Memory of Andalusia… Yes, But which One?

Orientalism (especially so-called “scholarly,” i.e., institutionalized) is a European phenomenon whose complex history essentially concerns the three great nations of France, England and Germany. The other orientalisms, little or badly known, have been qualified as “peripheral”—thus, Spanish orientalism, neatly called “domestic” or “domestic orientalism.” This is because it emerges against the background of the past of Al-Andalus, which exerted a real fascination on Spanish writers and Arabists, such as Francisco Javier Simonet, Francisco Codera Zaidín and the theologian Miguel Asín Palacio. From the tentative resurrection of Arabic studies in the eighteenth century to the present day, an ideology and a scale of values underlie the work of many Spanish Arabists.

By what mystery was spread the historiographic myth of Al-Andalus as the oasis of a sweet, gentle life and harmonious religious understanding, in a world of brutes? The prize goes to Danielle Rozenberg for “recovering the memory” of a Spain presumed to be amnesiac. A few careful hours of reading is enough to pulverize this fashionable mythology.

First, there is Rosa María Rodríguez Magda, who published Inexistente Al Ándalus, De como los intelectuales reinventan el Islam (Ediciones Nobel, 2008) [Inexistent Al Andalus, How Intellectuals reinvented Islam]. She shows that the three communities, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, had limited relations, most of the time tense, not to mention the specific laws that were applied to them.

In another vein, the three volumes of Reinhart Dozy, Spanish Islam: A History of the Moslems in Spain (4 vols. 1861; 2nd ed. 1881) constitute a vast panorama of the history of the Muslims of Spain; that is to say a tiresome series of murders, betrayals, massacres, revenge, reprisals, taking and retaking of kingdoms or citadels, attempts at unification, broken and betrayed alliances.

Let’s be honest, there is no doubt that Islam was imposed by force wherever Muhammad’s warriors went, driven by the thirst for plunder and the prospect of the spoils of war.

The blood of the Umayyads flowed in 755 in Damascus when they were massacred by the Abbasids, whom the Persians had preferred to them. The only survivor, Abd al Rhaman, took refuge in Cordoba and ended up being proclaimed emir. From then on, these Umayyads were to be the propagators of the Arab greatness before the mass of converts coming from the submitted nations. These Umayyads were not ethnically Arabs. But their “blondness” did not prevent them from defining themselves as Arabs and claiming to be the best, purest and most faithful sons of the Prophet’s nation, in the ideological struggle they waged against the Abbasids of Baghdad and the Fatimids of Cairo. The Arab theme is central to Umayyad propaganda. This land, Al-Andalus, where the descendants of the caliphs of Damascus regained their rank, undeniably foreign to the Arabs, was an issue.

The fundamental choices of Al-Andalus were “Arab” choices: the Arab culture and the religion of the one God, a religion born on Arab-soil. They kept from those early times the arrogance proper to these Bedouins of the desert. The hatred between Berbers and Arabs continued from generation to generation. When the Berber princes governed, they oppressed the Arabs and the indigenous (Christians and converted Muslims). When the Arabs took over, it was their turn to shamelessly enrich themselves and oppress. Nietzsche described this phenomenon very well, applying it to Christianity, which he hated. In reality, it is the old animal programming, the ancestral and tribal rages that govern the Bedouin world and that have been infused into their primitive religion with such force that it has become almost invincible. Through power rivalries between Visigoth factions, some of them (including the archbishop of Seville) and the Jewish community, openly resorted to the help of the Muslims. Hence the meteoric success of their conquest of the peninsula.

Thus disappeared the Visigothic and Christian kingdom of Toledo, once magnificent, which yet remained in collective memory as a beacon of the Reconquista de Hispanae; and this from 722. A discontented fringe of the population turned to the newcomers, as in Byzantium. But the invaded populations were disappointed very quickly, when the true face of the conquerors showed itself—destruction of churches and places of worship, desecration of holy bodies; for the converts, prohibition to leave Islam under penalty of death. Chained to the religion of their masters, they derived little benefit from it and bore their contempt.

The first period of resistance was essentially religious, marked by spectacular provocations leading inexorably to martyrdom (on the model of the Christian martyrs in the first centuries of the Roman Empire). Eulogius was the leader of this rebellion.

It the second period, there were more uprisings, rebellions and revolts, inexorably drowned in blood. On the side of power, these three centuries were marked by cunning, treachery, and cruelty towards the indigenous, Christians and Muslims. The political facts gathered by Arab sources, stresses Gabriel Martinez-Gros, “do not show the social structures which emerged from beneath the froth of events but the consolidation of the political intrigue,” fundamental font of the history of this prolonged, ruinous and bloody occupation.

The Umayyads of Cordoba prospered for nearly two centuries until Emir Abd ar-Rahman III proclaimed himself caliph in 929, rejecting the spiritual authority of the Abbasid Caliphate. This so-called “golden age” was because of him; but in reality, it was merely a pause in the long oppression of the Spanish people. The reduction of tax allowed a moment of economic and cultural development. It did not last, and a civil war finally brought down the dynasty in 1031. Andalusia was then divided into a multitude of taifas (principalities). After a period of “splendor,” the khalifate of Cordoba succumbed to its divisions.

In the second half of the eleventh century, the vigorous Christian offensive of the “Reconquista” reached its peak and Islam could only hold out in Spain thanks to the help of the Berbers of Morocco:

Coming out of their deserts of Mauritania, these great Berber Sanhaja nomads, wearing the black veil with which the Tuaregs still cover their faces, after having conquered half of North Africa, went to Spain. They set back the Christian Reconquest; but also, taking advantage of their holy mission, they annexed the small Muslim kingdoms that they had come to save from the Infidels” (Georges Marçais).

These primitive Berbers of Morocco gave religious power a weight reminiscent of today’s mullahs, with their tyrannical, fussy and vicious morality. In Seville, in particular, these new masters replaced the Abbadids (the Abbad dynasty) who had called them to their aid. The last ruler, the poet king EI-Motamil, embarked with the princesses of his house on a boat that, going down the Guadalquivir, took them to the Maghreb, from where they would not return. Succeeding the sultans of Arab race and artistic tastes, hardly bothered by religious scruples, the rough Berber conquerors established the reign of austere virtue. Al-Ghazali, the most famous of them all, bore the fine title of “gravedigger of reason.”

At the head of the cities were appointed men of their own. Above all, the foqaha, Malikite jurists, who enjoyed the favors of the Berbers all the more because they issued opinions in accordance with Berber policy. The Almoravids added them to the provincial governors (qadi) to serve as advisors. To maintain the garrisons and prepare future expeditions, they obviously had their Sanhaja relatives from the desert, but also the “blacks” whom they had once defeated and converted to Islam and who were readily more arrogant than their masters and converters.

The deference owed to the new masters cannot be extended to the brigands they brought over. The wearing of the veil, which confused them with their leaders, was an attribute of nobility whose abuse was intolerable. Such were the trustworthy Andalusians and the “colored Berbers.” This division of labor expressed the distinction maintained in this Muslim society between the two fortuitously juxtaposed elements of the population: on the one hand, the Berber Almoravids (replacing the Arab and “Syrian” caste, which was very much in the minority) and the “muladi” or converted Christians, and on the other hand, the indigenous mass (the Andalusians), a mass divided between Christians, called “Mozarabs,” and Jews. At the bottom of this pyramid, the slaves.

Things did not go softly for the African conquerors and the people of Andalusia. The dynasties defended this Islamized Andalusia, but for their own benefit. They demanded of the people the literate, architects and artists not out of a taste for culture, but to increase the glitter of their reign. And yet hardly by the end of two generations, the sons of the big Saharan barbarians were seduced by Andalusian softness. The conquered land initiated them into the joy of living and to the charm of the common culture; the poets of Seville gave them the taste of the beautiful language; the art of Cordoba lived again in the mosques that they built in Fez, in Marrakech and in Tlemcen. Made of Berber robustness and Spanish elegance, the Hispano-Moorish civilization was established and flourished on both sides of their empire. It owed nothing to Islam, having borrowed everything from the civilization that it worked to destroy, but which tirelessly revived. It was made of the Arab taste for poetry and music, but above all for the ardent desire of the human soul to actualize the resources and treasures of beauty that it carries within, by casting them into the cultural molds at its disposal. It is neither Christian, nor Moslem, nor Jewish—it is a deep aspiration which finds its particularized expression in the psalms as well as in the lyric and love poetry, in the musicality of the language (the prosody), where the “Arab” poets exceled, an inheritance from the “times of ignorance.” It was this property of the soul and of human nature that austere Islam did not cease to repress because it felt an instinctive hatred of freedom and of the creative power inherent in any culture, (carried by some of its sons and daughters).

Are the Andalusians of today Arabs as the new ideology would like to make believe? The “balance of blood and race” (Gabriel Martinez-Gros) of the Andalusian compound is largely favorable to Spain and the West. The Islamization was also an Arabization, after the Romanization and the influence of the Visigoths, Romanized barbarians. In the Maghreb, the fact of bearing a name of Arab origin is most often only a sign of allegiance to power, and not proof of any descent from Muslim conquerors. But there is no “ethnic” particularism in Andalusia from the point of view of its population. The progressive reconquest by Spaniards first from the north and then from the center resulted in the same destructive behaviors towards the conquered populations: displacement, exile of those who refused to convert or even destruction.

The Muslim “umma” claimed to erase tribal distinctions. In reality, in the first centuries, it was confused with the “asabiyyah” of the Arabs instituted by the Prophet. A powerful asabiyyah, i.e., clan cohesion, reinforced by belonging to Islam, the religion of the masters, facilitated or even allowed the accession of a large family to power. Until another family took it over. To maintain power, one needs a “government.” Muslim power was corrupt from the outset, based on prebends, and continued only through intrigue, plots, betrayed alliances and violence.

And yet, the delirious ideology of Blas Infante (1885-1936) emerged, who was even awarded the title of “Father of the Andalusian Homeland” by the Parliament of Andalusia on April 3, 1983. For him, the Arab presence in Andalusia was not a lasting invasion but eight centuries of freedom, cultural influence, well-being and scientific progress. The Andalusian people were the product of a process of assimilation, resulting from the cohabitation of populations of different origins and religions. He went so far as to advocate the creation of a federal state which would delegate to Andalusia international relations with the peoples of Africa and the East.

In these semi-fantasy modern perspectives, special mention should be made of the novelist Juan Goytisolo, a sort of Spanish Roger Garaudy, but more subtle and intellectually equally ambiguous (he was buried in Marrakech and spent most of his life outside Spain). His book, Crónicas sarracinas (1982) [Saracen Chronicles], gives an idea of the weight of the Islamic past in the ideological struggles over the formation of national identity. In this work, Goytisolo had the elegant objective of “sodomizing myth” and defending his “Saracenicity.” The review of P.R. Baduel Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée gives a small idea of this edifying work.

