Man and Woman: Nature is Right!

In a fascinating and accessible book, Homme, femme. Ce que nous disent les neurosciences: La nature a raison! (Man Woman. What neuroscience tells us: Nature is right!) Professor René Écochard reaches into the contribution of neurosciences to explain how our biology influences our behaviors as men and women—contrary to what gender theory asserts.

The brain is a genius. It grows with us, shapes itself, operates, at each moment of life, with mechanisms, exchanges of fluids, release of hormones, so that it is at the same time a receptacle of our education and our evolution and a predisposed engine since our birth. We are born male or female. Our brain is marked, like a seal, with this quality; and an astonishing alchemy, a clever play of hormones, like a machine, is at work.

René Écochard is not a polemicist and this book, in a calm, sober, natural manner, asserts conservative ideas about the family, the couple, the function of woman and man, opposing their equality, supporting, on the other hand, their holy and beautiful complementarity, between love and war, Mars and Venus. Écochard is one of us, and consequently, opposed to the theory of gender, careful not to adhere to the progressive delusions, to the modern and deconstructionist theories, to the open world of Davos, and to wokism. If the reader is afraid of reading a book on neuroscience, he should rest reassured— the tone is simple, accessible, even though there is a substantial set of notes and a substantial biography at the end of the volume. But isn’t it the characteristic of a great scientist to allow lambda readers, like us, gain clarity of ideas and purpose, while also digesting a complex quantity of data?

The professor places the debate on the side of science, though the debate is now also informed by the political and economic challenges of a fragmented, liquid, liberal, too liberal, consumer society. So be it Also, it becomes necessary to restore the intellectual stakes of these last years. Societal progressivism claims, in the name of human rights, the absolute freedom of the individual, in the very name of his rights and even of his whims. Nothing should prevent the freedom of man, not even nature which, unjustly, works like fate. We are born a man, by chance, without having chosen. What misfortune! This kind of biological determinism is unsustainable for progressives.

Distinguishing Nature and Culture

Progressivism’s second fight is to try to distinguish nature and culture, to separate them drastically, as two things that have nothing to do with each other, and to make of the one something outdated, and of the other, a kind of a la carte menu from which one chooses everything as one pleases. Thus, a little boy can become a little girl, despite having a penis, if he decides to wear make-up. The father is a symbolic function. The family can, well, in the name of modernity and of rights, be constituted by two moms. The reign of the individual.

Professor Écochard’s book seeks to present three main points: born male or female, our biology determines part of our behavior; our education, our culture, our evolution in society are anchored to our sex disposed at birth, as if married to it. Man and woman are not undifferentiated but complementary: “The same hormones masculinize or feminize the body, but also the mind.” There is a coherence between a male body and a male personality; hence the deep distress of a society where we repeat that we are physically a man but not psychologically; that what is natural is a stereotype, therefore atrocious and oppressive, where we distinguish between gender and sex and, even more grotesquely, “gender identity” and “gender expression.” While modern society asks us, in the name of vague rights, to choose—nature takes the opposite view of Beauvoir’s famous phrase and enjoins us to observe this precept—one becomes a man because one is born a man.

Without talking about determinism, the professor well says that “human societies are not structured by genetics alone—free will enriches human life.” And to add that where progressives deny the importance of nature and the fullness of culture, it is necessary to consider a kind of concordance between biological determination and our way of being a man, a woman, based on our education and our personal trajectory: “The process of masculinization of the male brain is biological; but it is also educational; education participates in the development of the natural given which the Y chromosome establishes directly or through testosterone.”

The Evolution of Boys and Girls

The first part of the book is devoted to children and their evolution. Girls have a predominance of empathy. This is explained by the fact that boys and girls “have a natural foundation, linked in part to the higher level of testosterone in boys than in girls in the fetal period.” From childhood, we read, “the brains of girls and boys develop differently under the influence of the games that attract them, the interactions with their environment and the gaze of those around them, which indicates their horizon as women or men. All this contributes to the development of a personality whose feminine or masculine traits are gradually revealed.” It thus appears that everything is established from the conception of the child; that the child, girl or boy, is fitted by its sex with such or such characteristics which will influence its behavior, its tastes, its ideas. The mechanisms work! Let’s get on with the show!

The most relevant part of the book is the one that deals with the family. At a time when it is explained that a grandmother can be a father, at a time of the reconstituted family, single parent, model of perfect capitalism, and marriage for all in its version 2.0, the information of the professor is delightful. The family is the perfect illustration of a cultural, civilizational institution, anchored, copied in nature, sublimating the instinct of reproduction and the animal behavior of man and woman, by a sacrament and an institution. To understand that an alchemy at the level of the brain takes place between the married couple, between the mother and her child, between the father and his child, confirms and reaffirms the defense of the family according to natural law. A man tends to become a father—and the father, this changed man, chemically transformed, is irreplaceable. The conjugal bond, marriage, a cultural institution, is in perfect harmony with the natural feeling of love between a man and a woman, so much so that at the time of pregnancy “the greater the hormonal changes observed in the mother, the greater the changes observed in the father.” Amazing!

The Father Back in the Spotlight

The father resumes, under the professor’s observations, some meaning. Whereas he had been reduced to being a function, now the man who becomes a dad is transformed, “the hormonal balance of the father changes during the pregnancy of his wife; even the view of the newborn’s smile triggers a burst of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, in his parents.” How can that happen, even in the name of individual rights, with a surrogacy pregnancy? During the first months of the child, the father feels less testosterone, this drop encourages him to stay in the family nest, which has served, during evolution, to encourage the father to protect his child from threats. The model of the protective “Dad” is not just a stereotype, it is biologically posited. This is remarkable—becoming a father is not simply an apprenticeship by a method, a What-do-I-know-about-paternity, a Being-a-dad-for-dummies—but on the contrary happens naturally. “Even later, the man undergoes a kind of metamorphosis; seeing his wife breastfeeding, he also benefits from a hormonal shift that strengthens his attachment to his wife and their child. The same hormone therefore serves as a vector to nourish the child and to strengthen the bonds.”

This book will therefore be a necessary vade-mecum for all Catholic supporters of natural law and those who want to justify their principles with factual and scientific data that will reassure us about our ideas and our struggle.


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef.


Featured image: “Das Stelldichein” (The Tryst), by Carl Schweninger d. J. Painted ca. 1903.

Hugs From Oelenberg

In Alsace, doing a retreat with monks is not an easy thing to do. The misfortune and turmoil of the Wars of Religion set this region ablaze, with its scenes of ravaged abbeys, massacres of monks, and forced exile. Ecumenism started rather badly. The Cistercian abbey of Our Lady of Oelenberg retains yet the presence of the monasteries of yesterday.

We have to follow the great blue line of the Vosges, cross Mulhouse, the city of blues, its factories, its industrial works. On the plateau of Réningue is the abbey, situated on a hill, bordered by the Oelen. It is an extensive building, with farmhouses forming a wall. A small Jesuit chapel with a pointed roof stands out and the basilica is enthroned in the center, topped by two grey-green bell towers, admirable for its standard facade of brown tanned sandstone. The whole abbey is situated on a long strip of land where the potato fields never end. The paths, traced out to the rule, go on without you seeing the end. The water-logged holes in the soil are iced over. The snowy mountains, in the distance, are an elusive decor; the Mongolia of the Sundgau. At this time of year, a bitter-cold hits the face, freezes the tractor tracks and the horses’ hooves in the hard earth. The pale sun promises beautiful shades, plays with the gray clouds, delights the morning with a clear, egg-yellow light, and the afternoon with an exquisite clementine orange.

The interior of the church is a neo-Romanesque construction, made of lime and sandstone, with a choir similar to the basin of the municipal baths of Strasbourg, from the beginning of the 20th century, and surmounted by a Virgin and Child, noble and fat. The stained-glass windows, made of orange diamonds, diffuse a peaceful light. The monks’ stalls are carved in Alsatian woodwork; some sculptures show two monkeys scratching their heads—a warning to distracted monks—one carved brother is stabbing the devil in the back, another is snoozing on a barrel.

Oelenberg suffered through the war. In the basement, cellars and a subway entrance were built by the poilus who numbered 1500 and were stationed at the place where the abbot-fathers rest eternally. In 1945, the French defeated the Krauts in the abbey, at the cost of deaths that the Blue Devils wearing their pie-hats honor every year. A proud and virile military choir resounded during the Saturday mass, sending shivers down your spine.

Oelenberg Abbey is huge, the corridors resemble those of the old elementary school, of my childhood, of yours, dear readers, with its small mosaic floor, its green-water walls. In the old days when there were many monks, they ate in a refectory famous for its central stained glass window representing Christ on the cross and for a series of paintings on the life of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. The place has become a vast library where in turn one picks up Yves Chiron, Joseph de Maistre, Origen and Jacques Maritain who is buried in Alsace.

Behind a heavy door, in the first part of the monastery, is the Jesuit chapel, built in homage to Leo IX, the Alsatian pope from Eguisheim. The Renaissance crucifix is a Germanic masterpiece.

The body is imposing, massive, the ribs slumped and drawn, the arms muscular, the fingers enormous, the legs athletic. The blood flows from the loincloth of Christ, thickly. You have to approach under the Lord’s cross, under the crown of thorns, if you go to the left, the face is slack, it is dead; if you look to the right, Christ smiles, seems to live. Death conquers the true man, but the true God already triumphs over death.

There are only ten of them left now. They were one hundred and fifty in the last century. Ten monks live here; for such a big place, it is truly incredible. They are white and black shadows that we never meet, busy in this cold, decrepit legos game. Like the factories without workers that are said to be deserted, it could have been the deadly fate of this last abbey to close up shop, to end up as a museum of slippers or chocolate if some vocations given by the Lord were not going to, at least, ensure a small relief. Two robust, sturdy novices, in no way comparable to the products of the globalized metropolis, are there; one looks like a young Solzhenitsyn, the other like a rugby player.

