.
A virus indifferent to independence
It will not take place. It only took a few more cleavages to split the two blocks. Independence put in balloting by a virus, by the virulence also of a part of the Kanak youth, by the customary disorders, by the feeling of fragile belonging of some whites to this country. The blocks are broken. The majority of the fragments gather and re-malgam in the center, around common desires. A few groups of diehards continue to gravitate around, more isolated than before. Catharsis will have been expensive, but no doubt it was necessary to go through it.
It is indeed the absence of a real Caledonian collective that has allowed the most serious problems of the territory to grow: Gaps in destinies between rich and poor. Gangsterization violence and growing racism of Kanak youth, which threatens the entire adult population. Assistance and subsidies blind to the results, powerless to change the status quo, which only created a clique of rich clientelist Kanaks twin with that of the whites, have in no way brought the social strata closer together. This would require a real consensual effort on the rules and not a transfer between wallets.
Why is politicians’ discourse so often discouraging? It rarely touches on the universal. Either it strives to remain collectivist and it is meaningless; or it is engaged and quickly falls into idiocy by its obvious omissions, except for listeners wearing the same blinders. It feels like you’re dealing with an angry or sulky kid. Are politicians kids, already by the desire to play the little chef? Or do they see their voters as kids, serving them this clean speech, while pretending otherwise of course?
The two explanations tend to converge. Positive discrimination against the voter has become unavoidable. It is praised. Because he delegates more and more difficult his power, criticizes and devalues the politician. Weakened, the politician sends a demagogic speech back to the voter. He credits him with a sure discernment, a superior intelligence, while believing that he is dealing with a fool or a fanatic.The lie passes all the better as it is golden. But it has two adverse effects. The politician himself is simplified by this distorted relationship. By obscuring the diversity of his voters, he infantilizes himself in the eyes of many of them.
The second effect is that being praised for skills that have not been tested also infantilizes the voter. It inflates its importance before it has the means. This confident child elects someone who looks like him: a politician-kid. We have the politicians we deserve. They are our psychoanalytic record. Amplifying the right self-image is positive in substance. But if we do not distance ourselves from the decision-making levels in our minds as well as in society, this great merit attributed to oneself elects the one who looks like me rather than the one who brings us together.
The danger of Wokism
The rise of Wokism reached the Caledonian shores. The term sounds too pretty. It designates a minority opinion that bitterly refuses majority domination. The examples are multiple: the antivax of course, the demonstrators who demand “Freedom!!” by rotting that of others, some Kanak clans who mock the talks, or the very ridiculous collective that has demanded the withdrawal of the campaign clips of the No, deemed “racist and humiliating” when they are only ironic, minimal quality for this kind of marketing. When will we ban any comedian on the pebble?
Communities are part of the New Caledonian soul. But Wokism is not communitarianism. The communitarian feels part of the country. He asserts his rights but is also able to erase himself before the common good. Not the Wokist. The Wokist mocks the collective. His destiny will be the one he has decided, no matter the others. The Wokist is an anti-collectivist capable of nipping any consensus effort in the bud. New barbarism. White or black, but neither democratic nor customary, the Wokist is today the most dangerous shark ready to devour living together.
The awakening of the center
Fortunately, collectivists are still in the majority in New Caledonia. One even wonders: How could Wokism have taken root in a country where life is so good, where the worst misery is simply to live outside the economy, to cultivate your piece of garden and catch your fish?
I prefer to reserve the term ‘awakening’ for the awakening of the center, which must be encouraged. Let’s give back our power to this collective that gets tired of sterile oppositions and childishness, as Simanë does in his clip ‘Yes or No?’
Links (in French):
Nouvelle-Calédonie : les résultats du 3e référendum d’autodétermination du 12 décembre 2021
Tout comprendre – Référendum en Nouvelle-Calédonie: Les enjeux de ce 3è vote sur l’indépendance
Wiki: Référendum de 2021 sur l’indépendance de la Nouvelle-Calédonie
Le Monde: Nouvelle-Calédonie : le troisième référendum sur l’indépendance aura bien lieu le 12 décembre
L’Express: Le référendum sur l’indépendance de la Nouvelle-Calédonie
L’Obs: Référendum sur l’indépendance de la Nouvelle-Calédonie : les indépendantistes critiquent la validité du scrutin