Three chapters each are devoted to Ali Bey, to Gustave Flaubert and to Sir Richard Burton, “pilgrim and sexologist.” While Flaubert shamelessly and at the expense of the government went to pursue his fantasies of an oriental lupanar, Ali Bey, (pseudonym of Domingo Badia), administrator of the Royal Tobacco Monopoly in Cordoba and self-taught Arabist, was on a secret Spanish mission in Morocco, from where he then left for the East, where he was the first European to go (disguised) inside Mecca which he described and drew. Back in Europe and in France, he lamented, “the atrophy of the heart produced by the narrowness of a society of individual property, for he who returned from the great desert spaces.” Sir Richard Burton ventured to India and then went to Mecca, an act of unprecedented courage. Goytisolo compares his interest in Muslim society with that of Lawrence of Arabia: “Both feel the same fascination for Islam and the harsh and austere world of the Bedouins, placed entirely under the sign of masculinity. Both aspired to the wild freedom of the desert, to this hospitable and fraternal world from which woman is excluded.” Lawrence’s homosexuality, Goytisolo says, was linked to this choice of a society of males. This is a faulty parallel that reflects either great intellectual dishonesty or great ignorance about the life of Lawrence of Arabia, who, as we know, was illegitimately born and raped by a Turk when he fell into their hands, and who apparently never recovered from either injury.

Seeing the world through the lens of one’s homosexuality (even belatedly assumed) is not the most reliable light. Let’s be serious: Goytisolo’s ” Saracenicity” is nothing more than a figure of speech. In Las virtudes del pájaro solitario (1988) [The Virtues of the Solitary Bird], he builds his fiction on the Sufi origins of the mystical poetry of Saint John of the Cross.

At this point where the imagination erases fifteen centuries of history, the only answer is an appalled silence.

The Spanish Civil War halted the process of autonomy in Andalusia, which was resumed when the autonomies were established with the 1978 Constitution: Andalusian socialism then took over the nationalist theories of this Andalusia presented as the crucible of a civilization where Judaism, Islam and Christians coexisted in harmony, under the rule of the Muslim emirs and khalifahs, a civilization that could be the prelude and model of a tolerant multicultural society.

The same one that the French Islamo-leftism dream about.

The official flag of Andalusia includes two green bands, in clear reference to the color and banner of Islam.

Featured: “Abd al-Rahman III Receiving an Ambassador,” by Dionisio Baixeras Verdaguer; painted in 1885.

Is Islam Our Future? A Conversation With Jean-Louis Harouel

This conversation with the eminent French historian Jean-Louis Harouel examines the long-term consequences of multiculturalism, especially the settlement of large numbers of Muslims in the West. He is Professor Emeritus at Paris 2 University and the author of about twenty very important books, such as Les droits de l’homme contre le peuple (2016), which was translated into Italian and Hungarian. His most recent book is L’islam est-il notre avenir? (Paris, La Nouvelle Librairie, 2021), which forms the basis of this interview which is made possible through the courtesy of Breizh-Info.

Breizh-info (B-I): Yet another book on Islam, I am tempted to say. What did you want to bring to the debate on the Islamization of Europe?

Jean-Louis Harouel (J-L H): I wanted to say that it is totally unrealistic to let millions of Muslims reside on our territory who keep the ways of thinking and the morals of a Muslim country, and at the same time hope to continue to live in France and in Europe as we used to live there, while practicing a freedom of thought and expression proscribed by Islam. In many parts of its territory, France, which is the European nation with the largest number of Muslims on its soil, has today become a country other than France: a Muslim country. This is what Éric Zemmour recently felt when he returned to the northern suburbs where he had spent his childhood and concluded that we had changed countries: “We are no longer in the same country.”

I wanted to show that Islamist killings are a danger inherent in a massive Muslim presence. In a large Muslim population, there will inevitably be a percentage of people who will take Sharia law to the letter and want to kill infidels and blasphemers, as prescribed by certain passages of the Koran, or as the Prophet repeatedly urged his followers to do. The possibility of assassination as a punishment for freedom of thought, or other forms of impiety, is an inherent risk of Islam. The multiplication of this violence in France is the result of the fact that it has been allowed to become, in large parts of the land, a Muslim country. But, in a Muslim country, there is an obligation to show respect for Islam and offenders are severely punished.

Jean-Louis Harouel.

The beheading of Samuel Paty and the death threats against any teacher considered to be offensive to Islam are only the logical consequence of the insane situation in which political leaders have progressively trapped France over the last fifty years: welcoming millions of Muslims while scrupulously respecting their beliefs, and at the same time expecting them to adhere to a freedom of thought that Muslim law considers a crime and punishes with sentences that can go as far as death.

To try to keep our freedom of expression, and even more fundamentally the future of our existence as a people, there is only one way: to make sure that this Muslim country which was constituted on French soil is reintegrated into France, that it becomes French again. If we fail to do so, our very existence as a people will be compromised, because we will have allowed another civilization to snatch away our right to “historical continuity,” according to the beautiful formula of Bérénice Levet. We have known this since Valéry: our civilization can die because civilizations are mortal and history is their tomb. It is up to the peoples of Europe to decide whether they want to die or continue to live, and whether they are ready to do what it takes to do so.

B-I: Doesn’t the demographic question settle today, and in the medium term, the fate of Europe and Europeans in the face of an increasingly numerous Ummah?

J-L H: Indeed, it is demography that will be the key to our future and that will indicate to the Ummah whether or not France and other Western European countries have become fruit to be picked; whether they are ripe to fall almost of their own accord into the hands of Islam. It is well known that there has been a millenary Muslim will to conquer Europe. And it is by pushing back the conquering enterprises of Islam, or by freeing itself from the occupations that it had established (Spain and southern France, Sicily, Hungary, Balkans) that Europe succeeded in remaining Europe. Otherwise, it would have become in the field of civilization what it is geographically, i.e., a small corner of Asia.

Now, because of the extent of the Muslim presence on our soil, at a time when our capacity to resist is diminished by the submission of Western societies to the religion of human rights, there is no doubt that Western Europe has become once again what it was in the Middle Ages; that is to say, a land to be taken, a prey for Islam. This has been said in no uncertain terms by senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood; but it is not only the Islamists who are to blame. Many Muslims who are considered moderate are also in this logic of patient, hushed, unspoken conquest. They know that demographics play in favor of Islam, thanks to the number of children born to Muslim women and the constant arrival of new Muslim immigrants. They know that sooner or later, the situation of Islam will be strong enough for it to somehow take over France and perhaps other European countries as well. If nothing is done in the meantime to reverse this process, the tipping of France and other Western European countries into the orbit of the Muslim world seems inevitable within a few decades.

B-I: Your book evokes the impossibility for the Muslim world to get rid of religion, which is intrinsically linked to it. In what way would what has been possible for other religions not be possible for Islam?

J-L H: In fact, the only religion that has fully experienced this phenomenon is Christianity, of which Marcel Gauchet wrote that it had historically been “the religion of the exit from religion.” Under the effect of the logic inherent in Christianity, and without this having prevented the maintenance of “a religious life at the scale of individuals,” European societies have progressively left “the religious structuring of societies.” This does not mean that the Church did not oppose this abandonment of “religion as structure” as much as it could. But, since Christianity is a religion exclusively turned towards spiritual ends, the Church has never directly punished irreligion with earthly sanctions. She has let the State do it for her. Only when the State freed itself from the Church and secularized itself, did it stop punishing the impious and the blasphemous. And since the Church could only inflict spiritual punishments on them, they ceased to be punished concretely.

In contrast to this process, Islam did not need the state to enact laws to punish the ungodly, since the Muslim holy texts contain a whole code of law that fulminates terrible punishments against bad Muslims. Thanks to the weapon of the allegedly divine penal law which it carries, Islam has from the outset protected itself against any challenge by threatening death to those who would challenge its dogmas and its hold on society.

B-L: You explain that it is fear that has allowed Islamic regimes to maintain themselves for centuries and centuries in the Muslim world. On the other hand, there are also examples of countries that have taken Islamists out of history, notably in the Arab world, again through fear and violence. Explain this to us.

J-L H: There are two very different things. On the one hand, some Arab rulers have indeed, without in the least questioning the prestige of Islam and its domination over society, used violence and fear against the Islamists, such as Nasser and then Sadat in Egypt, who was finally assassinated by them. And then, on the other hand, there is the repressive mechanism of the terrorist nature inherent to Islam, which protects it against the freedom of the spirit. And this concerns Islam considered as normal, as moderate compared to Islamism.

When, in 1981, in Sadat’s Egypt, one of his ministers of state calmly explained to the foreign press that the assassination of a Muslim who converted to another religion “does not go against the freedom of religion,” this statesman was not speaking as an extremist or an Islamist. He was simply giving the point of view of a good Muslim who knew his holy texts well. Islam locks human thought into a bigoted conformity to all the prescriptions and prohibitions laid down in the texts that Muslims claim to be divine law. From a Muslim point of view, there are many things one is not allowed to say or do. Breaking these rules is done at the risk of one’s life, as Muslim criminal law has prescribed penalties for these crimes that can go as far as death. As a result, with rare exceptions, intellectuals of Muslim origin have not dared to stand up openly against Islam, and Muslim societies have not experienced the great revolt against the domination of religion that characterized Christian societies in Europe from the 18th century onwards. Islam has been and remains preserved from all contestation by fear.

B-L: Is Europe, in all this, not finally a victim of the religion of human rights, which finally condemns a civilization to suicide, if nothing changes?

J-L.H: The tragedy of France and more generally of Western Europe comes from their adherence to a new utopia which is supposed to establish the reign of good on earth: the secular religion of human rights. This new avatar of the religion of humanity has taken over from the communist one, with the difference that the class struggle has been replaced by the fight against discrimination, but in the service of the same objective, which is the emancipation of humanity through the establishment of equality.

The religion of human rights is the basis of a fiercely anti-national ideology that has radically changed the content of democracy, which is now identified with the cult of the universal, with the obsession with openness to the other. As a fundamental principle of democracy, the sovereignty of the people has taken a back seat and has been replaced by the reign of the dogmas of the religion of human rights, with judges as their priests. In Western democracies, perverted by the religion of human rights, as in the former so-called democracy of the Soviet world, citizens are crushed by ideological taboos whose transgression is severely punished by criminal law: human rights totalitarianism has taken over from communist totalitarianism in the desire to prevent the Western individual from thinking and acting freely. Violating the founding disjunction of the West between politics and religion, this secular state religion deprives the French and more generally the Europeans of their liberties and forbids them to protect themselves against the invading presence of other peoples, other civilizations.

B-I: What optimism, what prospects do you offer to readers for our near future?

J-L H: The truth is, not much. We are in such a deadlock that it is not clear how we will get out of it. And this is because of the West’s submission to the dogmas of the official religion of human rights. Exerting a profoundly dissolving effect on European societies in the name of the hunt for discrimination, presenting cosmopolitanism as the absolute good, forbidding the European peoples to value and love each other, digging the demographic void of Europe by a strong incitement to abortion and filling this void by the arrival of populations mainly of African origin and of Muslim civilization, the religion of human rights is leading the Europeans to their own annihilation. And it is very difficult to reverse this suicidal mechanism, as long as this objectively disastrous state of affairs for the European peoples is perceived as just and good by government officials and by the globalized business community; as long as it is in conformity with the virtuously self-destructive morality that underlies the ideology promoted by the religion of human rights. Like the communist religion, it has taken over from, this secular religion forbids seeing reality and forces people to live in an imaginary world. As a result, good and evil are no longer defined by an understanding of reality, but by the ideals of this dream world. So that what was good has become evil, and vice versa. The measures in favor of immigration and the complacency for the Islamization of Europe being considered as good by the elites who govern us, one should obviously not count on them to fight them.