We are first welcomed by a gentleman, Bertrand, who is very simple. In my life, I have never known a man so gentle and so good. He has the sanctity of those who have fallen six times and risen seven. He is an old man, humble; his look is that of a lamb; his eyes blue like the calm sea. He pats you on the shoulder, pats you on the back, is devoted to you, concerned like a father for his children. He is the pure heart of the Beatitudes, the satisfied, the peacemaker. Before leaving us, this man who gets up early, at matins, to prepare the table for the retreatants until the evening of compline, tells us, “With God, no compromise;” and adds, “Do not seek to please men, please God.” A radical Christian.

Father Dominique-Marie, the Abbot, goes from one door to another in his white robe. He has the look of a wise man. His voice is restrained, calm, always well considered. A former schoolteacher with an old-fashioned beard, he entered the monastery in his fifties, anxious to observe the three precepts of the rule of Saint Benedict: obedience, stability, conversion. This man was converted. Converted? But wasn’t he already a Christian? The conversion of which the Father-Abbot speaks is that which consists in putting God at the center of everything that links love, beauty, the arts, joy. There is a gentleness, a lightness and a surprising familiarity in this abbot. He is easy to talk to; he visits you at the retreatants’ table, accepts a piece of cake, refuses to have his ring kissed. He is a religious open to progress, to dialogue, but without this becoming an untenable “nevertheless.” He is resolutely critical of the consequences of the great liturgical and religious choices of the last Council and can only observe the fall, with fifty years of the practice, of the Catholic faith during Masses where there have sometimes been quite a few abuses, in an effort to make a fresh start.

In the winter chapel, the offices are said simply, in a limited Gregorian style that pierces like the arrow that is not heard as we hope in the great Latin spectacle of other abbeys. The prior, a very old monk, Agecanonix in a gown, who walks around with a walker, gives the first note, ahead with the music. And the service is like a small river among the mountains, where pebbles roll in a stream, pushed by the whistling of the wind in nature.

If Bernard Pivot were to give me his Questionnaire again, from the time of Bouillon de culture, to the question “The sound and noise you prefer?” I would gladly answer, “The bell that strikes in the night to announce matins.” We are roused from sleep and from bed. Psalm 3, sung at night, has an invigorating and pacifying effect on me. David flees from his son Absalom and says, “I awake: the Lord is my help/ I will not fear this many people/ who surround me and come against me/ All my enemies you strike in the jaw/ The wicked you break their teeth.” The God sung in the psalms delights me. He is good like a father, loving and stern. He embraces you and does good; performs wonders and breaks necks. It is good to start the day with a banner and a God who does not balk.

At the table, the encounters are original and also testify to the diversity in the unity of the Church. Yes, it is good for traditionalists to meet brothers in the faith who do not practice the same form, do not always think alike. A husband is preparing to be a deacon, only hears zilch in Latin, gets tense at the idea of prayers downstairs in the hall, doesn’t understand that if he can be a deacon it is because vocations are dwindling like snow in the sun; a ninety-two year old Swiss grandmother spends her vacations; a younger woman, so like a character in a Houellebecq book, came to take stock of her life; a good father who is expecting his fourth child came to recharge his batteries, baptized in the Jordan River, capable of crying when he talks about Christ.

During this short retreat, I still wanted to penetrate the mystery of this total conversion that the monks seek, I wanted to feel the mystery of faith, and, without having understood it yet, I draw as near as I can.


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef.


A Case For Teaching The Humanities

“I am Roman because Rome, from the time of the consul Marius and the divine Julius to Theodosius, drafted the first form of my France. I am Roman, because Rome, the Rome of priests and popes, has given eternal solidarity of sentiment, of morals, of language, of worship, to the political work of Roman generals, administrators and judges. By this treasure, which it received from Athens and transmitted that deposit to our Paris, Rome means without question the civilization of humanity. I am Roman, I am human: two identical propositions.” These words from the pen of Charles Maurras in Barbares et Romains (Barbarians and Romans) form a vibrant praise not only of Rome, the sweet anaphora, but also of civilization, conveying tradition and transmission and not oblivion and renunciation; perpetuation and not the clean slate; community and not individuality; permanence and not rupture.

For a few days now, the Minister of National Education has seemed inclined to see the teaching of Latin and Greek return to middle and high schools. The Latinist that I am and who used to unveil to students the mysteries of rosa, rosae can only be pleased. However, I am not fooled by these dupes. This kind of announcement is certainly enough to make a whole section of the conservative university and academic intelligentsia of the center-right feel good about the woke and progressive drifts already well underway, with inclusive language, the satanic and non-gendered pronoun “iel” and the convoluted discussions about male domination in language.

We shouldn’t imagine that the Macronian renaissance is about to be launched, as other renaissances were in the course of our history. Minister Blanquer is a liberal-conservative, certainly, but does not have the courage to be conservative. Is he the most cynical of the bunch? That is quite possible—he has already sabotaged the BA degree, reduced to a pittance, and is in favor of the digital school and even of the digital kindergarten.

If I were naive, I would believe that this sudden impulse is inspired by the spirit of Lucien Jerphagnon, whose death, ten years ago, we are commemorating and whose birth we are celebrating a hundred years later. Father Jerph was one of those sparkling, light spirits that contrast with the dullness and pomposity of academics. He was inhabited by joy, the kind of joy that delights youth, lifts the heart, sharpens the soul, and makes it rise above all misfortunes, torments, and distresses. The true joy of knowledge. Lucien Jerphagnon was neither of the Left, nor of the Right, nor a Marxist, nor an intellectual at the forefront of research. He was freelance and classical; close to Paul Veyne by originality, Désiré Nisard by taste, Jean Bayet by academic outlook.

His was a strange life: he dressed like a monk and was ordained a priest; then, a passionate lover, turned into a happy husband and ended up as a patriarch. He was in turn a theologian, historian of ideas, translator and philosopher; of high class, of good style, careful to be versatile if he could not manage the modern complexity of reality. Plotinus was his tender companion, with whom one shares a cigarette and a glass of cognac. In love with Augustine, he knew how to render the full measure of this author. A gifted young scholar, who became a professor in Milan in his thirties when others were at the Collège de France in their twilight. Jerpha revived Madauros, a university town in northern Algeria, that supreme and delicate refinement of Romanization, where Augustine, the orator Maximus, Apuleius and Martianus Capella lived. His biography of Julian the Apostate seeks to understand how a philosopher-emperor thought he could return to paganism and make Christianity a footnote in history. An unresolved death by the side of Mosul clinched it—Christianity would triumph.

Jerphagnon was a philosopher of time and banality. Influenced by Vladimir Jankélévitch, he was concerned with understanding the everyday, the alltäglichkeit, as Heidegger politely said, pretext to all the astonishments, typical of the wise. He was a serious discoverer of forgotten authors such as Marcus Varro or Favorinus of Arles; a historian of ideas of high caliber who made us understand, in les Divins Césars (The Divine Caesars), why the emperors of the 2nd century thought they were the sun and who envisaged Rome as the center of a cosmos—all the while writing with amusement and enjoyment a formidable history of Rome.

The young Lucien at the high school in Bordeaux was bored during a mathematics class. On his knees, he flipped through a book containing a few photos of the ruins of Timgad, the Palmyra of Algeria: “That’s where I want to live and die,” the young lad said to himself. From heaven came down a voice: “Jerphagnon, you will make up two hours!” Then his teacher stuck a future specialist in the Greco-Roman world. “I could never get used to the fact that Rome was dead,” confessed the wise old man to José Saramago, “because I loved it since my 6th grade. I lived my life there, faithful to this love of Roman civilization.” What a beautiful profession of faith!

If Lucien Jerphagnon is to be made an exemplum, let’s not forget that in matters of education, the Left is chopping our legs and causing us many problems. And this is not the end of the story! I hold as proof Vincent Peillon who writes in la Révolution française n’est pas terminée (The French Revolution is not Finished) that it is necessary to reinvent the revolution of the spirit, with the aim of destroying at all costs the Catholic religion and to invent a republican religion. This requires the total conversion of the elites and the young to the sciences and the disappearance of Latin and Greek, languages of the old regime, of Catholicism, of bourgeois domination.

Such is the pinnacle of the freemasons: radical leftists yesterday, social-democrats today; old-fashioned, stuck in the Third Republic, detached from reality and perfectly barbaric, since they claim, shamelessly, not to transmit any more, to cut themselves off from tradition and civilization. They swear only by individualities in the perspective of human rights. Now they promise inclusiveness, flattering the youth, corrupting it with vague ideas about freedom and equality.

In an interview given on TV in 1958, Pagnol felt the problem looming: specialization, the end of the humanities and the science of the technocrat. Specialization, by reducing the fields, reduces the possibilities of linking the fields. To have a rational mind is precisely to see relationships. But if the objects no longer exist, the relationships can no longer be made. It can only result in an impoverishment of thought. National education goes even further, since it has given up training literate people, to preparing only future employees for the labor market. The best will be slug-brain specialists, dumbed down like tabletops, the least good will be cashiers at Franprix, salesmen at Prisunic.

The professors stuff the heads of young people with new ideas, smelling of Pierre Bourdieu, ready-made and passed off as revealed truths, so they themselves can continue to dine at the faculty club during silly seminars on anti-racism in literature, and history colloquiums on North African minorities in the gay Paris of the 1920s. The education of yesteryear has degenerated into a total moron-factory based on the ideological teaching of soft sciences. We are far from the gentleman, far from the humanist, far from the cosmopolitan scholar.

Getting beyond her gavel, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem completed the work, explaining that Latin classes would be for the children of the rich and privileged, that elective classes had to be abolished, and that antiquity had to be made accessible to all by diluting Latin in French courses, thus putting ancient language courses to death in a gentle way; a bit like euthanasia.

Between this caricatured, barbaric Left, in the very sense in which Maurras took it, some have retained the opinion of Raymond Aron in this matter, like Paul Veyne, our dear friend, whose opinion that Latin and Greek should be abolished in secondary school and that a national establishment should be created to train solid scientists and researchers, I do not quite understand. This is a mistake. To dedicate Latin to research is to render it autistic; to leave it in the hands of the colloquium-makers who titillate the coffee-brewers and the editors of scientific articles in obscure journals is to render it mute, invisible, extinct.

