“The rebel’s imagination is used to defend a form of conservatism”

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INTERVIEW. In his book, Quebec writer Philippe Bernier Arcand analyzes the swing from one camp to another of this essential figure in the public space.

Interview by Anna Bonalume

Activists at a meeting of Éric Zemmour in Villepinte, December 5, 2021. Today, the new figure of the rebel “breaks the codes of progressive discourse and political correctness”, assures the Quebec writer Philippe Bernier Arcand.
© Polyvios Anemoyannis/Hans Lucas via AFP

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HHistorically associated with progressive values, the figure of the rebel would have changed sides today. In False Rebels. The excesses of political incorrectness (Poètes de brousse), Quebec professor and writer Philippe Bernier Arcand examines a phenomenon that has been observable for several years and which seems to be on the increase: the desire of certain right-wing movements to position themselves as “rebels” in the face of an alleged hegemony of progressive thinking. How can such a reversal of paradigms be explained?

Point : What does it mean to be rebellious?

Philippe Bernier-Arcand: To be rebellious is to be in revolt against an authority or to refuse to submit to an authority. After the Second World War, with the winds of freedom in the 1960s and 1970s, authority was notably…

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