How to explain violence in the political debate?

While the presidential campaign is in full swing, the invectives between politicians multiply, sometimes even to the point of excess.

But if this scathing rhetoric has existed in the past, how did we come to such an exacerbation? What responsibilities do politicians have in their speeches?

“Violence in the political debate has its roots in the very essence of the political exercise which has always been violent”, first reminds CNEWS Carbon of Seze.

And the criminal lawyer quotes: “high antiquity, where there are only scenes of violence and in which all political heroes only go through phases of violence”.

For this lawyer, responsible for the open Human Rights Commission of the Paris Bar, in this context it would be necessary “perhaps more to question the nature of this violence rather than its causes”.

Also, “does social violence feed political violence or is it political violence that inspires social violence?” Asks Carbon de Seze.

From the entertainment society to the buzz society

The deputy Les Républicains des Hauts-de-Seine Constance Le Grip, for her part, raises a more societal explanation for this current violence in politics.

Invoking “La société du spectacle”, the famous essay by sociologist Guy Debord, published at the end of 1967 and which had a strong impact, in particular for having provided the theoretical weapons for the events of May 1968, she perceives in this denunciation made by the work of mechanisms alienation, a mass phenomenon that has only worsened today, especially through the influence of social networks.

These tools, Twitter in the lead but not only, constitute a formidable sounding board but at the same time demonstrate that they are essentially based on insult and indignation.

Debate and reason against impulses

However, is always speaking louder the right strategy to be heard and what is more in politics? Not so sure for Carbon de Seze: “Whoever in the arena is going to give a constructed speech will be afraid of being inaudible. I fear they are making a bad bet. Because betting on the intelligence of others is never a failure, ”he analyzes.

Ultimately, the real danger is when this verbal violence by politicians, whether perceived or real, turns into physical violence against them. The slap inflicted on the President of the Republic during one of his trips to the Drôme in June 2021, is undoubtedly one of the most striking recent examples.

“A slap is a violent act but also and above all a humiliating act (…) It means that this citizen is deeply convinced that only political violence can convey his conviction and not by debating with the Head of State”, regrets Carbon from Seze.

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