Rule by technocrat

This is a good article on France, Macron, and the yellow vest movement, in particular:

Whether on the Right, center or Left, French politicians and senior government officials are an astonishingly homogenous bunch. Almost all of them have studied at the grandes écoles like the École Nationale d’Administration. These institutions serve to furnish a group of highly educated individuals. Commonly referred to as “les énarques,” they rotate between elected office, the private sector, and the state bureaucracy, thereby ostensibly lending stability to France’s notoriously cantankerous politics.

These schools produce well-trained technocrats furnished with the mindset that their primary responsibility in life is to serve the state. This is a very different attitude to that which prevails among graduates of most top-level American universities. But the grandes écoles also facilitate a monolithic outlook, an absence of creative thought, and unhealthy patronage networks.

In more recent times, these dispositions have been accompanied by a habit of embracing pretty much every politically correct nostrum. These range from gender ideology (something which infuriates large swathes of French public opinion, and not just on the Right) to environmentalism as a pseudo-religion. This has exacerbated the already huge gap between the viewpoint, life experiences, and priorities of people like Macron—whose personal career path epitomizes the énarque—and most other French people, especially the France of the provinces.

Anyone’s who worked in a company whose upper management are dominated by the graduates of the grandes écoles will relate to that passage. See also here.

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22 thoughts on “Rule by technocrat

  1. These schools produce well-trained technocrats furnished with the mindset that their primary responsibility in life is to serve the state. This is a very different attitude to that which prevails among graduates of most top-level American universities.

    Well…he may be correct in that in the US they don’t want to actually work for the State, in terms of serving the State I think he is wrong. It would be hard to find a group in Western society more Statist or authoritarian.

  2. Britain is surprising egalitarian by that measure. The great and the good of Oxbridge mostly seem to end up in government and media, but business leaders are drawn from all quarters. Only 18% of FTSE 350 CEOs are Oxbridge educated, whereas in France the comparable figure is 46%.

  3. Only 18% of FTSE 350 CEOs are Oxbridge educated, whereas in France the comparable figure is 46%.

    I don’t mind people from the top universities running businesses, it’s the practice of parachuting people with zero industry experience into very senior positions in French companies that annoys me, especially as the results are there for all to see.

  4. Given that historically the masses have eventually risen up and slaughtered the ruling elites when they get to be too onerous, do we think this will happen again? But rather than the target of the mob being the aristos, or the monarchy, it’ll be the political class as a whole, anyone at the top of a large organisation considered ripe for summary arrest and ‘re-education’ in a camp somewhere?

    Because we now effectively have government by a self selecting caste of people, who only allow newcomers in who meet the ideological criteria. No one to the left of (say) Ken Clarke is allowed into any State run or State facing organisation, at a high level, and he’d probably only be allowed in as a fig leaf somewhere, the vast majority 90%+ being of the pure SJW type thinking. There’s a sprinkling of right wingers allowed in actual politics but they’re for show only, the real ruling class know they can control them no problem.

    At what point do the masses cotton on and start the purges?

    ‘Are you or have you ever been a member of Common Purpose?’

  5. These schools produce well-trained technocrats furnished with the mindset that their primary responsibility in life is to serve the state

    I note with some dismay that their “primary responsibility in life is to serve the state” not serve the people. One would think that people are somehow an inconvenience.

  6. The Tom Kratman “Carrera” series is an interesting take on where this rule-by-elite will end up. Lots of scifi action and similar to provide a tolerable narrative thread, but the political extrapolation is uncanny, and he started the series ages ago….

    Remember, the point of ripping-out-hearts-on-the-Temple-summit was not to appease the Gods, it was to remind the plebs that they’d be next, if they step out of line. Dress it up a bit nowadays of course. Secret arrest, claims of wrongthink, closed trial, and then off to the heart-ripper.

  7. And if you really want to be depressed about where all this might go, try these two in conjunction:

    1) Why the elites have no concept of the rest:
    https://www.city-journal.org/html/french-coming-apart-15125.html

    2) Why the rest is especially doomed.
    https://www.nngroup.com/articles/computer-skill-levels/
    – Just 5% of adults in major industriralised countries can do the “difficult” task
    – check out just how “difficult” that “difficult” task is.

    That’s a divide that is not going to be bridged any time soon.

  8. P-G,

    Why the elites have no concept of the rest:

    Yup, I read that – or something similar – when it came out.

    From your second link:

    One of the difficult tasks was to schedule a meeting room in a scheduling application, using information contained in several email messages.

    It was easier to discover an oilfield than find a free meeting room when everyone was available in my previous company.

  9. “‘Are you or have you ever been a member of Common Purpose?’”