The only small note of hope that it is possible to introduce, in spite of everything concerning France, is the totally atypical way in which the pre-campaign for the presidential election is currently taking place there, due to the shock wave provoked by the probable candidate Éric Zemmour, with his unprecedented way of refusing all wooden language and calling things as they really are. He thus forced the candidates claiming to be from the governmental right to renounce their usual conformist preaching, in order to take a clear stand on the issues of immigration, Islamization, and the paralysis of political power by the priest-judges of the cult of human rights, both national and supranational.

Even, in this context of liberation of speech and thought, the president and future candidate Macron felt compelled to give to the Algerian leaders a speech of reality at the antipodes of the genuflections and repentant prostrations to which he had given himself up until now. In short, Zemmour has succeeded in a few weeks in doing what the National Rally to achieve despite all its efforts—forcing the political class to leave the imaginary world of human rights and return to the real world. This is crucial, because the process of the conquest of Europe by Islam can only be countered to the extent that it is recognized for what it is, and not perceived as a normal or even desirable phenomenon. This recent—but fragile—return to the world of reality is a welcome ray of light in the night that is falling on France.

And then, more fundamentally, a touch of optimism for Europe can be added to this gloomy picture, thanks to the realistic policies courageously pursued by several countries of the former communist bloc, foremost among them Hungary and Poland. Having suffered for half a century under the boot of communist totalitarianism, these peoples and their leaders are more capable than we are of perceiving the totalitarian and suicidal character of the religion of human rights that has taken over from it, so much so that they refuse the immigrationist ideology that it claims to impose on Europeans and that they are the basis of a resistance to the Islamization of Europe.

Featured image: “Héroïque fermeté de saint Louis à Damiette, mai 1250” (Heroic Resolve of Saint Louis at Damiette, May 1250), by Guillaume Guillon Lethière, painted in 1827.

The Fate Of Europe: A Conversation With Clare Ellis

Recently, the Postil had the opportunity to speak with Clare Ellis, author of The Blackening of Europe (which we’ve recently reviewed; and you can read an excerpt from it as well). Since the topic that she has thoroughly researched, multiculturalism and mass-immigration, is one that affects each and everyone living in the West, we thought it would be good to arrive at a deeper perspective that often comes through insights gained over the course of a conversation. We think you will enjoy this interview; especially poignant is the story of her hard-won PhD. Dr. Ellis is a thoughtful and learned scholar, and it has been a great honor to speak with her.

The Postil (TP): Welcome to the Postil. We are so glad and honored to have you join us. Your recent book is the first in a multi-volume study entitled, intriguingly, The Blackening of Europe, which deals with multiculturalism and mass-immigration. But first, please tell us a little about your background.

Clare Ellis (CE): I was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and moved around quite a bit as a child, from Manchester, Sherborne, and London in England to Elgin and Glasgow in Scotland. I also lived on and off in Saudi Arabia for about eight years as my father worked as a doctor in the capital city, Riyadh, and so I was blessed with also visiting other Middle Eastern countries. In my early twenties I relocated from London, England to Vancouver, Canada and after a few years decided to move to the east coast, to Saint John, New Brunswick and it is here that I finally put down my roots. This is also where I began my journey into academia, beginning with philosophy, you know, the big questions.

Clare Ellis.

I was awarded my BA degree with two majors, one in philosophy (first class honours) and the other in sociology. I then pursued a Master in Interdisciplinary Studies (MIDST). I was fascinated with the trajectory of ancient to modern philosophy and the idea of progress, so I researched the history of the idea as set out by many outstanding Western philosophers, from the ancient Greeks to the 20th century. At that time, I was employed by the university as a teaching assistant and research assistant for several different professors in philosophy and sociology and received quite a few scholarships and awards. I was awarded my MIDST degree in 2011, with a thesis titled: The Idea of Progress and the Agonistic Ethos of Western Man.

I dove straight into my PhD, also interdisciplinary (PHIDST) with the thesis topic: Modernity and Multiculturalism. I wanted to understand why European civilization, the West, was undergoing massive transformations from multiculturalism and mass-immigration, and why criticisms of these processes were taboo. It took several years and many setbacks, but I was awarded my PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies in December of 2017, with a dissertation titled: A Critique of Cosmopolitan Integration in the European Union: Demographic and Political Decline of Native Europeans.

TP: Your books are based on your PhD dissertation at the University of Brunswick. How did you manage to juggle the politics of academia (hell-bent progressivism) and still finish your research and get your doctorate? It must have been quite the feat!

CE: It was a hard battle, difficult to navigate from the start. Other than Dr. Ricardo Duchesne, finding academics that would take my research seriously was extremely difficult at UNB; all the professors I approached outright rejected my thesis proposal. I had to look to other universities in different provinces (Nova Scotia, Acadia University, Dr. Diemo Landgraf and Ontario, Ottawa University, Dr. Janice Fiamengo) to find professors who were open-minded enough to understand that my research was important and who would be willing to come on board as members of the advisory committee. That took about a year or so. And there was a great deal of ideological bias and closed-mindedness in the classrooms, particularly the promotion and adoration of Critical Theory, radical feminism, and the innate guilt of Europeans as a monolithic racial group, which could not be questioned without the threat of disciplinary action and the spiteful lowering of grades. I was discriminated against, silenced, and intimidated by professors in class for speaking out and challenging their biases.

One time, during class, I had a very awkward staring contest with Thom Workman, the chair of the political science department at UNB Fredericton at the time, because I disagreed with his views on feminism and he wanted to shut my alternative views down. Workman also told me directly that he, along with other academics at UNB, were actively rooting out people with alternative views and interests in so-called taboo subjects. At another time, a radical leftist professor, Robert Whitney, who was teaching students in a mandatory political science class that White people were responsible for inventing slavery and racism, which I questioned, told me I should just quit my research and leave the university.

And then there was the administration. So many obstacles were thrown my way to either prevent me from obtaining my degree or to lengthen the time it took, which was very costly and time-consuming. This included being granted absolutely no scholarships or awards. But that was the least of my problems. The admin took four months to submit the grades of my comprehensive exams as well as four months to set the date for my proposal exam. They also shut down my UNB account for over three months so I could not access my emails and UNB resources like journal articles. Many times I waited weeks on end for the assistant dean of interdisciplinary studies (IDST), Mary Mckenna, to answer email inquiries. At one crucial period, after hearing nothing for several weeks, I spoke with the dean of graduate studies on the telephone, Drew Rendall, who then proceeded to claim I could be accused of violating the UNB constitution for asking the administrative authorities questions about procedure and progress regarding my dissertation and was advised to not contact the assistant dean of IDST at all!

My problems with the administration did not end there. The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) took almost five months to find internal examiners for the final oral exam (it usually takes 2-3 weeks) and delayed my final exam by almost a year (my dissertation was completed in early January 2017 but my oral exam did not occur until December 2017). In order to accommodate UNBs inability to find internal examiners from UNB I was told to alter my dissertation, which I refused to do, and they even requested that I provide a copy of my dissertation to a “potential” internal examiner so they could read it and then decide whether they wanted to be on the examining committee or not, which I also refused to do as only those nominated and accepted as an internal examiner can have a copy of the dissertation.

SGS did eventually find two UNB emeritus professors but they were not from my disciplines of research, instead they were in the fields of forestry (Ian Methven) and ethics (Will van den Hoonaard). Compared to the three other examiners who had expertise in my subject area (Duchesne, Fiamengo, and an external examiner, Dr. Dario Fernandez-Morera from Northwestern University, USA) and who thought the scholarship I exhibited in my dissertation was excellent and only needed minor changes, Methven (forestry) outright rejected my dissertation and Hoonaard (ethics), called for substantial revisions. Despite not even having read my dissertation, both McKenna and Randall, who were not examining board members and were meant to be neutral in their views, sided with Methven and Hoonard (minority vote) against the other three (majority vote) in their negative critique of my work.

Without consultation with all members of the examining board and without requesting a reply from the minority members specifying why they dissented from the majority decision, which are procedural requirements, McKenna and Rendall demanded I revise my work, in terms of length (by half) as well as radically altering my scholarly analysis and conclusions. This was fiercely contested by myself, my supervisor, and my advisory committee, who thought these demands were ideologically driven; it essentially ended in a standoff between the two groups. Only after several exchanges, the submission of objections by the minority members, and references to rights and UNBs own guidelines, handbooks, and mandates from myself and the majority side, was there a resolution. That meant I could proceed with the final exam, which was not without its issues either.

The admin changed the exam room several times, and again right before the exam, and put-up posters for the exam directing people to the old rooms. The final room did not have the technology required for an online connection with Dr. Fiamengo in Ottawa. As such, it was very difficult for myself and the audience to hear what Dr. Fiamengo had to say as the sound quality was just from the speakers of a laptop, and she was interrupted and cut-off several times. Not only did many left-wing professors show up in the audience many of them also jeered at me during the question period. Methven, sitting at the front, continuously rolled his eyes at me whenever I responded to a question he asked. One professor, Chris Doran, was so hostile to my research that he sneered at me while he accused me of “inventing” the term indigenous Europeans because Europeans were not yet minorities in their own countries from a colonizing force. But I persevered, kept calm, knew my rights, argued my case, and was finally shaking hands with the administration and awarded my doctorate.

TP: Do you think higher education is still salvageable? Has the life of the mind now been broken by universities, when previously they nurtured it?

CE: Unless intellectual diversity is restored, as well as real critical thinking and research (not Critical Theory thinking), and debates striving towards the truth are allowed and become the norm, especially on topics that are currently considered too taboo for “real” intellectual inquiry, universities will continue to pump out brainwashed, politically correct minds that foster the decline of the West. I think it is very important that elementary and secondary education change too (removal of Critical Race Theory, radical Feminism, anti-Westernism, etc.) as that might reflect alterations in demand, in terms of knowledge sought, in higher education. I question if these crucial restorations and adjustments are possible now, as education and educators are so pervaded with the liberal-left mindset and alternative thinking of the so-called right is increasingly considered as thoroughly unacceptable.

TP: You have various other intellectual interests: social biology, political science, philosophy, sociology and history. Is there a thread that binds them all together?

CE: The rise and then the decline, both demographically and politically, of European peoples.

TP: What led you to begin researching mass-immigration into the West, a topic that forms the basis of The Blackening of Europe?

CE: There is no definitive point in time that I can remember. What I can say, is that my interest in large scale immigration into Europe partly stemmed as a natural development from my MA thesis on the history of the idea of progress, and also from my experience with travelling, as well as the most pressing topics of current affairs. In terms of my prior and ongoing research, I came to understand Enlightenment liberalism as giving rise, or allowing for, the development in the twentieth century of more radical ideologies, such as cultural Marxism. Everyone seemed to be talking and teaching about multiculturalism and diversity, increasingly so, and how they were goods in themselves. But were they and in what way? Why was diversity in the sovereign nations of Europe presented as inevitable, progressive, and modern by academia, political elites, and legacy media? Although cosmopolitanism, diversity, and universalism were there as kernels in ancient Greek philosophy, and informed much of the history of Western thought, I realized multiculturalism vastly differed from these earlier ideas and could only be understood in the context of mass-immigration.

