Does this feel familiar?

Drumbeats of Doom

France has a new political buzzword: “ensauvagement”, meaning “descent into savagery”. Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, has long used it to depict a country she claims is under siege by criminal violence she blames on immigration.

And, after a spate of violent incidents this summer, the term is gaining traction. In July, a bus driver was beaten to death in Bayonne after telling a group of young men to wear face masks. Then, a young woman died in Lyon after being dragged along the road by a car taking part in an illegal race. Last month, fans of the Paris Saint-Germain football club rioted when their team lost the Champions League final. Such incidents have attracted “wall-to-wall coverage” on right-wing websites and social media. And they seem to be driving a change in attitudes: some 60% of French people now think violence is on the rise, and Le Pen’s inflammatory rhetoric is being echoed by politicians from President Macron’s government. But the idea that France is descending into “some apocalyptic twilight world of migrant-driven violence” is a lie aimed at stirring up racial hatred: violent crime has actually fallen steadily since the 1990s. Alas, “facts or no facts, the drumbeat continues”. (Político (Brussels) and The Week, 19 September 2020)

My comment: The United States is not the only country where lies and disinformation abound. I blame social media. The sort of people who seek to undermine sane government and tranquil life were always around. They are nutters – people who think, for instance, that Hitler never died, but is still around (now aged about 140!). But now they have limitless outlets for hate and discontent, used by ruthless politicians and born trouble- makers, picking on immigrants, black people etc, fixing Courts and elections, everything that benefits them, not society at large.

Epicurus was unusual in that he welcomed slaves, women (unusual then), people of a variety of races, backgrounds and origins to his garden. We, too, should champion humanity – decent, law-abiding people, preferably with senses of humor!

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