It doesn’t matter if people are interested in Aristophanes’ scholia, or in the placement of an accent on a word in a twelfth-century manuscript in the Vatican library. One does not ask young people to read the Pharsalus in the original, even yours truly would not be able to do so. But to have a good head, made robust by the training in, and knowledge of, Greek tragedy, the functioning of the Athenian city, the Peloponnesian war told by Thucydides, the epic of Alexander the Great, Latin and Greek rhetoric, the work of Cicero, Caesar and Augustus, the personality of Seneca, elegiac poetry, Virgil, the bloody and mannered histories of Tacitus, the orientalism of the emperors, 312 and our world that has become Christian. It is grand to arrive, by love of the rei latinae, to the character of Des Esseintes in À Rebours by Huysmans who, in chapter III, gives us the menu of his likes and dislikes of all literature, criticizing the Chickpea (Cicero), judging the verses of a phony and vain poet, and preferring in the “fin de siècle” Roman authors the rot and the carrion, and at times the supreme refinement of precious stones and topazes.

I do not believe in progressivism and personal development, nor even in the scientific and academic elitism left to the Giscards of thought. I firmly believe in the tradition of inheriting and transmitting, of passing on the work of Hellenic-Christian civilization, from generation to generation. This is achieved through solid and serious learning of civilization, through language and grammar, literature, philosophy and history. It is necessary to go through the pain of declensions and conjugations; to make the effort, as in Pétanque, to have access to the texts, to their style; to reflect on the words and their concepts in order to understand the civilization. Nothing is more precious than to know the feeling of the language, to understand the spirit of an era.

This apparent need for Latin and Greek can take three forms: as a declaration in an electoral context; resistance and head-on opposition to progressivism; or a reconciliation with Wokism. The problem is not so much what Minister Blanquer says or thinks, but what the left-wing ideological machine, the Éducation Nationale, is capable of producing. The teacher conforms to the Houellebecquian image of the tired West. The teachers are mostly mediocre, cowardly and subscribe, under contract, to all the sickness of the modern world: deconstruction, diversity, immigration, inclusion, in the public as well as in the private. If this impulse for antiquity gets mixed up, dare I say it, with this kind of progressive thinking, it would do equally bad things for the mental health of our young people. I can already imagine the titles of the courses: “Migratory Crisis in Roman Gaul;” “the Roman Baths: A Space of Hybridization for Minorities;” “Conspiracy and Fake News: The Catiline Conspiracy;” “Being a Slave and Gay in Ephesus;” “Transidentity in Rome.” What a wonderful antiquity!

What we need are professors who are like Hussars in full cavalry at Jena—scholars like Bernard Lugan, like Marc Fumaroli; focused minds concerned with civilization—like Valéry, Thibaudet; intransigent polemicists—like Bloy or Julien Benda. The rest will follow. I began with Maurras, I end with Charles Péguy and Notre Jeunesse (Our Youth): ” What this entry was for me, in sixth grade, at Easter— the astonishment, the newness before rosa, rosae, the opening of an entire world, completely different, an altogether new world. That is what needs to be said, but that would get me tangled up in fondness. The grammarian who just the one time, the first, opens the Latin grammar on rosa, rosae will never know on which flowerbed he is opening the child’s soul.”


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef.


Featured image: “Etruscan Vase Painters,” by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, painted in 1871.

The Left-Right Hacks Of The Legacy Media

Readers may have seen the heated argument between Laure Adler and Franz Olivier Giesbert on TV. The lady journalist, a peroxide blonde with sausage lips and tightened skin, reproached FOG for having written in his latest book, Histoire intime de la Vème République (Intimate History of the Fifth Republic) that on his way to the Saint-Charles train station via the Cannebière, he could no longer hear French spoken. And then… My God! What drama! Horresco referens! The cries of outrage by the lady journalist rendered Giesbert immobile. FOG, cornered, defended himself for being a white man and for being, on the contrary, cosmopolitan. “You are white and proud of it. There are not enough white people around you,” concluded Mrs. Adler, who then came to the conclusion that her colleague’s remarks were racist, which left him speechless.

Now I’m not one to comment on the skits flashing on cathode-ray screens, but the head-on clash of these two journalists was to me a hilarious episode with a calamitous moral and laughable conclusions, revealing what is wrong in France for both of them: the disconnect of the elites and the consequences of the real world finally made visible.

Being familiar with Christophe Guilluy, I could only think back to his analyses in Fractures françaises (French Fractures), where he notes the irreparable and final separation of the cities where the darling children of globalism live and those who live in the peripheries. The former despise the latter politically and culturally and loathe and reject their electoral options and political opinions. They are the “In” and “bottom up” people; and on the other hand, there are the penniless, the sweaty, the “down.” The first ones are rootless, post-national, from everywhere and nowhere; while the other ones, rooted and religious, represent the moldy, Petainist, reactive, eternally anti-Semitic France. We know how it goes. In this story, very nearly a farce, these two hacks of the left and center-right journalism are retailers who buy from the same wholesaler, the other side of the same coin. Have a look.

Let’s start with Franz Olivier Giesbert, a Marseille native at heart, who feels at home in this cosmopolitan city and who says so loud and clear. To be a cosmopolitan like Paul Morand, to stay at the Ritz and the Danieli in Venice, to travel the length and breadth of Europe, to be a great performer at Savile Row and Times Square, I can understand that. To be a great European like Ernst Jünger, handling French as well as German, conscious of a concert of nations, I am can go along with that—but a cosmopolitanism which is the prerogative of an elite, sure of being heir to its own civilization, like Valéry, Nietzsche, Zweig, Fumaroli.

The current cosmopolitans, thus modern and not inhabited by the old world, make the mistake of applying as a universal principle their own bourgeois life to the whole world, of maintaining that there is no nation, of subscribing to miscegenation and diversity for the people below, while never living within the diversity they cherish, still feeling protected by their areas of residence and having renounced civilization in favor of a living-together, based on human rights, relativism and consumerism.

Giesbert does not understand that the problem lies in the shift from quality to quantity. There is strength in numbers. One goes from a conversation of literates who speak French in Vienna to a suburban RER station in Clichy la Garenne. What is seen as the diplomacy of the spirit now becomes, by its application in general law, a mixing of cultures stupidly qualified as wealth. Living together does not work because people from different countries, coming in too large numbers, poor, concentrated in certain places, no longer seek to assimilate into France, into the French, into French work. Everything has been done to prevent them from doing so.

One must read Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities to see that the American situation is not so far from what FOG is experiencing in Marseille. Diasporas live together, speak their dialect, their language, and end up hating each other. Giesbert is Sherman MacCoy who discovers reality: multiculturalism is cosmopolitanism from below, for the masses and for the poor, which does not produce anything happy. The Lebaneseization of our country is the symptom of an archipelago which, when these islands come together, will, alas, set off fireworks.

Giesbert’s reaction reminds me of Bossuet’s cult phrase “God laughs at men who deplore the consequences while they cherish the causes.” Giesbert, the defender of liberalism, of laissez-faire, supporter of Maastrichtian Europeanism, sometimes Mitterrandian, sometimes Chiracian, sometimes Sarkozist, is caught in the contradictions of his own ideology. No, France is not McDonald’s; people do not come as they are. No, it is not enough to work and respect the laws to make a nation. This is already the vice of liberalism, which prefers belonging to labor capital over and above cultural belonging. The great replacement is a fact, but it needs a genitive, as we say in Latin, to be the great replacement of France from below by the immigration of work that has become that of settlement. In the logic of liberalism, a lawyer does not have to be replaced by a Kosovar or Congolese lawyer, but a plasterer, a sushi delivery man, and yes, a security guard. Perhaps, Mr. Giesbert realizes in his old age what is happening, like the sad sire, Onfray, supporter of Zemmour, like our dear Jean-Marie Rouart, former Freemason turned Catholic, in a successful book, Ce pays des hommes sans Dieu (This Land of Men without God).

It is precisely because Franz-Olivier Giesbert is beginning to understand that Laure Adler, judge and jury, felt obliged to point out his curious, tendentious and dangerous remarks. She is the illustration of what has become of the sixty-eight year-old Left. I can’t help but think of that acidic book by Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, in which he describes Leonard Bernstein, cashmere sweater over his shoulders, raising his fist in the air when he meets a Black Panther activist. This bourgeois Left has taken power through a cultural coup d’état (just as it did in 1789), by taking over the subsidized positions in culture, radio, newspapers, universities, national education, and the European Parliament. Mrs. Adler, fifty years of political and intellectual journalism on France culture, has been the red carpet of all the intellectualism of the last decades, selling us autistic feminism, hysterical anti-racism, blissful Europeanism, the culture of the margins, and deconstruction by those crazy people from Derrida, Althusser and Co.

For Ms. Adler, being offended by the fact that French is no longer spoken in France is racist. What!? Any country that wants to survive can only do so through a people, a land, a language. The self-righteousness of a bourgeoisie so outdated, outraged in front of reality, speaks volumes about the state of the disconnect. Mrs. Adler reproaches Giesbert for being white and for wanting to surround himself with white people. But does she herself really surround herself with people of diversity? In her milieu, is she not surrounded by people of her own class? Like over at Mediapart, where there is not a single French person of foreign origin but only an assembly of granivores. The only blacks or Arabs that Laure Adler sees are her cleaning lady, her Uber delivery man, the guy who checks her Hermès bag at the entrance to BHV or her looks at her Covid passport. The cynicism of ideas has a face. Tolerance, no-frontierism, crazy anti-racism all have accompanied liberalism’s own desire to see Mohamed Charkaoui’s grandson, a plasterer who arrived in 1975, become a parcel deliveryman. A drift of the capitalism of connivance.

Since the revolution eats its children and an abundance of rulers is detrimental, Mrs. Adler understands that it was necessary, at her age, to reinvent herself. One would almost have thought that Mitterrand had come back. But here she is, subscribing to Wokism to stay in the game and to survive on TV, where everything is understood in terms of skin color, oppression and minorities.

