Chirac Damnatio Memoriae

Chirac, a prominent French dictating (and cackling!) as the great French leader. He was one, and decided Chirac presided over the degeneracy of the French Republic. So this prostitute (the true name of most politicians most of the time: they are paid and honored for the most disgusting feats, most of them, most of the time), just died, and everybody with official worth is very sad and howling their sorrow to the stars (including Angela Merkel). My way to address Chirac good riddance is a variant of the times immemorial Roman notion: a significant variant of damnatio memoriae. Whereas the Roman elite wanted to hide the fact that some of its members had been the worst of the worst, I prevent to condemn, as harshly as possible, but full exhibit, precisely to teach why and how the elite principle, in politics, is hell on Earth, and feeding it some more.[1]

Some will say Chirac doesn’t deserve so much opprobium (opprobe in French: righteous scathing censure). But the principle of celebrating such oligarchic creeps as Chirac should certainly be condemned (OK, Trump will probably say that Chirac was “beautiful”, I can already see it from here, as Chirac, followed by Trump, opposed Bush’s Iraq folly).

Does that mean I condemn all and any politicians and their actions? No. Although Direct Democracy (People-Power, people vote directly the laws) is a must and should rule, so-called “representatives” will keep on having their uses. For example even Chirac, first Paris mayor, ever, in that function, had some positive use (and I am 100% behind Anne Hidalgo the present mayor of Paris, a socialist, who pursues pro-construction and anti-car policies I approve; I enjoyed her 3.80 Euro all day all transport ticket, during the Paris peak heat day in July, 43.6C, two whole degrees above the all time preceding record…) 

Selecting the lesser devil is selecting a devil. The problem can be mitigated in politics, by introducing more direct, real democracy. Then we have to select ideas, not devils.

Chirac was one of the vision deprived leaders presiding over the decay of France in the name of a half-baked, half-finished construction of the European Union. 

Chirac was indeed loquacious, but not eloquent. Most electable politicians are loquacious, not eloquent; they have nothing deep to say, besides feel good sentiment spread all around, so as to better reflect onto their self-obsessed selves. 

However, we are in times which require depth never imagined before. Hugging Germany,as Chirac did, is nice, but Germany is now a real republic (not a fake one like Weimar, truly the “Second Reich”). One needs to tell Germany the truth (its economic and ecological policies are medium term disastrous)and go much further to integrate Europe in a timely manner, and there Chirac was a brainless zero. (OK, Britain prevented any in depth integration, preferring to call the European Union a “club”)

Jacques Chirac led France primordially for no less than four decades, including a long stay as Prime Minister, Mayor of Paris, and then 12 years as elected king (“president”). So much importance for one man is not just insulting, it is a disease the planet is dying from: a small number of seducers (“elected politicians”) take all the decisions, among themselves, while serving who will pay them next, the wealthiest and most powerful persons on the planet. The result is that there is no debate, and disastrous policies are followed.

Chirac correctly opposed the Iraq invasion by W. Bush, preventing its formal approval by the UN. 

That, only that, can be celebrated.


However, overall, the fact remains that professional politicians are ruining the planet. Honoring the memory of one of them, and, through them, the principle of a leading oligarchy, is not just morally wrong. It is celebrating the engine of destruction of the biosphere and, potentially, humanity. 

Patrice Ayme



[1] Damnatio memoriae means “condemnation of memory”, from Latin damnare “to adjudge guilty; to doom; to condemn, blame, reject”. The Romans used it by excluding that person from official accounts. There are and have been many routes to damnatio, including the destruction of depictions, the removal of names from inscriptions and documents, and even large-scale rewritings of history. The practice came from Egypt, where it was used, forever. A famous case was the eradication of Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut in the fourteenth century BC… probably because she was a woman, and her successor was leery, after three decades of a powerful reign, to admit he owed his position to a mighty female) Soon after, the highly controversial dictators of monotheism, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were also eradicated when the ancient socio-religious Egyptian system was re-established after their death. The Romans may well have learned those ways from Egypt…

Damnatio Memoriae could be passed by the Roman Senate on traitors and criminals who brought discredit to the Rome. However, I disapprove of official scrubbing; instead, the abominable person (say Louis XIV, Napoleon, Heidegger, Clinton) should be condemned, again and again, for pedagogical and cultural reasons


[2] I also approve of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wealth tax campaigns: hopefully they will persuade the semi-educated rabble out there.The new “No More Billionaire” slogan of Bernie, I have used in the past… Wealth control at the billionaire scale should be authorized only for companies legislated as of “public utility”. An example would be Bezos’ “Blue Origin” rocket company. 