TP: The subtitle of Volume 1 of The Blackening of Europe is Ideologies & International Developments; and you tell the fascinating story of how two particular ideologies came to dominate in the West, namely, multiculturalism and mass immigration—so much so that the West is now defined by both. Why has the West become so masochistic? Or perhaps suicidal?

CE: Is it a willing suicide? Meaning is it undertaken purposefully by the European peoples themselves and not just by the elites that are meant to represent them? A majority of Europeans have opposed mass-immigration and multiculturalism since their inception, but their voices have been stigmatised and ignored by their so-called leaders for decades and are increasingly being replaced by politically correct “diversity is strength” Europeans and by ethnocentric non-European voices. In this sense, Europeans, in general, are not willingly self-harming as a people; it is their elites, as well as foreign interests, that are primarily responsible for the tragedy.

The dissolution of the West is due to a complex combination of factors. A long-standing idea that can be found in the West since at least the beginning of the 20th century has been the notion that nations defined by particular homogenous ethnic groups (ethnonationalism) are a leading cause behind the constant wars that defined relations between distinct European nations for centuries. It was understood that wars could be averted by actively ridding Western countries of their specific ethno-national identities and creating a new form of collective or common European identity, a European or cosmopolitical patriotism. This was an important development in terms of European political thought at the time in the sense that leading thinkers (mostly cosmopolitanists) viewed the unification of Europe, a Pan-Europe or a United States of Europe, as a necessary step towards the federation of the world in perpetual peace – a project that would divide the world into a sort of international balance of powers, with Europe as one geopolitical bloc or world power (along with a Mediterranean integration project called Eurafrica) among four others: the British Commonwealth, Pan-America, Eastern Asia, and the Soviet Union.

After the horrors of WWII European denationalization (and unification) became a central aspect of European progress and quickly became entrenched by the so-called guilt-complex of a strong ethno-national European identity (it became associated with Nazism and anti-Semitism) and the anti-national and anti-European ideologies of Fabianism and Cultural Marxism, which, backed by wealthy capitalists, infiltrated the educational, social, and political systems of Western nations so to align them with the dictates of socialism. Non-European immigration also began after WWII. At first it was in terms of temporary migrant labourers to help with the postwar rebuilding of Europe, but, because of new human rights laws (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948), many of these guest workers opted to settle in Europe and brought over their family members, a practice that has now come to be known in various forms as marriage migration, family reunification, chain migration, or human rights migration, which essentially defines mass-immigration into the West today.

As anti-national and anti-European ideologies have abounded in the European media and educational systems, non-European migrant populations and ethnic enclaves have also proliferated in Europe, and multiculturalism has become the centerpiece of European narratives as a response to ethnic minority group demands for recognition and special rights.

To add to these developments, the 1970s OPEC oil crisis led to the establishment of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, a multilateral forum that aimed to strengthen financial, technical, political, and cultural co-operation between the European Economic Community (EEC) and the twenty Arab League states (and the Arab-Muslim world). This dialogue, which has been amended and supported by many joint declarations and meetings, the formation of new alliances and cooperative organisations, and the drawing of fresh legal documents, has favoured Muslim migrants as a primary source of non-European labour power (and since, fertility power) and has introduced, facilitated, and promoted Islam, including political Islam, in Western European nations. In effect, it has created a new integration model that some have dubbed Eurabia.

All of these developments – human rights-based immigration and ethnic minority multiculturalism, the Euro-Arab Dialogue and its offshoots and promotion of Islam and Muslim migrants, Cultural Marxism and other anti-European ideologies, denationalization, and cosmopolitical patriotism – emasculate European nations and peoples and strip them of their sovereign powers. They also directly connect to the demographic and political decline of Europeans.

TP: Part One of Volume 1 deals with a man name Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi. Tell us a little about him.

CE: The Austrian-Hungarian-Japanese Coudenhove-Kalergi was a central figure in European unification and is considered a leading architect behind the present European Union we know today, forming the Pan-European Union (PEU) in 1946, the European Parliamentary Union (EPU) in 1947, and influencing the formation of the European Council in 1949.

He was a cosmopolitan geopolitician and staunch anti-nationalist, wrote many books on European unification, such as Pan-Europa (1923) and Practical Idealism: Nobility–Technique–Pacifism (1925), coined the term “Eurafrica” (1929), envisioned a new European and a mixed race of human beings in the future (racial engineering), and thought the new Europe would be led by a spiritual Jewish aristocracy. He tirelessly thought that European unification was central to the eventual formation of a federation of federations in the world that would stave off major wars and promote an eternal global peace. He brought together thousands of leading elites in this regard. Today the European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi is awarded to personalities who are recognized as promoting unification and peace in Europe.

TP: You point out that Coudenhove-Kalergi was heavily funded by bankers and the wealthy elite. What attraction did his ideas have for these moneyed classes?

CE: Before World War II, many European and American elites were in support of a united Europe to combat threats to Western civilization posed by Soviet Union communism and German national socialism. A federated Europe meant a strong economic and political unit that could boost prosperity (through free trade and the joint exploitation of the resources of African colonies), quell intra-European hostilities (“solve” the European and German “Questions”), and provide defense against Bolshevik conquest. European unification also meant that Europe could develop a strong Atlantic brotherhood with North America to collectively defend Western civilization as a whole against external threats (prior to NATO) and a be a necessary step towards a new world order – a world federation of federations. Some Europeans also supported the union of Europe because they viewed America, not just the USSR, as a danger to Europe. As the USA was a united bloc with a strong economy it was imperative that the politically divided European nations unite and develop a strong economy to combat American influence and become a dominant world power in par with the other two world powers.

After WWII, many Western elites were under the influence of Fabianism, cosmopolitanism, and cultural Marxism and many international institutes formed, such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and NATO, effectively establishing a new global order based on notions of a Western “peace.” European federation was now within the framework of the United Nations and NATO and was endorsed by elites in terms of the promise of the eventual formation of a world government. For many supporters, the problems and dangers posed by German nationalism (fear of a fourth Reich) and Russian communism (world revolution) remained a priority and could only be solved now through American assisted European unification. As a result, America directly influenced European political integration through the Harvard Committee of Experts and by providing both covert and overt financial aid, such as through the American Committee on a United Europe, the Marshall Plan, and the Eurafrica project. At the time, this latter project was important for American elites because it would enable international trade of the raw materials necessary for economic prosperity as outlined in the Atlantic Charter, the basis of the United Nations.

TP: Part Two looks at cosmopolitanism. Tell us a little about Jürgen Habermas in this context.

CE: Habermas is a very influential critical cosmopolitanist, a product of the Frankfurt School, and a key player in the continuing drive to dissolve European ethnonational identities. Through large-scale transnational immigration he envisions Europe as gradually becoming a universal nation populated by peoples having cosmopolitan identities and world citizenship. For him, immigration is a tool to ethnically mix European populations and undermine the connection of ethnic Europeans to their political, cultural, and national identities and institutions. Essentially, these identities and institutions that have traditionally determined European nations and peoples must be re-engineered to reflect a new ethno-pluralism generated by mass-immigration i.e. a cosmopolitan constitutional identity not based on indigenous European ethnic groups.

TP: Canada has played a leading role in defining and then implementing both multiculturalism and mass immigration. And Justin Trudeau has famously defined the country as a “post-nation.” Why did Canada become the “poster-child” for denationalization? And what is William Kymlicka’s role in all this?

CE: The role of Canadian William Kymlicka in terms of his theory of multiculturalism is certainly very definitive for most, if not all European-based countries. To paraphrase Hugh Donald Forbes, multiculturalism is an experiment that seeks to overcome national and ethnic conflict by the purposeful ethnic mixing of homogenous European nations by immigration thereby separating the nation (the people, ethnic Europeans) from the state (the political apparatus) and paving the way to world government. Multiculturalism is part of a series of steps—”the long march through the institutions”—to radically alter Western civilization from within as advocated by the Frankfurt School and other subversive socialist organisations.

For Kymlicka pluralistic cosmopolitanism in Canada displaces ethnonationalism with a multiplicity of ethnicities and is a model for the world to emulate. He and his colleague Kathryn Walker think “we should recognize the equal moral worth of all human beings by creating a single world political order united around a single common language and global culture.” They go on to say that “being Canadian” means “being a good citizen of the world,” or “being Canadian motivates being or becoming a cosmopolitan.” As such, the same theme continues to play out: dominant ethno-national European identities, whether in Europe, Canada, Australia etc. must be completely dissolved and replaced by ethnic pluralism, cosmopolitan citizenship, and a new world order. To clinch this transformation, one has to understand that Kymlicka’s theory of multiculturalism is really a theory of ethnic and national minority rights only, and not special rights for ethnic European majorities. Unlike ethnic minorities and immigrants, Europeans as a majority of the population in their own countries are not granted rights to preserve, enhance, or celebrate their unique identities, culture, and traditions; they are granted individual liberal rights only.

TP: And then there is the USA, which seems to sling cosmopolitanism about with missionary zeal. Do you see this role diminishing any time soon, or will it expand further, since it seems to inhabit both the Republicans and the Democrats?

CE: American might in terms of spreading liberal democracy/cosmopolitanism/globalism by military intervention and other measures is far from over, although the recent developments between the Ukraine, NATO, the EU, and Russia casts some doubt on their supremacy and continued expansion. Perhaps we will see a restructuring of the world order once again whereby America loses some of its influence as the sole global superpower, or at least finds itself as but one force in a balance of global powers, a multipolar world. History might provide some answers, especially the history of the rise and fall of civilizations and the theory of anacyclosis.

TP: How would you describe conservatism, and what role does it play in the spread of cosmopolitanism?

CE: The conservatism of today really should be understood as neoconservatism, and not traditional conservatism (paleo or classical conservatism), the latter of which has basic principles not found in the new conservatism – limits to knowledge and risk-aversion – as well as policies of non-intervention in foreign countries and deep suspicions of theoretical social experiments such as multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. Neoconservatism has its roots in liberalism (the New York intellectuals), promotes globalist neoliberal economic policies, and believes that the “end of history” is liberal democracy, which must be spread throughout the world (enforced regime change) in order to achieve a lasting Western-style peace and preserve America as the number one global hegemon.

TP: Volume 1 has soundly laid the foundation of how we got here. What should we look forward to in Volumes 2 and 3?

CE: Volume II, subtitled Immigration, Islam, and the Migrant Crisis examines immigration into Europe and demonstrates, through statistical analysis, that net migration (which has been increasing since the 1990s) is the main source of population growth and most residency permits are granted to migrants for family reasons rather than employment. It is evident that since the 1960s immigration into Europe has been predominately from Muslim countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; as such, this volume has a particular focus on Muslim demographics in five key European countries: Belgium, the UK, France, Sweden, and Germany.

It also discusses Muslim radicalism and the difference between violent, non-violent, and participationist Islamists and their channels and schemes of operation in Europe as well as the failure of European counter-radicalism strategies. In addition, this volume investigates and evaluates illegal and irregular immigration into the EU, specifically the 2015/2016 migrant crisis, the source countries of these migrants, the financial, security, and other costs incurred (including mass-sexual assaults and Islamist terrorist attacks), EU Asylum Law (Dublin Regulation), the EU-Turkey agreement, and the use of these migrants by elites to “solve” economic and demographic issues.