On the Left, she adheres to the most ridiculous anti-racism, but she also subscribes to the long speech of the neoliberal candidate Macron in Marseille in 2017, who saw in the Phocaean city Ghanaians, Moroccans, Algerians, Congolese, Italians, Portuguese, Turks, Brazilians and tutti quanti, but not a single French person of foreign origin. The irony is that this Marxist Left, fifty years on, like a Dumas novel, has gone from the Mao scarf to the Rotary Club. It is Goupil that loathes the Yellow Vests, the con Bandit, agent of the Americans in the European Union, old Glucksmann who supported the war in Iraq.

That the media hacks of power tear each other apart is self-evident; that they do so in public can be embarrassing. But it reveals a certainty: fools ever glory in what should shame them—it is the height of foolishness.


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef.


Featured image: “The Pig-faced Woman and the Spanish Mule” Caricature by George Cruikshank, published 21 March 1815.

Marc Fumaroli: Between War And Peace

There are men whose very appearance makes them sturdy and dazzling; at times sober, at times flambotant; who say everything and justify everything, like a crusader’s armor or a bishop’s paramour. Marc Fumaroli (1932-2020) was one such man. His attire was always impeccable: three-piece suit from Arnys, club tie, velour jacket. He went with the old buildings, the silks and the tapestries, belonging to the altar as well as the throne. If elegance, the last marker of civilization, was to put forward its man, both a great academic and an eminent man of letters, then it could be none other than he, among the great Frenchmen of our time.

One does not need to be a great soul to see that the world of the university is a cesspool, made up of people who have sacrificed everything to it. If they succeed, it’s because they had an idea once long ago, which they keep recycling for years on end, and rest on comfortable academic laurels. Their bourgeois conformity outweighs their worldliness, and if they dare to think, it is often sideways.

There are however some great names, some beautiful figures, who have understood everything, acquired everything, conquered everything. “Fuma” had the insolent lightness to float in the honors, to hold a bibliography as a work; and this way to be a library addict and to give thanks and account with measure; to arrive at fascinating ideas, the whole formulated by admirable syntheses, handled with panache. His Excellency Fumaroli was of those breed of lords, if I may say so, to which Albert Thibaudet, Julien Benda, Claude-Levi Strauss, Roger Caillois or Paul Valéry belonged; these people of letters with superior intelligence, extensive science, profound erudition, and substantial traits that we lack.

The work of Marc Fumaroli is abundant but concentrated around a beautiful unity: the Europe of letters, ideas and spirit. It would be too long to elaborate it in detail, but let us note the importance that his Eminence gave to the Republic of Letters and the circulation of ideas, from the humanists to the 18th century salon; to this Europe that spoke and wrote in French. In the field of rhetoric, of which he held the chair at the Collège de France, the master was interested in its modern leanings and in the reception of Greek and Roman rhetoric in the Grand Siècle, mastered and studied earlier by Professor Laurent Pernot; hence the remarkable pages devoted to the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns.

Above all, Fumaroli was a literary historian who devoted part of his research to the history of the French language, to the institution of the language and to the way in which France became aware of the greatness and the supreme and precious good of its language. Hence the genius of the French language, the lavish allegory, and the Académie française. The notion of taste animated in a particular way the work of this prince of letters, with all its variations, the nuances between the style and the sensitivity. One might see finally, in the twilight, an old man rehearsing the correspondence between the arts, passing from literature to painting, from poetry to sculpture, declaiming his love for Watteau and Fragonard; the last refuge, if it is such, of beauty and elegance.

Fumaroli was of the Right. That is understood. Liberal, he was close to Raymond Aron; conscious of the inequality among men; vindictive towards egalitarianism. The cultural state he never forgave, and yet incisive as a cut of knife on steak he hinted at a theory of the free arts and the freedoms in the most priceless of art, right in front of the sad passions of the sinister Jack Lang, from the cultural to the sewer.

Nationalist and sovereigntist, Fumaroli was hardly any of that. Deducing that custom is better than reform, he was conservative. Reactionary, he conceived the love of the glorious past and of the monarchies of the Ancien Régime, nostalgic of the big and beautiful Europe, of the books, of the thought, of the great names.

His sharp pen, shielded under some corduroy and tweed canvases, could be acidic, even malicious. When a socialist circular sought to impose the feminization of the names of professions in French, he could refrain from irony and brilliant wit: “notairesse (“notaryess”), mairesse (“mayoress”), doctoresse (“doctoress”), chefesse (“chefess”)… rhyme importunately with fesse (butt), borgnesse (“one-eyed woman”) and drôlesse (“hussy”), only very distantly evoking a duchess. Let’s choose between recteuse (“rectoress”), rectrices “rectrix”) and rectale (“rectal”)…”

In the posthumous book just published, Dans ma bibliothèque, la guerre et la paix (In my library, war and peace), Marc Fumaroli expresses once and for all his views and observations about Europe. Like ideas nurtured for decades, this old man in his green suit delivers a fascinating cornucopia, made incredible by the truths that it delivers, all the ideas that are linked. As the author indicates, this book does not follow any method. Rather, it is a ramble, which follows winding paths, forks in the road, deviations.

The book sometimes gives the impression of a messy work, where the author puts down everything he knows, adding reference after reference, one idea after another, giving the feeling sometimes of losing his purpose – war and peace. It must be said that we are far inferior to the master in following him. It is Europe that we hold in our hands; just like that feeling with la Litterature europeenne et le moyen age latin (European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages) of Curtius.

It is not possible to repeat all the ideas put forward in this book by Marc Fumaroli, so numerous are they. But here is its essence – war and peace have been two opposite poles that have built European civilization, a creative and destructive principle, a kind of duet in which one part does not go without the other; but also a duel that feeds, according to the reigns, wars and peace treaties, artistic creation, taste and consciences.

Thus, Fumaroli developed and detailed an entire triptych. The Iliad and the Aeneid are, first of all, founding texts of war and peace. The Greek work resembles a perpetuum mobile of conflicts between lordships, as one finds them in the Italy of the Renaissance, which fed the history of men like a kind of dynamic.

The Trojan war had a moral reason – the unfaithful wife and the deceived husband; but it does not have a political or economic purpose. Menelaus returns with his lady; Agamemnon is murdered; Achilles as well as Ajax are killed; Ulysses struggles to return; and Aeneas has an appointment with his destiny. War does not create vast ensembles; it sanctifies lives and destinies.

As for the Aeneid, it prepares Rome. Aeneas is, before being a pious civilized warrior, a diplomat who prepares the reign to come of Augustus. The Latin work announces the pax romana, based on the need to make war to impose peace, the perpetual peace, that we will find in two times – at the time of the respublica christiana, developed by Augustine in the City of God, and then with the Treaty of Westphalia, following the Thirty Years War.

Fumaroli masterfully devotes a large part of his work to France, mother of ideas, arts and letters, domina of Europe from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century: “Richelieu invented the concept of the European concert. He made the European Republic of Letters admit that the role of conductor was reserved for France.”

Peace and war marked the reign of Louis XIV; and Versailles, as the center of Europe, illustrated, by its opulence and splendor, this opposition. The Hall of Mirrors presented to the world the true power of France – it was France that made war on Spain; and above all it was France that imposed peace on Spain. The disastrous outcome of the War of the Spanish Succession, the libertine regency and the bankruptcy, paved the way for a kingdom less sure of itself, in retreat on the geopolitical level, acquiescing to peace.

War and peace were also embodied in two characters: Bossuet and Fénelon. One was a supporter of a Gallican Church, quick to serve the altar and the throne; the other, a critical observer of power, who made ready, according to the theory of quietism, a desirable pax catholica in Europe at war. This peace was the message delivered by les Aventures de Télémaque (The Adventures of Telemachus), a book of bedside reading and of apprenticeship, for the young dauphin, written by Fénelon.

Only the century of Louis XV was one of weakness – the aristocracy was more and more autistic and did not play its role anymore; the bourgeoisie got ready for the next coup d’état – that of 1789. Finance and technocracy joined forces. War was no longer of any use. It is then that one realizes with Fumaroli, that peace is not a value in itself nor war a moral fault or a misfortune; and that, conversely, a war contributes to glory and peace, and peace leads to weakness and failure.

As well, Fumaroli showed the rise of a royal art. This Louis-Quatorzian art, if not a baroque art, borrowed from papal and Catholic Rome, and is properly Gallican on the one hand, perpetuated by the rocaille, country style of a Watteau until 1740, then formed by Greek and Roman art, marked by the conflict between the Ancients and the Moderns: “[This art] concealed in France the fundamental historical quarrel about the establishment and the legitimacy of the French absolute monarchy, a quarrel whose echoes resounded in the favorable ears of several Jansenist circles of the kingdom. The court of Versailles took sides during the lifetime of Louis XIV for the Ancients, which it endowed in 1701 with an Academy of Inscriptions.”

The Comte de Caylus was a craftsman. This man is both unknown and impressive. An antiquarian, he had, in the sense that the literary gives it, the vibrant passion and the sensitive taste of antiquity; engraver, archaeologist and aesthete, he knew how to give the impulse of antiquity to the taste and the aesthetics of the kingdom.

At first, close to Watteau, whose biography he wrote, he spoke of the complicity of a generation which had altogether been distanced from war and brought closer to the arts of peace: “The tender memory that I keep of Watteau, of the friendship that I had for him, and of the gratitude that I had for him all my life, led me discover, as much as it was possible in him, the subtleties of his art.” Caylus broke with Ovid and was renewed by Homer and Virgil, just as he broke with Watteau, and the shepherds, and the gioia di vivere. With Wickelmann, he shared the feeling of having come too late; therefore, he mourned, nostalgically, for the ancient world. The return to Greek aesthetics implied, if not a rebirth, at least a return to war, to the martial tone and to heroic assurance in the arts.

The last part of this triptych covers the twentieth century and the emergence of nationalism with Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Grossman’s Life and Fate. The liberal and romantic inspiration contrasts with absolutism and royal dynasty. Something deep and visceral accompanies the formation of nation states. Napoleon waged wars of conquest, a “crusade for nothing,” as Léon Daudet would say, in the name of an expansion of an idea, that of French universalism, born of the liberalism of the French Revolution. The nation as an everyday plebiscite, according to Renan, is formed by the adhesion of a people.

