“With a style that is both concise and clear and with solid reasoning, the author reveals the duplicity and excesses of those he calls false rebels. In these times of intellectual confusion and various tailspins, this crucial book comes at just the right time—guarding against the proliferation of hate while it demands genuine debates.”
—Peer assessment committee: Martine Jacquot, Julie Kurtness and Karim Akouche
In this book, which combines historical facts with sociological concepts, Philippe Bernier Arcand examines a phenomenon that has been observable for several years and that seems to be gaining ground: the desire of certain right-wing movements to position themselves as “rebels” against the supposed hegemony of progressive thought.
From the Freedom Convoy to speeches making fun of the Woke movement or shouting down antiracism militants, more and more people are adhering to conservative values and, in the same breath, are identifying as resisters who challenge power, the media and, more generally, what they perceive as a veritable dominion of political correctness.
The idea of the rebel, which has traditionally been associated with progressive values, seems to have switched sides—by means of somewhat questionable arguments. How do we explain such a paradigm shift? What does this tendency to identify with rebellion denote? What impact does this positioning have on societal debates?
These are the questions—with all the equivocation that they entail—that Philippe Bernier Arcand examines in Faux rebelles : Les dérives du « politiquement incorrect », a book that invites the reader to open debates rather than close them.
Being right-wing and conservative is no longer a mark on one’s back. The right is associated with secularism and freedom of expression—values that used to be strongly associated with the left—and is presented as an antidote to the whims and excesses of the left. The picture has changed, it has been softened and polished, namely thanks to the confusion that thought leaders try to provoke by organizing a blurring of the lines in the ideological realm. The collateral effect of the confusion is the softening of the image of the far right’s ideology.
Philippe Bernier Arcand is a writer of non-fiction and part-time professor at Saint Paul University. He is also a columnist for L’Acadie Nouvelle. He has written four books, including Le parti québécois : d’un nationalisme à l’autre (Poètes de brousse, 2015), La dérive populiste (Poètes de brousse, 2013) and Je vote moi non plus (Amérik Média, 2009). He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
Photo: Valérie Loiseleux