Volume III (tentative subtitle: Critical Views) first provides an in-depth analysis of the Eurabia thesis, which was introduced in Volume I. It then critically evaluates Muslim immigration, Islamism, multiculturalism, and Left-wing ideologies in the EU as presented by neoconservative authors Bat Ye’or, Melanie Phillips, and Bruce Bawer, while also refuting some of their central arguments. With reference to international legal definitions of terms such as self-determination, discrimination, persecution, genocide, and indigenous rights and in consultation of the works of several scholars in terms of ethnic conflict and multi-ethnic states, demographic engineering, migrants as weapons of war, demographic conquest and settlement, the homeland principle, the democratic principle of majority rule, and the notion of power tipping etc., we then embark on a critical evaluation of various aspects of the EU cosmopolitan project and its proponents. This includes: the notion that “diversity is destiny,” the enforced “mongrelisation” of European nations, the decoupling of ethnic Europeans from their political identity as advocated by Habermas et al, the neoconservative pressing for monoculturalism, the activities of George Soros and the Open Society Network, open-border leftism, anti-European Third Worldism, and Islamism in Europe.

TP: It has been a great pleasure speaking with you. Thank you for your time.

Featured image: “Burning city with Lot and the angel and Lot’s daughters,” anonymous, attributed to Daniel van Heil; ca. 17th century.

The Blackening Of Europe

We are so very pleased to present this excerpt from the first volume of The Blackening of Europe, by Clare Ellis, which is an extensive and thorough study of the political undertaking to erase Europeans from Europe. Dr. Ellis’s work is meticulous, and those who might object that this is all a “conspiracy theory” will be hard-pressed to counter the facts and the data that she establishes. Please also read the review of this book.

Dr. Ellis received her PhD from the University of New Brunswick and is now preparing Volumes 2 and 3 of The Blackening of Europe for publication with Arktos whose kind generosity has made this excerpt possible.


In addition to having their major cities and capitals transformed into global cities dislocated from their nation-state, their blue and white collar jobs out-sourced, their wages and thus jobs undercut by cheaper immigrant labourers, their houses bought by transnational foreigners, their traditions and political culture undermined and altered to accommodate the plurality of immigrants’ ethnic identities and align with cosmopolitan visions of the future, their national identity scrubbed free of any notion of their ethnicity and descent, and their leaders and other European elites making and implementing ground-breaking decisions without democratic consultation, native Europeans are also not afforded special rights to protect, celebrate, and enhance their unique and collective ethnic identities and ways of life. Instead, they are compulsed into political subjection and silenced through various methods of state-enforced coercion such as multiculturalism, political correctness, and punishment of dissent.

British philosopher Roger Scruton explains that the postmodern anti-national Western elite (cosmopolitans) are ‘oikophobes’, or those who are averse to their home:

[T]he oikophobe repudiates national loyalties and defines goals and ideals against the nation, promoting transnational institutions over national governments, accepting and endorsing laws that are imposed from on high by the EU or the UN, and defining his political vision in terms of cosmopolitan values that have been purified of all reference to the particular attachments of a real historical community.

Oikophobes consider themselves as ‘defender[s] of enlightened universalism against local chauvinism’. To better explain this view, one only has to return to Kymlicka’s theory of rights. As mentioned above, Kymlicka grants privileges to minority ethnic immigrant groups in the form of polyethnic rights, and he affords national minority groups group-differentiated rights, which include self-government rights. Both of these groups have special privileges, such as the right to preserve their distinct cultures and ethnic identities, and they also have individual rights. Although pluralistic cosmopolitanism means that different ethnic groups are merely one cultural group among many with no single one being official, and although it holds that all cultures and ethnicities should be preserved and celebrated, Europeans are not included within this ‘enlightened’ cosmopolitical project.

Kymlicka does not grant positive recognition or afford special rights to the majority ethnic group of European nations, i.e. indigenous Europeans, and implies that the identity of the majority is not based on race, ethnicity, heritage or culture, but is defined only in terms of language, multiculturalism, democracy and universal liberal individual rights. In other words, the European societal cultures and ethnic identities are not to be preserved in the way that national minorities are granted special permission to do so: non-European Old-World cultural and ethnic groups are encouraged by various government programs, policies, and acts to embrace, preserve and celebrate their past, identity, history, heritage and culture. European ethnic majorities are only granted individual rights, which, it is assumed, have come to define their societal cultures and identities since 1948 with the introduction of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the onset of large-scale non-European immigration in the 1960s, and the implementation and institution of multicultural ideology from the 1970s onwards.

In fact, the ethnic identities of Europeans are stripped altogether from the national identity of their own nations, i.e. national identity now means being multicultural and cosmopolitan. They are told to reject their own historical culture, their heritage, their ethnic identity because of its racist, imperialistic, ethnocentric, and supremacist characteristics, and to fill the vacuum with new liberal and cosmopolitan behaviours, such as a hearty embrace of universal liberal values and ‘enrichment’ by distinctively non-European ethnic cultures. As such, the sense of a collective identity for European ethnic groups has been replaced by a government-instituted ideal-type model, an Enlightenment culture that is neutral to the characteristics that legally define non-European ethnic groups and national minorities, such as culture, history, and race. This neutralization has resulted in diminished European traditions, cultural practices, and heritage, the privileging and trumping of foreigner rights over indigenous European native rights by the granting of special rights and recognition to ethnic minorities, and the violation of the right to self-determination, which includes the right of European majorities to an ethnic identity and the right to preserve, enhance, and celebrate it. This means that ethnic European majorities have undergone a radical transformation in their identity over the last forty-five years, from a European-based ethno-cultural distinctiveness to an ‘enlightened’ universalism not defined by race, ethnicity, culture, or heritage.

One of the leading definitions of ethnicity within the social sciences stems from the German sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920). He argued that ethnicity is not fixed; it is not something objectively known, being as it is a social construct. It is ‘a form of “social closure” in which a group excludes others in order to obtain a status advantage over them’. Alan Simmons, Professor of Sociology at York University, Toronto, argues that modern-constructionists ‘view ethnicity, ethnic pride, and ethnic nationalism as modern inventions’ that appeared in the context of the nineteenth century. Postmodern constructionists view ethnicity as ‘not singular and fixed, but rather multiple and flexible’ such that immigrants are ‘fragmented’ people who have ‘hyphenated and hybrid forms’ of ethnic identity. Turkish-American philosopher Seyla Benhabib writes that immigrants have ‘multiple, overlapping allegiances which are sustained across communities of language, ethnicity, religion, and nationality’ and that these

developments have arisen as a result of cultural pluralization arising from migration, ethnic multiculturalism, cultural diversity of all kinds and the growing demands for the recognition of different life choices.

Taking the above definitions of ethnicity into account, Kymlicka’s liberal multiculturalism, even if it grants temporary group rights and is based on the expectation that minorities will assimilate to liberal values, can be interpreted as a form of stereotyping, in that it grants special group rights to minorities. It contradicts both the modern and postmodern social constructionist view of ethnicity by emphasising the objective existence of the ethnic identities of minorities.

It is difficult to reconcile the fact that minorities, on the one hand, claim they are transnational or cosmopolitan and thus have multiple identities, but then, on the other hand, demand multicultural ethnic immigrant rights — i.e. they have ethnic solidarity in distinction to the individual rights only of the majorities, who are viewed as world citizens. In fact, claims about the ethnic solidarity of ethnic minority groups challenge cosmopolitan ideals. Despite this, Kymlicka implies that ethnicity is a real and important characteristic of peoples who differentiate themselves from, and more importantly, self-identify themselves in contrast to one another, which is especially noticeable in the form of societal culture, and thus require special rights enabling them to preserve, enhance, and celebrate their uniqueness. However, European ethnic majorities are the only ethnic groups that Kymlicka ignores. Thus, he might be perceived as being anti-ethnic-European identity.

Europe, But Not Europeans

Over the course of a mere 60 years Western Europe has been radically transformed demographically, socially and culturally. So extensive are the changes wrought that it is hard to believe they have been executed in less than the lifetime of a single human.

I thought I knew the story of the European Economic Community/EEC, European Union/EU, mass migration, and the dismantling of Europe’s borders. I also thought I knew about the impact of ideologies like liberal-progressivism, Fabianism, multiculturalism, globalization and cultural Marxism. But Clare Ellis’s book showed me how much I did not know. The book, The Blackening of Europe, tracks out the complex story of the ideas, policies and international politics that have led to today’s apparent victory of the cosmopolitan agenda of denationalizing Europeans. [Read an excerpt from this book.]

Ellis (who is no fan of where cosmopolitanism and denationalization have taken Europe) joins the dots between a plethora of players whose ideas have travelled, mutated and connected over time. The result is an intriguing genealogy of ideas and policies which have shaped the journey that Europe has taken. What unfolds is a story guaranteed to infuriate those of us troubled by the damage being inflicted upon Western culture by anti-nationalism, anti-traditionalism, liberal-progressivism, plus the mass migration into Europe of non-culturally proximate peoples. But what an interesting story it is as told by Claire Ellis.

Ellis is a good storyteller who has created a compelling narrative that joins a multiplicity of dots. But, of course, in order to join the dots she had to first tell us about (and flesh-out) each of these dots. And the four key themes in Ellis’ story are denationalisation (and anti-nationalism); the emergence of the EU; the inter-connected ideologies of multiculturalism and immigrationism; and moves to expand the EU’s market by incorporating the Arab world through a Euro-Arab cultural dialogue project.

What becomes clear is that the denationalization of Europe has not been left to chance. European denationalisation (and the EU project) has been (and remains) a deliberate project driven by anti-nationalists. Some of these anti-nationalists have been liberal-cosmopolitans, while others have been socialist-internationalists. Indeed, it is interesting to ponder the nature of the cooperation that grew up between liberals and socialists in their joint promotion of anti-nationalism. It might be argued that this cooperation has amounted to something of a de facto anti-nationalist alliance in post-Second World War Europe.

Even though denationalization has been a world-wide phenomenon, it is worth recognizing the extent to which denationalization assumed an especially organized character in the European context. The politics of anti-nationalism within the EEC (and then the EU) took on the form of a “progressivist” mission. (A mission geared to actively denationalize Europeans and institutionalize a process which aimed to mutate previously separate European nation states into a shared European identity). This mission constituted a form of social engineering on steroids. And it was a variety of progressivist social engineering that would be helped along by deploying mass immigration as a catalyst to speed up social change and identity shifts. Importantly, as Ellis reminds us, this mission of European identity-reconstruction was ideologically driven.

But even if European denationalisation has been a locally organized project, we should not lose sight of the fact that both denationalisation and cultural homogenization are phenomena that transcend local contexts. In this regard, Ellis draws attention to how the EU project was enmeshed with the wider project of globalization. The two ideas of federating Europe and of creating a system of global governance are complementary. Within the ideological dreaming of internationalists and cosmopolitans a federated Europe simply becomes a (regional) federation within a (global) federation. Both serve the same anti-nationalist purpose of first weakening, and then deconstructing, national identities so that new culturally homogenized and hybridized identities can grow in their place. The left of course celebrates the way in which we have slipped into an era of cultural homogenization and hybridization because, for social engineers who see Western culture as something to be challenged, what better way to execute a project of cultural change.