All this is summarized by Fumaroli, in these words: “It is not a king who makes war on another king nor an army on another army, but a people against another people.” Here is Europe, determined amidst the emergence of nations and the fall of empires. Modern war compared to the classical, ancient war, shows a qualitative leap.

Fumaroli reminds us that modern war reaches the degree of destruction that is attributed to it by the number of soldiers that it digests and carries, the mass levies that the nations have, the patriotism injected into the consciousness of war that formalizes and freezes the belligerents, the use of materials such as coal and the use of technology. War and Peace is the modern version of an Iliad, where the death of Prince Andre, mowed down by a French bomb shrapnel on the battlefield of Borodino, is the equivalent of the death of Hector under the blows of Achilles in Book XXII. The implacable Fate of Homer is transported into the mystery of the God of Christian love. And Fumaroli takes up the association of peace-corruption and war-salvation for the 19th and 20th centuries.

Life and Fate, as Fumaroli points out, recapitulates the poetry of the two great ancient epics, the Iliad and the Aeneid, divided between the celebration of noble warrior heroes and the curse of battle and its ignoble massacres. Grossman’s novel is torn between goodness, hidden in the description of the mutual relentlessness of the fascist and Soviet evil against the impervious goodness that perseveres beneath the apocalyptic surface of the Final Solution and the Battle of Stalingrad. The madness and mystery of war. Tolstoy’s Homeric heroes are succeeded by two totalitarian democracies. inspired, says Fumaroli, by France of Robespierre’s Terror and by Bonapartist absolutism, “engaging more decisively in mass extermination at home and mass warfare abroad.”

With regard to the last part of the triptych, we can make three observations. First, this Mitterrandian vision of a nationalism that leads to war seems rather stale. The idea that Napoleon is the origin of a degeneration of European consciousness and the father of conflicts between nations, which was good enough to explain the Second World War and totalitarianism, is now somewhat outdated.

Nazism is not, then, the consequence of a nationalist sentiment, of a love of one’s country, of a desire to be at home. It is a German problem in Germany. Nazism, even if it is extreme right-wing, is an idealistic and biological productivism that is strictly German; and it is a mistake to believe that all nationalistic paths lead to it. It is not a nationalism that metastasized but, on the contrary, in the wake of the concert of nations, the expansion of a great European project, of which the Reich would be at the head; a project that rebuffed the old generation of Action Française. such as, Maurras or Bainville, nationalists, and which delighted the Lucien Rebatet, Brasillach or Leon Degrelle, fascists. This literary and intellectual point and this quarrel of generations are both missing

If Europe, finally, is better than nationalisms, and if greater Europe interests us, what is the political purpose of this one? Who leads Europe? Which institutions? Which country? Who has the power? The European Union? This vast joke cannot satisfy us. How can we believe that European technocracy, co-opted, would find the necessary resources to substitute itself for elected monarchs, presidents and ministers, subject to a vote?

Now, there will be no more Fumaroli. Our Cheetah has made his last turn. Going through the whole of his work on war and peace, one can resolutely take up the phrase of Marshal Lyautey, “But they are crazy! A war between Europeans is a civil war.”


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef.


The featured image shows, “Portrait of Marc Fumaroli, seated,” by François Legrand; painted in 2014.

Roman Joy

We will never tire of Rome. There is an ever-present joy in descending from the Quirinale, where the lies the mummy, Draghi, and entering the Field of Mars. A first love glows every time. You spend your day crisscrossing this heavy city, crushed under the domes, sedimented under the layers of time and ruins. Rome resembles a scraped and re-scratched palimpsest. On a speech by Cicero is inscribed a sermon by Augustine; on an elegiac poem, a lustful sonnet by Pietro Bembo. The precept of Lavoisier in chemistry becomes a rule: Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.

The Sol Invictus, luminous and virile divinity, was adored by the military and by Aurelian. According to Paul Valéry, this glaring fault holds within it the power of creation, the drive of life, good health. In its wake, Saint Faith of Rome, a martyr of the second century, daughter of Sophia, sister of Elpis and Agape. Hadrian arrested them, was captivated by their beauty and piety, but decided to put them to death. Faith was stripped, tortured; from the torn off breasts flowed milk. Supported by her mother in her ordeal, her head was cut off.

In Via Veneto there is the Martini sign, fizzing in the night, red-orange, like a new sun; a huge invitation to party – new rites and mysteries of a modern temple: Consumption. Rome is the concrete idea of permanence.

Visiting Rome over the years consists of constantly sifting through treasures with your eyes. First, thinking about the elementary things and then ending up moving for a painting by a 16th century painter in a church that opens only one day a week. And so begins the Roman adventure. What one has visited, one must see again. The traveler must, like a Sisyphean task, revisit what he has seen, revisit what he believes he has seen and what he would like to see again. On the next trip, everything will have to start again. A perpetuum mobile. The mystery of Rome is the closed palaces, full of beautiful things; the lit rooms that you can see from the street at night and to which you have no access; the doors of monasteries and convents that close onto rose gardens and palm trees. The city nurtures the desire, the lack and the urge always to go and see, further.

The Romans play a worldly carnival all year round. In the center, near the Palazzo Madama, a broom of officials and non-officials, carefully tied, brushes through the streets; priests from all over the world, old and western, young and Asian, flood in. The cassock is forbidden. You can still find journalists and intellectuals from the 1970s, with their unattractive physique as in Ettore Scola’s The Terrace. These shirt-wearing commies, with windshields as glasses, still take methodical routes through the city, a gazette under their arm, a pipe in their mouth. Here, a beautiful mother, there, a former TV presenter finished off by the scalpel. Roman nobility rubs shoulders with the marginalized; Russian fortune tellers, bums, obese people on Vespas in vest, a cigarette butt between lips. Rome answers to the celestial and terrestrial Venus, to the great beauty, and to the Fellinian vrenzole. It is torn between total luminosity and the most obvious vulgarity.

However, three Roman figures seem to me incredible in their taste of the beautiful, the good and the true.

Lucius Licinius Lucullus, after having known successes and political failures, withdrew from public life, retired, and settled in his properties to live the high life. His name remains attached to the splendid gardens at the site of the Villa Medici. It is necessary to imagine a vast plain above the city, excellent orchards with numerous citrus fruits, peaches, apricots. Lucullus had the taste for fountains, porches in the shade, thermal baths lined with exquisite mosaics, deep in perspective, powerful of face. In Tusculum, above Frascati, he had planted the first cherry trees of Europe. Lucullus also excelled in the art of the table, cultivated the great refinements; what Plutarch noted with severity by recalling this anecdote. When his cook brought him only one dish, he retorted: “This evening, Lucullus dines with Lucullus.” The cook thereafter made sure to always plan a banquet when Lucullus dined alone, with many dishes, bottles, and the desserts.

In the first half of the seventeenth century, Scipione Borghese was the great cardinal of pleasures. Between the nymph and the gladiator, his eminence showed himself as a great builder, restoring churches, building the great villa to which he gave his name. There he collected paintings and priceless works: a Hermaphrodite from the second century, as revealing of his penchant for men as for women; paintings by Caravaggio, and those of the Cavalier d’Arpin and Raphael. He was also the patron of Bernini, whose art culminates in Daphnis and Chloe, a masterpiece of life and death frozen in fingers that transform; a body that molds itself into bark, hair that passes branches.

Mario Praz, in the twentieth century, chose modest elegance. An art critic, he lived in seclusion in a Roman palace where he collected twelve hundred objects – paintings, drawings, furniture, sculptures from the last century; Napoleonic works but also neoclassical English paintings; conversation pieces; some wax bas-reliefs. The House of Life is his masterpiece, in which he speaks of his life and his work, as if they were the rooms of a house.

Rome is conducive to drunkenness and good food. Happiness is everywhere, desire flows, with all its variety – the lively joy in the sun, the relaxation in the afternoon, the light madness in the evening. What joy it was for me to befriend Julien Rochedy. How we feasted at Al Moro, a landmark for ministers of the regime, on seppioline with artichokes, gamberi al pomodoro, and spaghetti alle vongole. Familiar delicacies take on a double flavor in Rome. Try Giolitti’s ice cream, with almond and hazelnut, topped with panna montata. Genius. The Judeo-Roman cuisine is also excellent. In the street that leads to the theater of Marcellus, admirable as a set of legos among the columns, the Oratorio Venditorum Piscium, the apartments embedded in the heavy stone, you will find the Jewish kitchens, with their oriental air. Moshe will serve you fried artichokes as an appetizer, salted, crunchy to the tooth, fried brains, stew or a piquant and fragrant cod couscous.

The streets of Rome are characters. Via Giulia behind the Campo dei Fiori looks like a dowager alternating knitting and rosary beads. It is straight, austere, gray on one side, held together by official and severe buildings. A bridge crosses the street, covered with ivy, like a dark mantilla of a woman in mourning.

Via dei Coronari is a kind of woman of the century, one foot in the old world, the other in modernity. The antique stores are full of preciosities, trinkets and relics in silver and gold, official portraits of popes, swords, furniture, massive candlesticks. Proof of this strange feminine paradox, the conversation and the permeability to progress; a store sells plastic ducks dressed as the Queen of England, Michael Jackson, Trump; next to it another one sells only lead figurines of the Napoleonic empire.

Via Margutta, on the other hand, is the most sensual; kind of feline, playful, whimsical, sparkling. Its walls are warm, yellow, ochre, saffron, taupe, sometimes washed out; ivy climbs up the walls, pearl-like roses. It is a young socialite, home to gallery owners, jewelers and artists. In its streets that go up and down, André Suarès, even at noon, this great madman, roamed the city in search of the terrible absolute of the beautiful, the good and the true. In the evening, a French bribe-taker coming out of a cantina would fight with a cursed painter with a rapier. In the morning, the writer of the Jet-set, Jep Gambardella returns home, after a party; no more drinks, no more contact lenses, smoking, and finding on the Aventine, a monk come out of the monastery to say a final goodbye to his sweetheart.

