How dangerous is Emmanuel Macron – really?

To what extent does Emmanuel Macron represent a risk for civil liberties in France? The question may seem ill-posed, ill-suited, brought up before it could even be due. Does he not have a right to enjoy a certain period of good will on behalf of his constituents and professional observers? Is there no "état de grâce"?

In his case, even before the presidential elections in April and May, left-wing intellectuals and adherents to the Bourdieu strand of sociology had warned against what they saw as the looming rise of authoritarianism in French politics. They seemed to have a point as far as Macron’s proclaimed political philosophy was concerned, a strange mix of Girondist liberalism and extremely centralizing Gaullist presidentialism, with an increasing emphasis on the latter. This warning, as much as as it seemed far-fetched and paranoid to some, may prove to be prescient sooner than the Kassandras themselves may have expected.

The daily Le Monde got exclusive information on a project of law on far-reaching anti-terrorism measures that would amount to a "trivializing" or a normalization of the state of exception that has reigned in France ever since the djihadist attacks of November 15, 2015. It would write into the ordinary law rules that were designed for the undeclared state of war in Algeria in 1955 and that were made use of only on several extraordinary occasions, well-limited in time and reach: the peak of the crisis in Algeria, an independence movement in New Caledonia, the rebellion of the banlieues in 2005 and, finally, the second major Islamist attack in 2015 (on the state of exception in France see here and here). That is all the more worrying because it prolongs a far too long and ultimately ineffective period of "état d’urgence" – all the decisive breakthroughs in the investigations were made under ordinary law, not the provisions of the law of 1955 ...

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