    I’m rather afraid that that’s not how it will go down. It’s the SJWs that have all the experience of fighting street battles and I’ll put good money on them and their ilk taking the first slots marshalling the masses when there is a proper grass roots rising.

    There will be some early, and most lamentable, casualties as the ones with purple hair get lynched, but the rest will learn sharpish, they’ll throw the LGBTQRSTUV under the bus before you can blink and it will be straight class warfare from there on in.

  10. I note with some dismay that their “primary responsibility in life is to serve the state” not serve the people. One would think that people are somehow an inconvenience.

    Aah, you’ve been in a French post office then? 😀

  11. It’s the SJWs that have all the experience of fighting street battles…

    Whut? Those noodle-armed, douche-knotted, soy-latte sipping manginas?

  12. P-G,

    “– check out just how “difficult” that “difficult” task is.”

    That was an interesting read and I find it hard to bevel I’m in the top 5%. Perhaps I should go back to work (only kidding Mrs BiND).

  13. Tim N,

    Check out the Polotics Theory Other podcast #30 “”A bonsai de Gaulle”. Got some good background on this and past protests and why they thought they could do a “Thatcher” but didn’t really understand her.

  14. “”…..One of the easy tasks was to use the reply-all feature…..””

    Considering design of modern programs, this easy task was probably something like you must hack into Russian nuclear rocket system and to the line of launch code enter Sudanese anthem third word, then reply icon appear.

    Next time they must hide this reply icon under Trump Russian collision evidence or something, to beat the last 5% still capable to find basic function,s despite everyday updates.

  15. The Living Dead – Zombie Theresa May stumbles through confidence vote – but how long until she finally falls?
    “May will limp on in Number 10 after winning the confidence vote despite a Third of her own MPs wanting to sack her.

    The PM won the support of 200 Tory MPs, enough to stay in post, but with 117 MPs calling for her to go her time in charge seems to be running out…”

    Unless she resigns, we’re stuck with May for a year now.

  16. Ah yes, for “SJW” read “antifa” or other STWC (remember them) stooge to taste.

  17. “Anyone’s who worked in a company whose upper management are dominated by the graduates of the grandes écoles will relate to that passage.”

    Yep, I have worked closely with many of the French chosen ones. Wealthy, on the rise, well-educated and a massive affliction of illusory superiority syndrome, especially outside of Paris and France. They have a physical resemblance to each other a kind of French Stepford’s Husbands and stick out like poodle’s balls.

    My opinion of them was they were very unsuited to their role and not up to their budget accountability, liabilities actually because of their perceived untouchability among their smiling clique. I am talking about totally unnecessary major fuck ups here, the best that you will get out of them is a shrug of the shoulders and they love taking holidays at the absolute worst time because Club Med somewhere in the world has a good deal on.

    They don’t go away either I keep bumping up against them. Had more exposure to them last year through Siemens with the ill-fated Sydney Light Rail Project (dodged a bullet there) and then more recently with some major solar project shenanigans in Australia.

    There is a solar boom going on down under, privately funded for big firms to acquire offset points, ie no business case and the whole thing is a complete fucking disaster everywhere. I spent a bit of effort pulling us out of contract on one of them, it was far too easy and the major French contractor, a huge organisation that is in the top ten globally by size, if they were any good they would have stitched me up such that I couldn’t walk away. Their French Australian Director (ex UK Director) called me, to try and resolve the situation, she came across very brow beaty at the start, as in, you cannot do this and that’s that. We had some hot phone sex, its always best when you haven’t seen what your partner looks like during phone sex and it is left to your imagination and then she realised who had the upper hand and that I had well and truly slipped off of her hook. She started backstabbing and exploring if it was how rubbish her guys were, I said that yes it was highly unusual for clients in Australia to impose wholesale changes to project sequencing, material issue and execution strategies that would adversely affect us and expect us to wear it. She wanted names, but I aint no dobber, darling.

    In the end she asked me what it would take for us to come back under contract, I said that we would do it for cost plus 30%, no risk and uncapped budget an off the planet aggressive offer from me, she undertook to talk to someone and ring me back, never did. That project is also a fucking disaster thank fuck we got out of it.

    One thing is for sure, Emperor Napoleon would be turning in his grave if he knew how they have destroyed one of his many great legacies to the world.

  18. Whether on the Right, center or Left, French politicians and senior government officials are an astonishingly homogenous bunch. Almost all of them have studied at the grandes écoles like the École Nationale d’Administration. These institutions serve to furnish a group of highly educated individuals

    Does the Oxford PPE degree not perform the same function in Britain?

  19. different James
    No. ENA has an intake of only 400. There are thousands of PPE grads.
    On the rare occasion an Enarque doesn’t recognise another there’s only one degree of separation. No LinkedIn required.

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