The statues in Rome also live. In the church of San Francesco a Ripa, which gave the title to a short story by Stendhal, Blessed Ludovica Albertoni is in ecstasy. She holds her chest, ready to leave it. Here, there is no fourth wall of the theater of which Henri Beyle speaks, no spectators as in the Cornaro Chapel where Saint Theresa is ecstatic at the other end of the city. The layout is more sober, the line more sure, more incisive in the last productions of the artist. The dress is agitated, swollen by the waves of love, while her face remains virginal. Her body betrays terrible convulsions while her gaze carries the delicate vision of paradise.

In Sant’Andrea del Quirinale is the most successful work of Pierre Le Gros the Younger, a French student of Bernini. One reaches the camera del polacco. What is it? It is a room where is the recumbent Stanislaus Kotzka, a young Polish Jesuit, who passed through Vienna, and died when he came of age in 1568. It is a baroque pearl. The young man sleeps, dressed in a black marble that contrasts with his white porcelain skin. The success of the statue lies in the way the rigid cassock is rendered as if it were encased in cuttlefish ink colored marble. His face is soft but his feet are icy.

What can you say about Michelangelo’s Christ in the Basilica in the Santa Maria sopra Minerva! It is a mass, a rock, extra pure. It is the Redeemer who manifests himself to us as a truth that takes up all the space in a life. Christ poses, swayed-hip, naked. The knees are so delicate that Sebastiano del Piombo said they were worth all of Rome.

But finally, Pasquino, does he have something to begrudge these sculptures, the darling of the people? It is a statue from the third century. In 1501, a hand placed a pamphlet on it predicting the death of Alexander VI Borgia. The term pasquinade was then derived, referring to an anonymous pamphlet often written in Roman dialect. With time, Pasquino became the first talking statue of the city, bearing popular reactions, the bloodshed and the acid laughter of the Romans. There are still salacious messages, claims and heart-felt messages: “Berlusconi, figlio di Minghia,” “Nun si necessità sesso, er governo fa er culo ogni giorno!” “er Premier è un vampiro, certo, ma li Italiani nun hanno piu sangue, dispiacce!”

It is more than natural, it is said, according to the custom of tourists, to sigh with admiration before the supreme beauty of the Sistine Chapel. For once, let us leave these marshmallows chewed up into liquid, sky-blue sky dishes and let us admire the Christian mosaics of the first centuries. Let’s start with the mosaics of the Basilica of Saints Como and Damian. After passing the courtyard and the fountain with dog heads covered with moss, you open the door and what jumps at you is a cobalt blue sky, marked by red clouds, under the feet of Christ, who descends from the sky in front of Peter, Paul, Como and Damian. The vision stops you dead in your tracks and grabs you.

Not far away is the Basilica of St. Clement. The mosaics are more careful and finer. We see on the apse deer drinking from a spring that feeds a kind of bush, representing a forest, from which grow branches, woods, trees that take up all the space and shelter monks, hermits, shepherds. The cross in the center is represented as the arbor vitae. In this religious jungle, you can see Saint Gregory and Saint Ambrose. Above the cross, in the sky, the only hand of God sends his son for the salvation of the world.

In the Rione dei Monti, there is the Basilica of Santa Prassede. You have to go to the left chapel, put a coin in the machine to turn on the light. Illumination! Largesse! The Chapel of Saint Zeno is illuminated. It looks like the miniature of a Greek Convent of Meteora. A kind of gold coin box. You have never been so close to the quivering mosaics, glittering like yellow, golden and blue fish scales. You have to see this simple and sober Christ supported by four angels. The faces are pretty, little sketched, almost naive, but the whole of it enfolds you with a warm joy. You even forget that Bernini delivered his first youthful work right next door.


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef. Translation from the French by N. Dass.


The featured image shows the mosaic of the vault of the Chapel of Saint Zeno, from the 9th century.

Between Chaos And Decline: Rebirth

Towards Political Optimism

It is common, when one is a young man entering a career, especially in literary or artistic studies, to be charmed by despair and to have a taste for ruins. The image of the poètes maudits is cultivated. We let ourselves be seduced by the disillusioned dandyism. We succumb to the temptation of the black flag inclined on the skull of pessimism. The beauty of ruins attracts. The vestiges are a curious dizziness. We go for the last of the Mohicans; We live as Dance Prince Salina in The Leopard. We cherish chaos, and we love despair. “Siamo tutti sull’olorlo della disperazione,” says the writer Jep Gambardella in la Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) by Paolo Sorrentino. The darkness becomes a luxury and cynicism a refinement on a terrace in Rome.

The attraction to such giddiness is the residue of a tired and insipid romanticism. The ruins of Heidelberg Castle astonish with their melancholy; The gloom of stones nips at the most sensitive rope of the heart. The pianist Waltraut Laurence plays Chopin nocturnes. It is a postcard décor for the student of Sumerian, who is also a fencer, dressed in Canali, making love in the moonlight. The beauty of decadence has sumptuousness, it is true. Despair is made for poetry and not for politics. Léo Ferré and his ridiculous, surrealist verses please the babes at the Sorbonne; Baudelaire, alive in the heart of a high school student, mixes death with grace, darkness with sad and cold beauty supreme. A desperate guy who does not commit suicide is, on the other hand, an impostor. Cesare Pavese, he went to the very end, and those who did not join him, while they sing hymns with Subutex and odes with Prozac, can only be small versions of depression. But then again, none of this ever makes it into politics.

Too often, the nationalists, taken in the broad sense, from conservatives to monarchists, from sovereigntists to traditional Catholics, have integrated defeat and decadence into their software. Through sheer compliancy, they value failure. They affect to lose in order to say that they were right; prefer to give up in order to say they are victims and being persecuted, feeding controversy rather than taking responsibility. The logic of annuity and cynicism of some is buttressed by the pessimistic romanticism of others. Those who denounce the decadence of postmodernity, often have nothing to propose and are engaged in the terrible parody of a fight. We play the reactionaries. Cioran had already understood everything: “The doctrine of the Fall makes a powerful appeal to reactionaries of whatever stripe; the most hardened and the most lucid among them know, moreover, what recourse it offers for the glamour of revolutionary optimism. Is it not the invariability of human nature to devote oneself without remedy for collapse and corruption?”

The romantic sighs, modern man sneers. The first loves what falls, the other that which brings about the fall. The one loves Vezelay, the other sees a spectacle in the fire of the Notre-Dame. The sneer, in postmodernity, is the devil that laughs, that no one condemns. We worship those who complain, sulk, and grumble. But we are harmless – our side likes a less festive, less brilliant decadence – that’s all. We go, like vanities, in the pursuit of deconstruction. We are the scrubs on duty. We play refractory Gauls, right-wing Mélenchonians. But how many really want a victory? The question deserves to be asked from the Menhir to certain cadres of major political parties. “You, jihadis, we will win because we are the most dead,” said Philippe Muray. The West is now producing magnificent losers wearing Bermuda shorts.

It is a vague idea of decadence peculiar to Spengler that a philosopher like Michel Onfray has spread outside his borders. He deserves credit for having supported the yellow vests and denounced Maastrichtian Europe. But this habit of never making the horrific qualitative leap; this almost complacent way of justifying decadence and decline as a fatal fact is unbearable. Is the horizon on fire? After me the flood! Are the suburbs on fire? Let’s stay stylish! Notre-Dame lies in ruin? Let’s drink good wine! This too easy posture is of the petty bourgeoisie. When we are looking at the storm on the mainland, it is fine to prophecy with detachment. But when you are in the eye of the storm, living in, what Christophe Guilluy calls, “peripheral France,” when you are masked and employed, and when you suffer the consequences of a happy globalization, supported by bad, liberal and Europeanist policies, social dumping and the appalling conditions of an alienating wage-earner as well as the consequences of uncontrolled demography, massive immigration and the problem of assimilation – the great disestablishment and the great replacement – in short, accepting to be scattered like a puzzle in the pleasure of bon vivant epicureanism – is total nonsense.

At the historical and anthropological level, let us not be fooled either. Civilizations are born, grow and disappear. In his sermon on the fall of Rome, Saint Augustine explains very well, in the aftermath of the sack of the Eternal City in 410, that the world is made up of this kind of movement – appearance and disappearance. The Phoenicians have disappeared. Sparta the great is a field of pebbles. The Venice of the Doges no longer exists. Even though it is a given of history, admitting the end, crossing your arms, taking a nap in the time of battle, letting go, is a sign of defeat. Because she imagined herself decadent in a kind of enlightened catastrophism, Rome guarded against decadence; the moment she felt herself falter, she straightened up – and that at many points in her history.

The decadence of the elites was a factor in the French Revolution. As Chateaubriand aptly put it, the nobility, by the yardstick of 1789, had reached the “age of vanities.” The aristocracy of the second half of the eighteenth century ended up largely autistic, admittedly refined, but it only played its role in a subdued manner. The Castaners and the Schiappas were already there, just in more powder, in frock coats and taffeta dresses. The urban bourgeoisie, organized, born out of entrepreneurship, investing power with the urgent idea of borrowing and reforming, had triumphed. The revolution was the replacement of a dominant class by another dominant class, formed, united, structured. Necker’s heir was Giscard. One was finance minister, the other a financier who became king of France. We are still there.

The Fall fascinates. Falling certainly pleases, but getting up less so. We must fight. To stave off decline, we need to come up with a Renaissance vision of our nation: putting life, spirit and muscle back where it’s needed. Atheists will speak of rebirth, the brothers in the faith of resurrection, one in the other, whether we believe in Heaven or we do not believe in it, the idea remains the same: to get out of this long winter.

Christians speak of the virtue of hope; Antonio Gramsci is “pessimistic in intelligence, optimist in will.” And Charles Maurras added, “All despair in politics is absolute nonsense. In war, the partisans of defeat are shot. To be pessimistic is to give up. The first idea of organizational empiricism, as Maurras thought, is a positive dynamic “to take advantage of the joys of the past with a view to the future that every well-born mind wishes for its country.” Whether you are a Catholic or an atheist, from Action Française or close to Alain de Benoist, you have to survive the nihilism that plagues both the left and the right. The question for Christians is simple: Christ resurrected; He put death to death. If, in fact, in Augustine, the decline of a civilization is part of a divine plan, Christianity should not be denied the light that emerges from darkness, the truth of lies. The Church, the one that did not reform, has kept a sense of tradition.

