France rises above economics

He tells the French it is OK to love equality and social awareness more than success and money... Hollande refuses to be made a prisoner of the constantly-invoked “harsh realities” of freewheeling capitalism, which are supposed to justify highly inegalitarian economic policies... The French are wise to have elected a leader who makes his appeal to his countrymen’s republican social values rather than to their disappointed economic ambitions.
“Can the Socialists Fix France (and Maybe Europe)?”
 Commonweal, 13 July 2012

You have to love the French Left. Their Marxist economics have always been hard and masculine and, above all, rigorously scientific. They have harnessed dry socialist theory to the practical management of a modern industrial economy. They write about “concrete” matters such as agricultural collectivism or the development of heavy industry, always in a scientific manner, and always without sentimentality or pity.

Those who would call attention to the rather unattractive human consequences of 20th century socialism would be accused of bourgeois sentimentality and false consciousness. The task of building socialism is not a tea party, and inevitably, many will suffer in the historical struggle.

But look at the French Left today. When confronted by a real economic crisis, one as simple as third-grade arithmetic, they disdain the “harsh realities” of capitalist economics and embrace the economics of “equality and social awareness”. In other words, when communists exterminate entire classes, that’s the cost of history. But when markets demand fiscal discipline, that is heartless. The French Left has gone from being the party of harsh reality to being the party of squishy sentimentality and wishful thinking. As ever, ideology triumphs over mere facts.