Wauquiezisme: The Machiavellianism of Fools

Arthur Goldhammer
19 February 2018

Antisemitism has been called “the socialism of fools.” By analogy, one might call Wauquiezisme “the Machiavellianism of fools.” Elsewhere on this site, the political theorist Hugo Drochon has an elegant essay on the concept of the “Machiavellian moment” as theorized by J. G. A. Pocock and reinterpreted by any number of other thinkers. Laurent Wauquiez, the recently elected leader of LR, seems to have concluded that political regimes in France and elsewhere have entered a moment of instability calling for Machiavellian cunning on the part of those who would lead them. In a lecture to, of all audiences, a group of business school students in Lyon, he offered his version d’un Machiavel de bas étage who bids to become the leader of the French.

Unfortunately for Wauquiez, his words were recorded. Or perhaps not so unfortunately: it has been suggested that only an imbecile would think that in the age of the smartphone a political leader could give a talk to a lecture hall full of students and not expect it to be recorded, so the recording itself is taken by some to be an example of Wauquiez’s application of Machiavelli’s dicta. He deliberately intended for his ostensibly “private”confidences to be released to the public for general consumption.

On this interpretation, he meant to let the world know that when he speaks in public he is offering only “bullshit.” And when he accuses his former boss Nicolas Sarkozy of surreptitiously recording his ministers, he doesn’t actually mean that the president of the Republic was, you know, surreptitiously recording his ministers. So, apparently, Wauquiez would have us think that his discourse is composed of endless layers of bullshit, of turds wrapped in cowpats and drowned in sewage. Truly, this is the Machiavellianism of fools, and if this is the measure of the opposition that Macron arouses, the young president is in for a long, untroubled reign.

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1 Comment

  • Bernard says:

    Machiavellian moment or not, I thought that what this entertaining affair revealed to all was Wauquiez’s gigantically over-inflated ego, to the point that it will soon explode in real time. This was one of the reasons why I commented some time back that while the conservatives would likely return to office one day in France, that moment would not involve Wauquiez.

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