Ellis’ book is a timely reminder that the dream of replacing Europe’s nations with a shared “Europeanism” has long been an agenda pushed by cosmopolitan activists, motivated by an undisguised anti-nationalist agenda. And underpinning this cosmopolitanism was a mainstream media industry that supported globalization. Supporting globalization is a no-brainer for anti-nationalists, given that the globalization project complements the worldview of those David Goodhart has called “anywheres.” The people defined as “anywheres” are those who pride themselves on not being rooted to anywhere, preferring to see themselves as “citizens of the world.” As a consequence, “anywheres” intuitively oppose “somewheres” precisely because “somewheres” are people explicitly rooted in a particular place and who take pride in the national identity which is tied to that specific place.

Ellis unpacks the way in which European cosmopolitans (as “anywheres”) have implicitly understood the synergy between the EU project and the globalization project. Federating Europe can, after all, be seen to serve as a learning-experience or a step on the road to creating a system of global governance. The EU serves as a laboratory in the processes of denationalization; of building a bureaucratized federal system of anywheres-run government; and of learning to manage mass migration as a tool of cultural change (and denationalization).

Elite sanctioned non-European mass migration into Western Europe started 60 years ago. This mass migration has become integral to EU’s cosmopolitan project. For Ellis, a crucial feature of these migratory processes is that they are proving corrosive to the culture of indigenous Europeans. It is no accident that over the past 60 years, we have witnessed European traditional culture being erased at an accelerated rate. And underpinning this elite sanctioned mass migration has been the promotion of two ideologies—multiculturalism and immigrationism.

A fascinating feature of these two ideologies has been high levels of bi-partisanship between socialists and liberals in formulating and running Europe’s mass immigration policies. Thus we saw leftist policy-makers supporting mass migration out of a curious mix of guilt (about imperialism), idealism (associated with the “anywheres” belief in ‘global citizenship’), and a ‘moral’ preference for open borders.

On the other hand, we saw business-aligned policy-makers push for mass migration in order to import labour. Not only did mainstream journalists fail to interrogate these policies and their motivations, but the mainstream media overwhelmingly served as an uncritical propagandist for immigrationism and multiculturalism. While anyone opposing/resisting this immigrationism/multiculturalism faced the likely prospect of being maligned and stigmatized as “racist,” often in the form of a media frenzy. And once this so-called “racism” became criminalized any opposition/ resistance could carry a penalty greater than stigmatization. The outcome was a type of enforced diversification promoted by both human rights legislation and a compliant media that serviced ideologies advocated by the “anywheres.”

But one of the delights of Ellis’ book is that it goes beyond talking about the EU and European migration policies as already discussed by many others. Instead Ellis takes us on a journey which explores the ideas which have fed into and helped underpin the integration and denationalization of Europe: multiculturalism and immigrationism. This includes Fabianism’s influences on Eleanor Roosevelt, John Dewey and the British Labour Party; plus the way the Frankfurt School’s Cultural Marxism fed into pan-European socialism and into broader left-wing thinking about engineering social change.

In unpacking the ideas that have underpinned Europe’s demographic and cultural transformation, Ellis focusses considerable attention on the role of cosmopolitanism in the story of the EU. In particular, we learn of the foundational role played by Count Kalergi and the 1920s Pan-European Movement.

Kalergi was an important European cosmopolitan thinker and a passionate anti-nationalist. Significantly Kalergi advocated the “cleansing” of language and race mixing as vehicles for denationalizing Europe. In this regard, Kalergi can be seen as a pioneer of the sort of ideas that have become embedded into today’s Critical Race Theory. Kalergi’s cosmopolitan dream of erasing Europe’s borders and denationalizing Europeans became foundational for the way the EU has evolved.

The second part of Kalergi’s dream has not yet come to pass—namely creating a new world order based upon a federation of federations. For Kalergi, the EU would be but one of 5 regional (denationalized) federations, which would become the building blocks for a global federation. So, for Kalergi, the integration of Europe was but the first step to building the sort of world government cosmopolitans dream of. But rather than me summarizing Ellis’ work on Kalergi—read the book yourself and see how Kalergi influenced so much European integration planning—such as the Eurafrique project; France’s Constantine Plan; the Strausbourg plan; the Schuman Plan; the EEC; and the EU’s contemporary border and refugee policies.

One of the other areas discussed by Ellis, which makes her book a gem, is the issue of Islamic mass migration into Western Europe, which has been facilitated by the growing influence of cosmopolitan “anywheres” within Europe’s elite circles. There has long been Islamic migration into Europe; but mass immigration is new. Ellis traces this phenomenon back to 1973 when Willy Brandt called an EEC meeting to discuss improving European-Arab relations. This led to the formal launch of the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) in 1974, which institutionalized a mechanism to bring the Arab world and Europe together.

The EAD saw Arab states promise oil and markets in return for Arab migration into Europe. Importantly, Arab participants in EAD said European states needed to make these Arab migrants feel comfortable in Europe, by allowing them to retain their cultural and religious practices in Europe. The resultant 1979 Damascus declaration facilitated mass Arab migration and so initiated what has become a process of Arabizing/Islamisizing Europe. This process was widened by the creation of the Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab corporation in 1995, which has the agenda of bringing the Arab and European cultures together so as to complement the building of one huge integrated economy/ market which some have called Eurabia. The creation of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures in 2004 deepened this Euro-Arab project further. Unsurprisingly, the growing momentum of the EAD process led to Nicolas Sarkozy putting France’s Eurafrique project back on the agenda in 2007, all of which further hastened the demographic and cultural transformation of France (and Europe).

For those interested in Europe’s demographic and cultural transformation, read Ellis’ book. You’ll finish it with many new insights into a range of ideas, theories and projects which contributed to the way in which multiculturalism, immigrationism, denationalization and anywhereism have become so influential.

Eric Louw has a career spanning universities in both South Africa and Australia. He has published extensively in the fields of political communication and South African political discourses. His books include, The Rise, Fall and Legacy of Apartheid; Roots of the Pax Americana; and The Media and Political Process.

Featured image: New European Magazine, March 2014.

Reconquest: The Project Of Éric Zemmour

We translate here the speech delivered by Éric Zemmour, at the launch of his brand-new political part, Reconquête (Reconquest), on December 5, 2021, before a crowd of some 15,000. It is a powerful call to arms for France, and Zemmour is making the French political establishment rather nervous. He is a well-known public intellectual and writer.

Greetings to all of you! Greetings to all of you. Greetings my friends. Thank you! Thank you for the welcome. It’s amazing. What an atmosphere! What a pleasure to be here before you in Villepinte. Thank you, really. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I heard the words of those who spoke before me: I thank them. Thank you, my friends! Thank you for being here, thank you for your support. The great coming-together finally begins today. There are nearly fifteen thousand of you here today.

Fifteen thousand! Fifteen thousand French people. Fifteen thousand French people who have defied political correctness, the threats of the extreme left and the hatred of the media.

Fifteen thousand French people who no longer lower their eyes and who are determined to change the course of history! Because let’s not be falsely modest: the stakes are immense. If I win this election, it will not be just another change-over, but the beginning of the reconquest of the most beautiful country in the world.

Yes, this country has suffered so much, has been forgotten by our successive leaders, so that on all fronts it is now necessary to repair the innumerable errors which were committed over these last forty years. Economy, ecology, purchasing power, public services, immigration, insecurity: none of the major chapters of the action we must take escape the serious and comprehensive project that we will begin today to unveil to the French people. Because after the indispensable period of observing and raising awareness, the project must follow.

Who could have imagined this just a few months ago?

The authorities had decided it, the journalists had wanted it, the right had accepted it: the next presidential election was to be a formality for five more years of Macronism.

France was to continue to quietly exit from history, and the French were to disappear in silence on the land of their ancestors. But a small grain of sand came along to jam the machine. No, this grain of sand is not me. This grain of sand is you!

Let me tell you a beautiful story. I’m going to tell you the story of what you’ve accomplished in the last few months.

Last June, on every stage, at every dinner party, in every polling station it was clearly understood: the second round was a foregone conclusion, and Macron could not but win. This presidential election was of no interest.

And then a rumor started to spread. Yes, I confess, I hesitated for a long time. But you came, we came.

And we upset the best laid plans. We broke the tacit pact between all the actors of this farce. And now, no one dares to predict the results of the coming election.

I weigh my words carefully when I say this: your presence honors me. It honors me, because by coming here you show courage, panache, audacity. And dare I say it: by your commitment, you have shown more ardor, determination and resistance than almost all the political leaders of the last thirty years. In Bordeaux, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Ajaccio, Nantes, Rouen, Biarritz, and today, Paris—France is calling out for help and the French have answered the call.

For months, our meetings have been disturbing journalists, irritating politicians, and hystericizing the Left.

Each time I travel, they are enraged at seeing this people that they thought would disappear forever! Because in the four corners of the country, they saw these rooms full to bursting, and overflowing with enthusiasm.

They see your flags, they hear your chants, and they are stunned by your applause. In the end, the political phenomenon of these meetings is not me, it’s you! Your presence is that of a people who have never lain down, and who remain standing against all odds. This people—they had forgotten them; they had underestimated them. They even thought they had got rid of them, far from the city centers, far from the beautiful districts, far from their media.

They were wrong.

The French people, who have been here for a thousand years and who want to remain masters in their own country for another thousand years, have not had their last word.

Your courage honors me, because for months now, not a single day has gone by without those in power and their media outlets attacking me. They invent polemics about books that I wrote fifteen years ago.

They dig into my private life. They call me names. But don’t be mistaken: the real object of their wrath is not me, it’s you. If they hate me, it is because they hate you; if they despise me, it is because they despise YOU.

Against me, everything is allowed. The pack is now on my tail: my opponents want my political death, the journalists want my social death, and the jihadists want me dead. But in their rage, they made a serious mistake: they showed themselves. They attacked us too early. In a few weeks, I am sure, the French will open its eyes to their stratagems, and their attacks will become ineffective.

They have made the mistake of designating me as their sole opponent. They think they are our enemies. But, in fact, they are our best allies.

We are used to it by now. In every election, the system carefully excludes the candidates who displease it, with its judges at their behest, and their militant journalists. We knew they would come after us and we were waiting for them. They want to forbid us to defend our ideas. They want to make me unelectable. They want to steal your democracy. Let’s not let them do that!

They still have one last hope—they want me not to get my 500 sponsorships. So, I say to the mayors of France: dear elected representatives of the people, men and women of good sense, volunteers of the Republic, you have the power to give a voice to millions of French people! Use this power! Do not let yourselves be robbed of the election.

In attacking me, they made a second mistake: underestimating the French. They imagined us asleep, tired, submissive, afraid… But this extraordinary people have a unique capacity of resistance in the history of humanity. France should have disappeared many times. But each time, we held on, and each time, we came back!

They imagine us, in their caricature, full of resentment. They are mistaken: In our hearts there is neither hatred nor resentment, but only determination and courage. In the midst of the French Revolution, Danton declared: “A nation saves itself, but does not take revenge.”

We do not want to take revenge, we want to save, save our country, save our civilization, save our culture, save our literature, save our school, save our landscapes and our natural patrimony, save our companies, save our heritage, save our youth. And above all: save our people.

Over the past few months, you may have heard many things about me. Some have said that I was brutal. Yes, this could be true, because I am passionate and my commitment is total, and France is on the brink.

