Friday, December 29, 2017

The Final Solution: Apres Coup

"Madame de Pompadour" by Francois Boucher (photo: Yelkrokoyade)

“Apres nous, le deluge” is the quote attributed to Madame de Pompadour, the lover of Louis XV. The expression has also been attributed to Louis himself with the syntax slightly changed to “Apres moi, le deluge.” The old imperial moi? In any case, Louis was right since the winds of revolution were plainly in the air. Actually, there were revolutions in both America and France auguring the beginning of meritocratic societies which eventually overturned a pre-existing aristocratic order. Both Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835) and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France offered the prospect of viewing the evolution of American society through the looking glass of  countervailing cultures which were still struggling to counterbalance the old and the new, with both authors being proxies for what might be called an enlightened conservatism. England became a unique example in that it maintained its hereditary aristocracy while allowing a more egalitarian and democratic society to develop. The latest go round of American populism under the auspice of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon is coming a little late to the party to the extent that it’s a revolution that’s actually been orchestrated by an elite. The psychoanalytic term après coup refers to the latent response to a (usually childhood) trauma. It would be interesting to speculate on  the collective trauma that might have caused the current perversion of the notion of popular uprising being perpetrated on the American people by the Trumpocracy. Let's not forget that Madame de Pompadour was a high class whore.

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