So politicians like Warren and Sanders communicate and propagate themes intellectuals such as your truly have advocated previously. That’s good and necessary. Just like the decisions making of Trump against global plutocracy implement policies I have advocated for decades.

(And what did Obama do? Basically nothing… and that hurts.)

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6 Responses to “Chirac Damnatio Memoriae”

  1. Daniel Deyl Says:

    Daniel Deyl
    @Patrice Ayme – “… the destruction of the biosphere, and, potentially, humanity.” There seems to be an ugly scenario under which the biosphere will perish while humanity survives. This appears to exclude the latter from the former, contradicting everything we know about either. Or, it’s also possible that the comment makes no sense.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      @Daniel Deyl: You are trying to be smart in a computerized sort of way. Let me improve your software: humanity will be harder to kill than the biosphere. Bezos and Musk are establishing their rocket companies with this as number one objective, or so they say. And the fact is, the biosphere is dying, and humanity, sucking hard on the biosphere, is dying… You see? There was sense, and even science, under it, and now you can revel in it…


  2. Ian Christmas Says:

    Ian Christmas
    Hughenden Valley, England
    @Patrice Ayme
    If ‘elected’ and ‘professional’ politicians are so awful, may one ask what is the alternative? To be realistic, Nations States with millions of citizens have to have some form of government and ”rule by the people’ is a naive ideal, not a practical alternative. So I ask, in all sincerity, if you so despise elected and professional politicians, what is your alternative solution?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      @Ian Christmas
      Dear Ian. The answer is simple: democracy, real democracy, a word and concept defined more than 25 centuries ago.
      If you study Greek states and Hellenistic states, you will find that what we have they do not call “democracy”. For the Greeks, People-Power, Demos-Kratia, meant getting together and debating in a national assembly. The present system doesn’t do so. Instead one has a few individuals with extravagant powers, unimaginable even a century ago, thinking and pushing the most lethal button, for everybody else.

      The Greeks had representatives, but, as in the Roman Republic, they were kept under a very tight leash. For example, Roman Consuls had (very circumscribed) powers just for a year, by slices of just one month, and couldn’t be re-elected for ten years, in normal circumstances.
      The present situation is making everybody stupid. It is also extremely dangerous: humanity is armed extravagantly, ready to fire… thermonuclear weapons.
      Since the Greeks we have invented democratic institutions (say the AMA, the WHO, various governmental institutions, etc.). That’s good, and the Greeks didn’t have them. However we have overlooked the truism that we are supposed to vote and debate, We The People. Short of that, we have, at best, elected kinship.
      Fortunately, the Internet should allow us, technically, to meet, debate and legislate. Greek city-states had a big problem, when farmers were supposed to travel to the national assembly. Athens ended up financially compensating them (they had to pay others to do their job while absent).
      The reason the democratic experience was terminated was not its lack of success. Simply, three times, huge superpowers crushed Greece city-states. The last, extremely bloody crushing, followed by economic strangulation was by Rome, which was turning into a fascist plutocracy.
      This doesn’t show democracy was a failure. Quite the opposite: Rome invented (basically) nothing, and the Greeks everything (usually attributed to Rome)… OK, Romans invented superlative cement.
      Democracy is the mother of invention, imagination and anything good, that’s why we need it back. Cult for politicians is in the way…


  3. Gvaltat Says:

    From Seattle to Paris
    During Chirac’s time, a president was elected for 7 years. During his re-election, he decided that this was too long for an healthy democracy and pushed for a 5-year mandate. He applied this shorter term to himself, not to the person following him, that’s why he did only 12 years. I don’t know who else would have been willing to give away the power of ruling what was at that time the 5th (?) industrial power in the world.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      @Gvaltat Quite the opposite, it could be argued that the switching to 5 years enabled Chirac to do those five years. Since then no president has made a second term. So it could be presented as a trick to say longer. The bloody tyrant Napoleon, hearing that Washington intended to relinquish power after 8 years, called him the greatest man who ever lived because of that: Napoleon was not as smart as his followers believe. Let’s no fall in the same simplicity…


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