No doubt, on the other side, we saw Nietzsche as a nihilist. Julien Rochedy has explained the opposite, in his current book, Nietzsche l’actuel (Nietzsche Today). Who announces the death of God? A fool, looking for a man in a square, with his lantern, at noon. With the death of God comes the fall of values and disaster; man must come to the death of God and build a new system of values. Nietzsche saw it all: money replacing God; Cohn Bendit and his clique, constituting their own morality, hideous to ordinary people; the freeloaders in Lacoste; generalized barbarism and the vegan cotton swabs, their green hair puffed up with resentment. Civilization produced men who were held back only by themselves; the barbarism was of men who let off steam. Nowadays, civilization has become poisonous, vaccinated, masked, confined, in this time of Covid.

One would say of the nationalist that he is nostalgic; that he sees, soured and bitter, France in the rear-view mirror of centuries. He is backward-looking. Make no mistake: it is in the perpetuation of a heritage that he establishes his hope. To defend is to think that the thing being defended is fixed, soon to be mortal. Defense pushes towards sanctuarization; it enacts, by the very word itself, the proper end of what it thinks it is defending. A patriot, whether he is a believer or not, is not on the ramparts; he takes possession of his kingdom. Our role is not to hold onto Minas Tirith, while waiting to take catapult fire; but, on the contrary, to mount horses like the Rohirim against Sauron’s armies.

To exemplify requires vitality and horizon. When we exemplify, we perpetuate, we incarnate, we fully dress the traditions. These traditions are no more because they are already inhabited, dressed. There is no point in stirring the remains of the ashes; it is necessary to perpetuate the sacred fire. An exemplary Catholic, participates in masses, in services, does his Lent. It is up to the French to exemplify their history, to serve their language, to sing their own songs and to live. Mohammedans are in Ramadan; God bless them! Let’s do our penances. Those who criticize a possible invasion, deplore a country which is no longer Christian and which is no longer theirs, are the first to pig out on Good Friday, to make absolutely no effort, not even to want to get out of the baptism in which they were once plunged. They behave like being violently anti-clerical for no reason, and subscribe to all progressivism. They are the first to say that the Church is rich, too rich, but never criticize a financier who has just taken office at the Elysee Palace. In the first case, it is unacceptable to have finely embroidered silk chasubles from Gammarelli; on the other, the personal enrichment of a powdered petty investor does not bother anyone. However, let us remember this sentence from André Suarès: “Whether he likes it or not, the Frenchman has the Gospel in his blood. It is only through involvement that tradition, and therefore the Church, can remain. Open the churches, sing the Te Deum, read Raban’s Veni Creator Spiritus, put manly abbots in office. They will come back!

Optimism in politics also stems from faith in youth. It is often judged torn between crass consumerism, the accelerated cretinization of social networks, its exalted leftism, or its way of conceiving nations as hotels. Yet Attali’s speech has aged terribly because reality has proved him wrong. Leftism, which has become an exacting orthodoxy, irritates even those who like to barbecue to block off college because vegans have put their twigs in there.

At the back, outside the parties, there are many of us. The youth are more and more won over to our ideas. Whether on the side of YouTubers, intellectuals and journalists, nationalists work a lot, produce a lot, innovate, militate, debate in the public square. Let’s pay tribute to the forces at the back. A whole young generation is doing the popularization work necessary to understand sovereignist and nationalist ideas, and seeks to give the love of France to young people: Simon Bavastro in Nice; Valek in Montpellier; Papacito in Toulouse; Greg Toussaint, Baptiste Marchais also in the center of France. We also have our media. We cannot go through all the Web TVs, magazines, newspapers which, (and La Nef is one of them), promote our ideas. Let us just mention TV Libertés, Sud Radio, Elements, France soir, Présents, Eurolibertés, Boulevard Voltaire, Radio Courtoisie, RT France and many others. A multitude of intellectuals occupy the area of sovereignist or conservative ideas. Let us just mention economists like Jacques Sapir, Olivier Delamarche, Pierre Jovanovic; historians like Professor Bernard Lugan or Thierry Lentz and Emmanuel de Waresquiel; jurists and legal professionals, such as, Pierre Yves Rougeyron, Damien Viguier, Regis de Castelnau or Gregor Puppinck; but also philosophers and sociologists, such, as Olivier Rey, Alain Bessonnet, Pierre Magnard and Matthieu Bock-Côté. Together, they are the prized who have never stopped laboring away; some of them use social media to disseminate their ideas. We must also mention Charles Gave of the l’Institut des libertés, Cercle Richelieu, Cercle Prudhon, Cercle Aristote, Action Française, the Apollon Institute of Jean Messiha, for example. At the back, we have the intelligence, the youth, the information and the means to oppose deconstruction, and to build on solid foundations a thought, an identity, a national work. When such real people protest about a burnt church, the dissolution of Génération identitaire, they do not disguise themselves; they do not fool around; they do not put on a spectacle, unlike what the leftists do. We see solid men and elegant women. But all that is missing among the political establishment.

So, what is to be done? Что делать? Hot question! First of all, be who we are – shamelessly. Then do as the Captain of the Hussars Lugan: go where the cannon-ball strikes. Then, exemplify our traditions, reinvest in our history, pass on and seek to inherit. Let us regain our respect and our self-esteem. They have gouged out the eyes and tore off the hands of real people. Now they mask real people, confine them, jab them. In both cases, they never cease to insult, with appalling class contempt; these “eaters of fries,” these people who “smoke cigarettes and run on diesel.” They adulate the people, as long as they don’t see their dirty faces, as Jules Renard used to say.

We will have to return to the collective. We are far too divided to be able to rule. All that will come after we stop fighting among ourselves, putting up obstacles for each other, and tearing each other apart. The great evil of nationalists is to consider that the other is not simply that but that he is a traitor. The anti-racists peck at each other; they will devour each other; the revolution eats its children. We will see the Seine carrying the corpses of enemies. Let the Corbaques feast. And then let us feast on their downfall!

If we don’t want to be a piece of the puzzle of a big parody, we have to build something now – on every level. We will not engage in any real politics if we do not first win back our sovereignty by defiance, and take back our independence from Brussels, Germany, and technocracy. We must also break with technocracy, and with the worn-out urgency of having to make liberal reforms, as if the key to politics were only through reform, reducing spending, paying a parasitic debt. Historical stuttering, at least its threat, is the last bulwark, the last mental bunker, which remains for those in power. United, allied, determined, we will be able to achieve the rebirth of our country. At the very end, will come this dilemma: revolution or election? Political vanguard or faith in democracy? But then, again, before we get to this point, let’s get up, sing together, rebuild, and then go for it. Then, the laurel will bloom again!


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy La Nef. Translation from the French by N. Dass.


The featured image shows, “Château Gaillard, Les Andelys, France,” by Herbert Edwin Pelham Hughes-Stanton; painted in 1907.

The Great Reset! The Gospel According To Klaus Schwab

There is a book everyone should read, an exceptional book, which promises to be among the classics of contemporary literature. It is Covid 19: The Great Reset. Its author is the humanist and scholar Klaus Schwab, the founder and president of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a club of people of the world. This group of merry fellows meets for a while to breathe the fresh air, experience the vertigo of the peaks and yodel about on barrels. In the evening, in front of a campfire, they reread aloud a few pages from Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. They make money, of course, but they are aesthetes above all. Schwab’s masterpiece has still not gained much traction, even among nationalists camp, which is a pure scandal, so exquisite is its style and its precious content.

Schwab writes little, but when he writes posterity trembles. His style makes Christine Angot pass for Marcel Proust and Marc Lévy for Julien Gracq. “In today’s complex and adaptive world, the principle of non-linearity means that suddenly a fragile state can turn into a failed state and that, conversely, a failed state can see its situation improve with equal celerity thanks to the intermediation of international organizations or even an infusion of foreign capital.” What insights! What turn of phrase! We are struck by a very colorful style. To accomplish this task, Schwab enlisted the help of Thierry Malleret, an economist who writes as he thinks. Before publication, the book received feedback from a few bosses in the circle of reason. This is to say how much those who know how to make money have both taste and culture.

Herr Schwab’s book should be read as a road map, an economic and social program designed to meet the great challenges of the West after the epidemic. Schwab, not pondering the origins of Covid 19, however sees the virus as a real opportunity. Covid is a great and formidable opportunity to change society. Opportunity, they say, makes the thief. In short, this pandemic crisis reveals the limits of a global, technocratic and neo-liberal system. Schwab recognizes that this world, his world, is wrong, but it is up to people to pay the consequences, with or without their consent. The self-proclaimed and co-opted elites agree to change the system for the people to follow, so to speak.

The book was written in 2020, during the first lockdown. Undoubtedly motivated by boredom, Schwab discovered the vast range of possibilities offered by this peaceful, creative, enjoyable moment of retirement. In his ivory tower, he announces the color: “The worldwide crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has no parallel in modern history.” This very subtle sentence makes it clear that the crisis and the management of this pandemic are the causes of the turmoil and damage the world is experiencing, not the virus itself. It is only at the end of his epic poem that Klaus von Ravensburg recognizes that Covid 19 will hardly kill anyone and that it will not make history. He could have announced this from the start; then he would not have needed to lay down a political program to change the entire face of the world. What shame! In his Introduction, Schwab continues, “Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never.” What a relief!

Now, thanks to the Boss, we are sure of one thing: history is being written ante-covidium and post-covidium. Schwab, at the beginning of his book, explains that the Black Death caused profound changes in medieval society (the disappearance of chivalry and feudalism) and copies the effects of all that on to Covid to justify the Great Reset. What then does the Sumo Poeta advocate? A confinement of one to two years, more or less strict, followed by generalized vaccination. Then will come the great changes necessary for humanity. When you have twisted, creeped out, oppressed a population to such an extent, it is not difficult to make them submit to any change. His Majesty, the Lord of the Flies is such a genius that Machiavelli himself could not have done better to manipulate his people. Because the Covid, he explains, is changing our society, it is imperative to change the program and reinvent ourselves, based on four major ideas: a new capitalism in the light of technology, the ecological emergency, universal healthcare, and inclusion of minorities. These notions complement each other and are linked to each other.

