It's in response to a poll that made the rounds of french media last week, suggesting that virtually half of France believes they may well become homeless some day.
When we talk of the crisis of faith currently plaguing western civilization, and western Europe in particular, need we see any further evidence of its deep roots than a poll that announces half of the nation can imagine themselves falling into homelessness...
[In translating this article from the original french, I've replaced a french term with our more familiar english one: in France they use the acronym, SDF, for "Sans Domicile Fixe", meaning "without a regular home", or "homeless".]
I think this was one of his best articles to date. In my haste to translate it this morning I hope I have not diluted its strength:
Rich or homeless, it’s your choice
One poll chases away another. Yet the one that has just been published by the Emmaüs society deserves inscribing in the memory, as it is a condemnation for France: 48% of people polled believe it possible for them to become homeless one day! This is what has become, in only thirty years, a nation that once was, and had a calling to remain, one of the richest in the world. Thirty years of socialist-communism and technocratic management has ruined and has plunged the nation’s inhabitants into anxiety and despair.
This is the genuine challenge of the forthcoming years in France, and it is not the 2007 presidential election that offers the slightest chance to respond to it. Go ahead and propose to millions of French that worry about becoming homeless to comtemplate your image, as Mme Royal does, or to satisfy oneself of a”quiet rupture”, as M. Sarkozy proclaims! We can guess their reaction with little effort. And this will inevitably manifest itself at the ballot box. Which is why the electoral predictions for 2007 hold no sense whatsoever.
Much as the presidential election will certainly be only one of the episodes in the great French crisis which unrolls before our eyes and whose effects will stagger the economic, social and political landscape.
What the licensed observers have not understood, as they only examine the situation through the declarations of the politicians and their entourage, is that the French political and media scene is only a shadow theater. The scene currently playing has no relation to the life of ordinary citizens. And these citizens are pressed to notice at what point the few dozen individuals of both sexes which are the actors of this sinister farce are mocking them and their problems. The last known example of such contempt in the history of our country was that of the priviledged of the ancien regime on the eve of the Revolution. We know how that ended! Yet, as Tocqueville wrote, “in a democracy, each generation is a new people”.
Those who constitute the ruling class have retained none of the lessons of history. They will pay a heavy price for it.
The real danger that France is courting is not the clash on the near horizon, but the state in which she will find herself when she gets out of it. Our nation might just as well sink into a terrible civil war as give herself a new public-approved ruling class which will heave it outside the sinkhole it has fallen into. The worst is possible, and even probable, but it is not certain. One hears today only irresponsible demagogues in the media. However there exists a parallel world, which more than half of French homes have access to today, called high-speed internet. A website like the one you’re reading at this moment has an audience reaching one hundred thousand pages read every month. And these articles go around the global blogosphere. The system’s media can pursue their campaign of permanent intoxication, they will come to nothing against the irresistible advance of honest and lucid information.