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Is Jérôme Cahuzac’s Lying Really “Unforgivable”?


Philippe Oswald - published on 04/16/13 - updated on 06/07/17

Forgiveness has lost its meaning in a society that is losing its humanity

From the President of the Republic to the President of the National Assembly, almost all public officials, both on the left and on the right, and many journalists have repeated the same refrain: what Jérôme Cahuzac did is “unforgivable.” According to some, he is even downright “repugnant” (Alain Duhamel, on the morning of April 3 on RTL). The French budget minister, who currently faces charges of tax fraud over a secret bank account, has certainly managed to stir up controversy in his home country.

But just what is the meaning of these invectives? The former budget minister brazenly and repeatedly lied to all the French people through the national representation. It is a fact that he himself acknowledges, calling himself “inexcusable” and “devastated by remorse.” But if that is the case, then why add more? The outrage in France seems to have come just short of putting Cahuzac under the guillotine.

In China, “economic crimes” are punishable by such a sentence. In France, the death penalty was reserved for particularly horrific blood crimes until its abolition by François Mitterrand (a president who also knew how to lie “looking you straight in the eye”  without blinking; since him, others have tried to imitate his skill at lying but have failed to match the master).

But the media pillory can produce the same fatal result. In this case, we have a minister who was a fraudster and a liar, and what is more, a man who was responsible for collecting the tax that his own Socialist Party levied on the people. And all of this took place against the background of a major crisis. Public opinion is feasting on the case (the gaze of others in this type of situation being “a kind of killing,” as psychoanalyst and psychotherapist Pascal Neveu, author of  Lying: To Live Together Better? explains in the  French edition of The Huffington Post).

The Cahuzac case offers the French people a distraction from the endless winter into which the country has plunged along with most of its European neighbors, with no sign of the coming of spring. Many of the people – politicians, experts, journalists – that the French hold responsible for their misfortunes play on that anger and indignation to escape the people’s wrath. Mediapart, the online journal that considers itself the Cahuzac “toppler,” assures us that things will not end there and that other government heads will be cut. Officers from the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI) could not have been unaware of the Minister's tax evasion. And last but not least, we come to learn from that the treasurer of François Hollande’s campaign is a shareholder in two companies in the offshore tax haven of the Cayman Islands (we learn at the same time that the wealthy businessman is also the editor of Stubborn, the gay community’s first magazine – he’s got it all!).

If we are really looking for truth and justice, then extending the investigation is a compelling idea, but only on the condition that we do not get stuck only on the former budget minister’s “economic crimes” and lies which, after all, are nothing but a big “pot” of money (we still wonder whether it is just a matter of €600,000 or more…) subtracted from the taxes of the French people. And, at any rate, the damage thus caused to the nation is not commensurate with that of some François Hollande’s election promises: e.g., 100% reimbursement for abortions,  even though this practice causes the death of 225,000 people each year in France, or  free contraception  for minors, as new studies reveal the harmfulness of the sometimes deadly pill.

To these evils, which are old but already aggravated by the application of these new measures, are added the interference with parenting and the denial of the sexual complementarity espoused by the so-called “marriage for all.” When François Hollande announced to the French people that he would not legalize surrogate motherhood, he lied to them, and the social consequences of this lie will be just as devastating as the Cahuzac scandal.

What is the relationship, you may object, between a minister tax evasion, the forgiveness that he is denied, abortion, and “marriage for all”? Quite simply: humanity – or rather, inhumanity. Why would anyone expect a minister to respect truth and justice when basic human rights – the right to life, the right to have a father and mother – were passed over for profits and losses at the highest levels of the State?

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