Containment and measures require working remotely and therefore being hyperconnected. Many people will have to adapt, others will lose their jobs. We must therefore rethink a more just, egalitarian and ethical capitalism. Because the virus is, according to him, linked to global warming, it is urgent to save the planet. He who says climate change, also says climate -regulation. Deregulation is therefore a malfunction: only technical measures are able to resolve it. This is without counting on the youth who believe in progress and who are able to save what we have as the most precious thing: the earth. Because the virus affects our lives, our relationships, and kills thousands of people around the world every day, it is necessary, to protect ourselves and others, to wear a mask, to adopt concrete measures, to respect new rules of distance, to be vaccinated. Death, on the model of the climate, is a disruption of life, a deviance, a problem. We must therefore find the means to resolve death. And all this on behalf of others. We find the thought of Master Attali and his concept of altruism already formulated for forty years in his opera omnia. Many people, ante-covidum, from among minorities were excluded. We must therefore rethink a more just, green world, based on inclusion, tolerance and progress.

Graf von Schwab speaks of benevolence in the last chapter of his book. It’s really cute! Nationalists, identitarians, ardent defenders of sovereignty, of tradition, are villains who are in retreat. Obscurantism, intolerance. It’s all terrible. It’s all about openness and sharing. It is only fair that His Holiness Klaus VI does not ask us to be charitable and make a donation for the little lepers. Wisely, he advocates “reinventing our mind map,” striving for ethical capitalism and “being creative.” The Right Reverend Abbot even becomes a Rousseauist, when he tells us that “nature is a formidable antidote,” and adds that “it will gradually become essential to pay more attention to our natural assets.”

It is all beautiful, very beautiful even, but it does not exist. At Strasbourg Cathedral, we find the statue of the Tempter. The young man, charming, seductive, offers a cut to whoever desires it, but on his back swarm toads, scorpions and snakes. Likewise, behind every beautiful and good idea that Jean Jacques Schwab and Klaus Rousseau articulate, hides the devil himself.

Remember that an idea is not generous, it is true or false. To quantify happiness, kindness, altruism in a society, is confusingly ridiculous, gross stupidity. In other words, well-nigh dotage. Likewise, “nauseating,” rancid “are not concepts, just as kindness is not a given that can enter political, economic or social thought. Schwab pretends to advise the world. He wants to appear to controls events, knows everything and foresees everything in advance. He is a man who has too much influence and too much power for his own good and ours. He thinks his ideas are necessarily the best because he and his friends have a lot of money. Parody is added to megalomania, ridicule to dotage, mediocrity, role-playing. This great pontiff from the University of Geneva has the historical and philosophical knowledge of a passable student in a management school. He looks like a Z-List Goldfinger who doesn’t understand he’s dead-end, out of touch, a nerd long past his sell-by date.

This book, a tonic cocktail of muscular Attali, ultimately offers nothing new of what has been known since Alain Minc’s Happy Globalization of 1997. Nothing learned, nothing understood. There is not an extra gram of imagination; it’s poor and repetitive like a pulp novel. The world elite has neither thought nor genius. It’s the little utopia of a banker who only knows the world by going back and forth between a Sofitel and two airports. These globalists claim to be at the forefront of modernity, advocate openness, but have a narrow and stunted view of the world. Schwab talks about money, people, the others, the land and the world; these are abstractions which do not refer to anything real. Has he been out on the streets over the last ten years? I doubt it.

The minstrel from across the Rhine brilliantly asserts ready-made truths, ideas thrown into the air; gives figures without a source; demonstrates nothing, but announces; makes shortcuts, bordering on sabotage; launches studies as if they were going out of style. When ideas are a little hard to find, Schwab turns into a commentator, exhibitor, and calls on experts who are always on his side, friends of his. Such is European governance. When the ideas are sympathetic, he becomes a decision-maker and prescriber, with the peremptory tone of a wise man among the wise who has inhaled a little too much Alain Minc, extra fine.

This book is the Oktoberfest of BS. Let’s have a laugh, then: ” a vacuum of global governance and the rise of various forms of nationalism make it more difficult to deal with the outbreak;” ” As the critique of economic growth moves to centre stage, consumerism’s financial and cultural dominance in public and private life will be overhauled;” “COVID-19 was a determining element: George Floyd’s death was the spark that lit the fire of social unrest.” Hats off to the artist!

The big reset is a Davos-style mafia stunt: we take Godfather; take out the spaghetti; put sauerkraut instead – and we have Schwab. It’s a tour de force, a huge hostage-taking. President of the global crime syndicate, he says nothing about the terrible consequences of this great reset. He recognizes that ” The global economy is so intricately intertwined that it is impossible to bring globalization to an end.”

Destroying millions of jobs as a result of the Covid, Schwab concedes, putting people into unemployment, replacing part of the workforce with robots, would be an evil, certainly, but a necessary evil: ” In all likelihood, the recession induced by the pandemic will trigger a sharp increase in labour-substitution, meaning that physical labour will be replaced by robots and ‘intelligent’ machines, which will in turn provoke lasting and structural changes in the labour market.”

For example, there is this very enigmatic sentence: “The small restaurants that survive the crisis will have to reinvent themselves entirely.” What? Will they have to succumb to Uberization, subcontracting, giving way to large restaurant chains that can make both pizzas and sushi? Just water off of Schwab’s back. Technological, hyperconnected capitalism therefore promises the collapse of part of the wage and entrepreneurial middle-class, and an increased and definitive polarization between the richest, blessed with globalized metropolises, and the poor in “not very interesting” jobs.

Schwab is not unhappy to see all the structures blow up for the benefit of the individual, atomized, who is then more apt to subscribe to globalism, to the law of victimized minorities, to youthism. Better stray sheep than a strong flock that lives on. Ecology with Schwab becomes globalism, since it gives the individual, wherever he comes from, consumer and employee, the responsibility of saving the planet, the climate, the seas. Only this ecology is just the flip side of the same coin which faces capitalism, financial domination. Doctor Klaus and Mister Schwab do not say everything: behind the idea that death would be a mistake, hides the desire to impose a generalized post-covidium surveillance company: ” the containment of the coronavirus pandemic will necessitate a global surveillance network capable of identifying new outbreaks as soon as they arise.”

After all, new viruses will emerge because of global warming. In the name of the good, that is, health, Frankenschwab wants a society of testing, tracing, a kind of global health dictatorship established by governments and maneuvered by the exploits of technology. It is reminiscent of the fact that a dictatorship is never imposed in the name of evil, of dominating in order to dominate, but always in the name of a higher and collective good. Tyrants are, above all, the little fathers of peoples. Small tasty detail – Schwaby goes so far as to recommend connected toilets to control our health, just in case the mess of the day before does not bode well. What a brilliant idea!

Schwab is committed body and soul to the “vanguard of social change.” Of course, societal progressivism, in the absence of a real social struggle, always makes it possible to rescue capitalism and accept its rule. Schwab is, as Audiard would say, a synthesis. Jean Claude Michéa speaks of a liberal-libertarian alliance. It’s Cohn-Bendit, just a bit less despicable; Thunberg in a necktie. In other words, we allow surrogacy and assisted reproduction in the name of individual freedoms. But we are also fully masked and are subject to curfew. Everything is allowed, but nothing is possible, as Michel Clouscard said.

Schwab will also have to explain to us how he intends to “to rethink governments’ role.” All this, of course, will happen through one world government: ” if both the nation state and globalization flourish, then democracy becomes untenable.” And to continue further: ” A hasty retreat from globalization would entail trade and currency wars, damaging every country’s economy, provoking social havoc and triggering ethno- or clan nationalism.

The establishment of a much more inclusive and equitable form of globalization that makes it sustainable, both socially and environmentally, is the only viable way to manage retreat. This requires policy solutions addressed in the concluding chapter and some form of effective global governance.” Living in a green and completely sanitary world will not lead to the best of all possible worlds. In the name of ecology, one could think of excessive taxation, repeated confinements, the one-child policy, the establishment of a tax on the air we breathe. Nothing like paradise.

Emperor Palpatine’s words are so contradictory, once one gets lost in his intentions. He struggles to bring out a good idea, floundering in his book as on the Bodensee during a vacation. The end of the book, which we finished with disgust, so much did the language of this Kojak of Davos sicken us, nevertheless did warn us. These changes will be painful, and not everyone will make it. Without being threatening, Schwab draws back, slithers about, dodges. Does this mean that we will have to get rid of part of the harmful and recalcitrant population and return to global Malthusianism in the name of ecology and health?

In 2009, at the Copenhagen summit, physicist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber said: “This is a triumph for science because at least we have managed to stabilize something; namely, the estimate of the carrying capacity of the planet, that is to say, one billion people. What a triumph! On the other hand, do we want to come to this? I think we can do a lot better!” In France, Laurent Alexandre and Jean Marc Jancovici, in a work of evangelism of the young elites of the country, decreed that there would be for tomorrow the men-gods, mastering technology; and the others, the slaves, the unproductive, minimum wage-earners who pollute because of their overly high standard of living. We will have to think about what we want.

Is this book a program? Some will readily see the trajectory of the reset taking shape. Schwab also enjoys, let’s be honest, the conspiratorial aura that revolves around his multinational organization. Because he has influence and an address book, he is credited with the means to do harm. Does he really have the means? There is something terribly burlesque, even parodic, in the way he plays rector mundi. This book is in many ways a dotard’s dream, the masturbatory delirium of a bourgeois globalist in front of his little comrades. Doubt is possible. Let’s hope that Schwab does not become a prophet.


Nicolas Kinosky is at the Centres des Analyses des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité. This articles appears through the very kind courtesy of Monsieur Christophe Geffroy of La Nef. Translation from the French by N. Dass.


The featured image shows, “A four-footed monster,” a print by Samuel De Wilde, printed in 1807.