During these three months, I wanted to push forward the question of France’s survival. If I had been wrong, frankly, do you think that everyone else would have started talking like me?

You may have heard that I am a “fascist,” that I am a “racist,” that I am a “misogynist.” I am pleased to see that you have not been misled.

Fascist… fascist. Me, a fascist.


When frankly, I am the only one defending the freedom of thought, the freedom of speech, the freedom to debate, the freedom to put words to reality, while they all dream of banning our meetings and having me convicted.

And then I am also a misogynist.


You know just how ridiculous this accusation is. As a child, in the middle of these big families from Algeria, I was always surrounded by women: my mother of course, but also her sisters, my grandmothers. The women of my childhood, even more than the men, forged my character. They were… how can I put it? At the same time loving and demanding, tender and imperious. It was my mother who instilled in me a taste for effort and excellence. It was also my mother who instilled in me an immoderate love of France.

When I remember my childhood, I remember first of all that my mother transmitted to me this immoderate love of France, the elegance of its art of living, the refinement of its morals and its literature. It was she who gave me the strength to resist everything, to defend this France that she loved passionately. I will tell you a secret: it is thanks to her experience and her memories, told to the child that I was, that I was able to understand—before others—the unheard-of regression that women are undergoing today, in neighborhoods where mass immigration has imported an Islamic civilization so cruel to women.

This is probably why I am the only one today, along with some courageous organizations, to establish without false modesty the obvious link between this immigration from the other side of the Mediterranean and the threats which weigh each day more and more on French women, on their freedom, on their integrity, and sometimes even on their lives. But, all the while, feminists look the other way and talk to us about inclusive language.

I am also supposed to be a “racist.” I will be a racist when I am the only one who does not confuse the defense of our own with the hatred of others.

What is racism? It is to imagine that those who are different from us are inferior because they are different and that the only people who can be French are the descendants of Clovis. How can I, a little Berber Jew from the other side of the Mediterranean, think that?

No, obviously I am not a racist. No, of course, you are not racists. All we want is to defend our heritage. We are defending our country, our homeland, the heritage of our ancestors and the heritage that we will entrust to our children. The preservation of the heritage is not the enemy of modernity, it is the very condition of its existence.

Yes, we are engaged in a fight that is greater than ourselves—that of passing on to our children France as we have known it, France as we have received it. That is why I am standing before the French people today to become their next President of the Republic. That is why we are engaging today in a great battle for France!

Our movement is launched. It is well-structured and organized in all our regions, in all our departments.

Every day, every hour, every minute, we welcome into our ranks new brave ones ready to fight for France. They can now count on the precious support of the VIA networks and the conservative movement. Laurence and Jean-Frédéric, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Yes, thanks to them, thanks to all of you, the Reconquest is now launched!

The reconquest of our economy, the reconquest of our security, the reconquest of our identity, the reconquest of our sovereignty, the reconquest of our country!

We are heading out to the reconquest of our abandoned villages, of our devastated schools, our sacrificed companies, our degraded natural and cultural heritage.

We are heading out to the reconquest of our country to win it back.

“Reconquest” is the name of this movement that I wanted to found. Join us! Join the reconquest of our country!

Our campaign will be different from others because I am different from others. Yes, I humbly confess:

I do not have forty years of political cunning and media spin behind me. They think it’s my weakness, I think it’s my strength.

My strength in this campaign is to touch the hearts of the French with my style, my personality, my sincerity, and now my project.

My strength is to lead our country without compromise, without cowardice, without weakness.

In my conception of politics, sincerity, coherence, honesty, have never been defects.

In my vision of politics, the contest of ideas, convictions, enthusiasm are the surest assets to keep one’s promises and not to betray the voters.

In my conception of politics, we address all French people.

I refuse to choose between the wealthy classes of the metropolises and peripheral France.

I refuse to choose between urban France and rural France.

I refuse to choose between metropolitan France and outer France.

I refuse to choose between the retired and the active.

I refuse to choose between the memories of yesterday, the issues of today and the challenges of tomorrow.

In my vision of politics, when you are President of the French people, you are president of all France and all French people.

Our campaign is now launched—it will be the most beautiful of all!

I now want to pay tribute to all those who, for months now have believed in me, who slogged through the campaign, mobilized, handed out leaflets, canvassed the mayors—to make this great fight possible.

Thank you to the Friends of Eric Zemmour, thank you to Generation Z.

I had planned to say: “I want us to applaud them,” but as usual you will do what’s in your mind. It was always they who, by their enthusiasm, gave me the desire to lead this battle.

“Impossible is not French” wrote the Emperor. You have proved once again that he was right.

Yes, your fight is noble because you are not fighting for yourself, for your little privileges, for your little lives. You are committed to something much bigger than yourself: you are committed to France.

Like the builders of cathedrals, we are working for tomorrow. We work for the day after tomorrow.

We are working for our children, and for our children’s children.

We know that History is relentless, and we will be equal to it so that in a century, France will once again become a beacon that lights up the world, and that our people will once again be admired, envied and respected. For the power and sovereignty regained at home will allow us to express power and influence abroad, on the stage of a world that has changed and that we must face without fear.

To achieve this goal, we are going to conquer power: tomorrow the Elysée Palace, the day after tomorrow the National Assembly! Then will come the turn of the regions, the departments, the communes. One by one we are going to dislodge all these left-wing elected officials, all these socialists: all these socialists who have become Macronists, all these Macronists who have become ecologists, and all these ecologists who have become Islamo-leftists. To dislodge each of them, we will have to convince each Frenchman.

This is our mission. That is your mission.

We have a clear course ahead of us, based on undeniable facts; and from now on we will present solid initiatives.

As I have often said, one of the things that led me to this candidacy was when my son said to me one day: “Well, Dad, the observations you’ve been making for thirty years, now it’s time to take action.”

At 63, I’m moving from observations to action.

I am ready to take the reins of our country. We are ready to meet the expectations of the French people.

You know, for months now, I have been crisscrossing France, meeting with the French. Two fears haunt them: that of the great decline with the impoverishment of the French, the decline of our power and the collapse of our school. And that of the great replacement, with the Islamization of France, mass immigration and permanent insecurity.

Yes, we know. We know that France has become terribly impoverished in recent years. We feel the difficulties of so many French people to make ends meet. We understand the pain that business leaders have because of all the taxes, laws and regulations. We are afflicted by the decline of our power in the world.

I want to address all of these fears.

To stop our employees from getting poorer, I want to make the take-home pay higher. It is not normal to have such a gap between net and gross wages. It is not normal that the gross salary is so high for the bosses, and that the net salary is so low for the employees. I want to give back purchasing power to the most modest employees. I will therefore reduce the contributions they pay, in order to give back, each year, a thirteenth month to employees earning the minimum wage. Each month, they will receive an extra 100 euros. This is only fair: it is the fruit of their labor. I cannot imagine that our employees, especially the poorest ones, finance with their expenses a social model that has become obese because it is open to the whole world.

Solidarity must become national again, and throughout this campaign I will not stop coming back to this, so that the French will get out of this downward spiral. So that our companies also stop getting poorer.

Therefore, in the very first weeks of my mandate, I will massively reduce production taxes for all companies, because it is not right to tax a company before it has even had a chance to make a profit. I want more small businesses to benefit from a lower corporate tax rate: why do large companies, with their armies of tax experts, manage to pay less tax than small companies and VSEs? I want them to regain room to maneuver so that they have the capacity to invest and hire.

In order for our country to stop getting poorer, I am choosing to reindustrialize. I have been saying this for years, at a time when the so-called serious economists were mocking us. I want France to become a major industrial world power again. To become powerful again, France must become a country of industry. Because industry creates jobs, generates innovation, is a source of wealth and a guarantor of our independence. General de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou understood this. Because it is synonymous with social advancement, we want to recoup this industrial France of workers, engineers, SMEs, ETIs and large companies!

So, to help our industrialists, we propose less taxes, fewer standards and more orders. In addition to lowering production taxes, we will force public procurement to favor French companies. There is no reason why all the countries in the world should reserve their public contracts for their national companies, while France chooses to go abroad because of budgetary and European dogmatism. To implement this policy, I will create a powerful Ministry of Industry in charge of foreign trade, energy, research and development and raw materials.

We will also initiate a process of administrative simplification under the direct aegis of the Elysée. Why is our State so powerless with criminals, yet so ruthless with honest people?

I want to cut through this forest of regulations that is ruining the lives of our companies. To do this, I will rely on the key players in our economy, on thousands of intermediary organizations despised by successive governments.

We are choosing to reduce taxation and to focus on industry, on the creation of wealth with a view to its redistribution, on the choice of public procurement over subsidies!

Our conception of the economy is coherent: it favors entrepreneurship in the service of all AND rootedness. Yes, rootedness. This is why we are going to promote the transfer of companies from one generation to the next, like in Italy, like in Germany. This is why I want to abolish inheritance and gift taxes for the transfer of family businesses. It is not normal; it is not acceptable that a French company director would rather sell his company to a Chinese industrialist or to an American investment fund rather than pass on the fruits of his labor to his children, for fear of being cheated by the tax authorities.

But the great decline is not only that of our less well-off workers, it is not only that of our companies—it is also that of French power. For France to get out of the spiral of decline in which our elites have trapped it, it must renew its tradition of independence. This is why I want France to leave NATO’s integrated military command. That is why we must jealously preserve our overseas territories. That is why New Caledonia must remain French. I say no to all the surrenders of this government on this subject.

I want France to regain a position of balance in the world. We are France. We are not the vassals of the United States. We are not the vassals of NATO, of the European Union. We must speak with all countries! The United States, China, Russia. But we must also be wary of all of them, because geopolitics is never a long quiet river. We must regain our rank, reconnect with our power.

Throughout this campaign, I will continue to reveal my platform. Throughout this campaign, I will continue to make public the measures I propose for France.

Our political project is a long-term one. We are committed to the next decades, and to the next generations. And in the long term, power rhymes with education. For schools, we will be on the side of excellence. The French school model must return to its fundamentals, with a particular focus on mathematics and the humanities.

We must rediscover the model that made us successful in the past, and which is now the success of the Asian countries that have imitated us: classical culture, scientific studies, valorization of manual skills,
transmission of knowledge, and the culture of merit and excellence.

From the beginning of the new school year, we will make school the instrument of French-style assimilation, and we will chase pedagogism, Islamo-leftism and LGBT ideology out of our children’s classrooms!

We will give back to teachers the means to work. We will restore their authority. We will ban the use of inclusive language and we will ban all forms of positive discrimination.

Yes, I promise, school will no longer be the ideological laboratory of the Left, and our children will no longer be its guinea pigs! The school of the Republic must once again become the sanctuary it was; and the free school, to which we owe so much, must remain free!

The school must regain its priority objective: the transmission of knowledge, the only way to reduce inequalities. It must no longer try to be as inclusive as possible; but on the contrary to re-establish the culture of merit and effort. And it is because knowledge will be transmitted again, because the culture of effort and merit will be re-established that we will effectively fight against social inequalities!

I want to put an end to this pedagogy which has been constantly lowering social standards for forty years. In the name of equality between all students, they have deprived them of culture, they have prevented evaluations, they have banned rankings.

