“Man is a sociable animal who can only live and flourish in the midst of his fellows”

“Man is a sociable animal who can only live and flourish in the midst of his fellows”

“Man is a sociable animal who can only live and flourish in the midst of his fellows”

This is the definition given by the philosopher André Comte-Sponville *

Sociable… maybe, but he’s also selfish. In fact, he seems unable to do without others, but neither is he naturally inclined to give up, for them, to satisfy his own desires.

From this “constitutional” contradiction, conflicts of interest necessarily arise and for them to be resolved other than through primary and uncontrollable violence, a state is needed.

Politics intervenes here in that it is “the non-warlike management of conflicts, alliances and power relations … on the scale of an entire society”

It begins where the war ends. It is a matter of determining as an obligatory prerequisite, who commands and who obeys. We need a power that can vouch for all the others.

It involves government and changes of governments, agreement on how to resolve disagreements.

Politics unites while opposing. It is characteristic of Man to want to obey freely, to submit to power in order to strengthen his own, and that is the whole paradox and the difficulty of the exercise.

What about the institution in the current landscape against the backdrop of a global pandemic?

French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he wanted to “remain Master of the clocks” must review his software because he seems to no longer master the tempo.

And yet the initial expression was well chosen, drawing its legitimacy from political history where clocks have always been strong and omnipresent symbols: in the 4th century BC, the Egyptian clepsydra introduced in Greece aimed to measure the length of political speeches. . At Versailles, in the Marble Court, the single-hand clock had the sole function of indicating the time of the king’s death. Lord Byron, a 19th century poet, had even gone so far as to declare bluntly – and not without a touch of irony – that laws and institutions like clocks should be regularly dismantled, oiled and put back on time. fair.

Yes, but today it is a virus that has become the Master of Time.

What can laws and institutions do about it?

Measures and restrictions follow one another but are no longer sufficient to govern the unpredictable.

This March marks the anniversary of the onset of this global health crisis and a year later there is still uncertainty making political decisions difficult to make, undermining the assumption that “to govern is to plan.”

Scientists and politicians are working on the subject, but a day lost for the former means a day won for the latter: Lost in view of the alarming situation of intensive care services, won for the economy and the morale of citizens.

For politicians, the exercise is complex in that their task is to find a point of balance between data that are not necessarily compatible in areas that do not obey the same operating rules (economy, health, psychology, etc.)

We can all agree that health is better than illness and that happiness is better than unhappiness, but when everyone agrees it is not politics!
Today the watchword for the government is “pragmatism” while endeavoring to respond to an immediate challenge of adapting to a changing situation.

The people will hold the authorities responsible for keeping them in good health.

If they are successful they will benefit from increased legitimacy, otherwise it will certainly be a form of destabilization.

I don’t think that in France there is any ideology behind the decisions taken. Politicians grope in what Clausewitz called the “fog of war” to describe the daily life of the heads of the armed forces. As said above: politics is a non-warlike management of conflicts, and it no longer resembles Aristotle’s definition today, who compares it to the art of commanding free men. Our freedom was put on hold and we all lost what we thought was control over our personal clocks.

The fog is the fog of the epidemic, and the enemy is intangible and unpredictable.

Faced with these uncertainties, everyone tries to rationalize. The world is hungry for readability, but in this case it is not a given.

Power is faced with a difficult trade-off around two subjects: finding a balance between collective security and individual freedoms, and answering the question of whether we can maintain economic and social life without this proving to be antagonistic. maintenance of overall health.

What is more, politics can escape the government …

The public’s thirst for information is quenched through various channels, which are often unverifiable, if we are to believe the overflow of content from social networks on subjects with scientific connotations that are unabashed by ordinary people.

The scarcity of documented and legitimate information arouses real discontent, and the rumor, stirred up by the media, becomes fertile ground for the birth of the conspiracy theory and the havoc it can cause.

There is in France a real empiricism of institutional construction in terms of the organization of Public Health

We remember the political and health crisis of the heatwave of the summer of 2003 which highlighted three major crises: a logistical crisis illustrated by a congestion from the month of August of emergencies, beds and funeral homes; a questioning of state services accused of having delayed reacting; a crisis in anticipatory strategic analysis pointing to the lack of methodology in this area.

The politicization of this crisis had surprised then: this meteorological phenomenon presented all the signs of an uncontrolled epidemic scenario and the shortcomings of the health system

Updates (“Requisition against the health system” bluntly headlined the newspaper Le Monde en Une) helped trigger the administrative reform of public health (Law of 9 August 2004).

What will happen this time?

The time will come for post-Covid assessments, where the strategies adopted by each region of the world to defeat the pandemic can be studied in detail.

In France, the strategy has been to intensify epidemiological research around the first cases detected, which no doubt explains why the transition to phase three has been delayed.

We will undoubtedly retain – as in the past – a correlation between authoritarian regimes and the use of quarantines, and other health cords … while liberal regimes lean for less coercive measures by trying to privilege public hygiene and sanitation urban. The future will tell who was right.

For the time being, we must humbly recognize a certain wisdom in literature and in the words of Jean d’Ormesson for whom “to govern is to choose between two disadvantages and to live is first of all to try to avoid the worst” –

* Presentation of the philosophy