They thought they were doing the students a favor by depriving them of excellence, preventing them from demonstrating their talent, their intelligence and their work. The school of my childhood promoted these things, and I am sure for many of you here it was the same. That older school allowed in one generation for a person to climb the highest ranks of the Republic. Remember Georges Pompidou, a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, an Associate Professor of Arts, a senior civil servant, and a Head of State, whose parents were teachers and whose grandparents were modest farmers. This is the kind of destiny I want for the next generations of French people, regardless of their social background!

This forgotten France, our forgotten France, has the right to find a quality school. This despised France has the right to find public services. This abandoned France, which lacks police stations, which lacks trains, which lacks doctors, which lacks hospitals is also deprived of a school worthy of its dreams for its children. It is unfair, and it is unacceptable.

But impossible is not French. The state can enable the reconquest of this abandoned France. It must go to each village, each commune, each department to present its model based on excellence: industrial excellence, scientific excellence, educational excellence, excellence in our public services.

Yes, our fight is for excellence. But our fight is above all for France. Because in the face of the accelerating change of people, we are the only ones who dare speak the truth. We are the only ones who say the words that make people angry because we suggest measures that are necessary.

In 2019, France has allowed between 350,000 and 400,000 foreigners to enter its territory, far more than the city of Nice, which is the fifth largest city in France! Over a five-year period, this represents two million entries; the equivalent of the city of Paris.

The challenge of the next presidential election will be to know if we want to let in two million more over the next five years.

According to INSEE, while less than 1% of newborns had a Muslim name in the 1960s, today 22% do so.

Today they are 22%. What percentage tomorrow? Imagine the magnitude of the unprecedented cultural, demographic and human change we are going through. Yesterday, the media complex denied it. Today they celebrate it. Tomorrow they will tell us that we had no choice.

They are lying.

We have a choice.

We have the power to choose the civilizational destiny of our country.

Our migration policy has three pillars:

The first is to stop the flow immediately. From the first weeks of my mandate, zero immigration will become a clear objective of our policy. Before next summer, I want to limit the right to asylum to a handful of individuals each year, to restore meaning to this misused right. I will demand that asylum applications be made in our consulates, to avoid the settlement of rejected asylum seekers who never leave. I want to abolish the right to family reunification and drastically reduce family immigration.

I want to improve the selection of foreign students and establish the principle of their return at the end of their studies. I want to dismantle illegal immigration channels, to put out of action the entities that bring these migrants back to Europe.

The second pillar of my migration policy is simple: I want to put an end to the suction pumps that make France an El Dorado for the Third World. France must become generous with its own people and stop opening its social model to the four winds! I want to abolish social assistance for non-European foreigners, abolish state medical aid. Why, my friends, should we be the only ones in the world to be so generous? I want to abolish the right of the soil, and I want to drastically tighten the conditions for naturalization.

The third pillar of this plan concerns foreigners who have already settled in France. I want to systematically expel all illegals present illegally on our soil. I want to immediately expel foreign criminals who will no longer clutter French prisons. I want to deprive of their French nationality the criminals with dual nationality. I want to expel unemployed foreigners after six months of unsuccessful job search.

So many democratic countries do it: why not us?

All these measures will be submitted to the French people by referendum so that they approve them. Thus made sacred by universal suffrage, they will be imposed on all, including the constitutional council, the European judges, and the technocrats of Brussels.

Our existence as a French people is not negotiable. Our survival as a French nation is not subject to the goodwill of treaties or European judges. Let’s take back our destiny!

Now I want to talk to those who are French. Yes, I make a distinction between who is French and who is not. No, I will not expel some French people. Yes, I am reaching out to Muslims who want to become our brothers! Many of them already are that. For all those who want to be French and who show their attachment to France every day; for all those who did not come to France for the generosity of its social model, out of habit or out of spite; for all those whose ancestors, like me, come from elsewhere but who want the future of their children to be written here.

To all of them, I propose assimilation. Assimilation is the greatest gift France can offer you: to be part of its immense History. It is the greatest gift that France has given me.

Imagine becoming the compatriot of Montaigne, Pascal, Chateaubriand, Balzac! The choice of assimilation is certainly a demanding one, because from now on we have to say “we” when talking about a past where our personal ancestors were not present. This is the effort that my grandparents and my parents made.

Yes, assimilation is demanding, but only it will allow us to find peace and brotherhood. Yes, assimilation is demanding, but why exempt the Algerians, the Malians or the Turks from the efforts made in the past by the Spaniards, the Poles or the Italians? Why should Muslims be unable to do the work of separating the spiritual from the temporal that the Jews and Christians did before them?

Yes, we are reaching out to the French of the Muslim faith who want to become our brothers! There are some! And our hand is firm, and without compromise: if you make France your mother and every Frenchman your brother, you are our compatriots!

Yes, in our reconquest, we set the bar very high and we are demanding, because France is not an à la carte menu. France requires total adhesion. And for those who refuse, and for all those with dual nationality and foreigners who violate our laws, the exit door is wide open.

These are the solutions that the French have been demanding for decades. France can no longer procrastinate.

I cannot fight this battle without you. I need your help! A formidable struggle awaits us to save our country, and each of us is participating in this immense battle.

I appeal to all French patriots, to all those whose feet are firmly rooted in their land. To all those who have not abandoned France. I call upon. I appeal to these militants, to these executives, to these voters of the National Front, who have seen their ideas vegetate in a sterile opposition for decades.

I appeal to these militants and voters of the Republicans, who are tired of seeing their elected representatives bend to the injunctions of the Left and political correctness. This right wing, in love with France, is the majority in our country.

They are well-to-do people categories who have not cut their ties with their homeland. They are the people who have not given in to uprooting. These are the middle class who refuse to be replaced.

I am reaching out to the voters, the executives, the supporters of the Republicans, many of whom have been represented by my friend Eric Ciotti. Your place is with us, at our side, in this fight for France. I want to speak here to the orphans of the RPR. To all those who remember that here, in Villepinte, exactly 31 years ago, the whole of the Right was gathered to organize the “Etats généraux de l’immigration.” I was there, I was barely 30 years old. Yes, I was there. I observed, I noted.

But, there were especially Chirac, Giscard, Juppé, Bayrou, Sarkozy, Madelin. And so many others.

They promised that immigration would be reduced to zero, that national solidarity would be reserved for the French, and that the right of citizenship would be abolished. It was strongly asserted that Islamic laws were incompatible with the laws of the French Republic.

Luck, my friends, is malicious. Thirty-one years later, we find ourselves here, in Villepinte, to say exactly the same thing. And the Left, and the media, and the Macronist power, and the center, and even the current leaders of LR are labelling me and us with the infamous label of “extreme right.”

I want to ask a simple question here. Was Jacques Chirac of the extreme right? Was Valérie Giscard d’Estaing of the extreme right? And Alain Juppé, and François Bayrou? Are they also from the extreme right then?

Yes, my friends, luck is mischievous. We find ourselves together today, on December 5th, the anniversary of the founding of the RPR in 1976! We weren’t even supposed to be here in Villepinte, and here we are. What coincidences, what anniversaries, what memories, what symbols.

But this lesson from Villepinte does not end there. Three years after the General Assembly of the Right, the RPR and the UDF won the legislative elections. In 1995, Jacques Chirac entered the Elysée Palace.

And yet… And yet, all these beautiful proclamations of Villepinte remained a dead letter. All these beautiful promises were forgotten.

The Right, as usual, submitted to the injunctions of the Left, the media, the judges. The Right, as usual, betrayed its voters as soon as they had put it into power.

Thirty years later, nothing has changed. Thirty years later, the RPR and the UDF have become LR; but it’s still the same promises, still the same martial declarations.

Why do you want these politicians to keep the commitments they have not kept for thirty years? The same causes, be sure, will produce the same effects.

Valérie Pécresse constantly reminds us that her entry into politics is intimately linked to the person of Jacques Chirac. She constantly refers to him. Let’s take her word for it. She will act just like her mentor—she will promise everything and deliver nothing. Chirac who said: “I will surprise you with my demagogy.” Chirac who said: “Promises only oblige those who listen to them.”

Yes, believe Valérie Pécresse when she repeats that she is the heiress of Jacques Chirac. We are the opposite of these political betrayals.

We promise and we will deliver. We will commit and we will do. Let us say, my friends, that this will be our Villepinte Pledge! The Oath of Villepinte that will erase thirty years of renunciation and cowardice.

Thirty years during which the people were divided, separated, ostracized, with National Front voters treated as pariahs, and LR voters intimidated, terrorized by a Left that decided who was republican, who was not, who was in the camp of the good, who was in the camp of the bad.

That time is over.

We must come together, we must unite. I want to give back the right to vote to the National Front voters and I want to give back the right to the LR voters. This is no longer the time for Byzantine quarrels: tomorrow, France may disappear. Our duty is to stand up. Our duty is to fight. Our duty is to commit ourselves!

A very particular commitment, because we are not going to fight people. Unlike our opponents, full of hatred and contempt, we are not fighting against individuals. Our fight is harder, more difficult but more noble: we fight against ideas.

In 2022, it is not only the person of Emmanuel Macron that we are going to defeat, but better—his ideology; this system of which he is the standard-bearer, the spokesman, and the executor. The “person” Emmanuel Macron does not interest us, because he is fundamentally uninteresting. Find me a single Frenchman in the country who can explain the thinking of Emmanuel Macron. Just one!

There is none, not even he himself!

Nobody knows who he is, because he is nobody. Behind the mask of perfect technocratic intelligence, behind the mountain of superficial ideas, behind the contradictory slogans, behind the “at the same time” synonymous with disorder, and the “whatever it takes” synonymous of ruin, there is nobody. There is nothing!

Macron has gutted our economy, our identity, our culture, our freedom, our energy, our hopes, our lives. He has emptied everything, because he alone is the great void, the abyss. In 2017, France elected the void and fell into it.

My friends, it is time to get our country and our people out of this bottomless pit. We will leave in its showcase the plastic dummy [Macron], this automaton that wanders in a labyrinth of mirrors, this faceless mask that disfigures our own. We will let this teenager search for himself eternally. Let’s leave him with his obsession for himself.

Our courage, our intelligence, our strength and our commitment, we dedicate them against globalism, against collectivization, against mass immigration, against gender theory and Islamo-leftism. All these infernal machines which have only one goal, only one mission and only one ideal: to deconstruct our people. to better destroy it.

Tirelessly, we will uproot these ideologies that thrive only on public money and militant journalists. Yes, we will make Macronism a bad memory.


When this ghost will have left the Elysée, when the Left will have lost its last puppet, we will replace it with France. We will replace the little Macron with “the Great Nation.” We will replace emptiness with identity. We will replace complacency with excellence. We will replace the derisory with History.

A wonderful, exceptional task awaits us, the commitment of a lifetime. France is at a crossroads. It is now or never.

French people! I want enthusiasm, I want songs, I want joy, I want pride! Be strong, be joyful, be happy!

Yes, my friends, you are right to sing the Marseillaise, because we are going to recover France from the cynics and the conceited, from those who only have contempt and arrogance in their eyes, from all those who want to make us disappear. We are rising up. Lift up your hearts!

All my life, I have denied with all my strength melancholy, which brings on despair, which deprives us of courage and which paralyses us from action.

Bernanos wrote: “Hope is a heroic determination of the soul, and its highest form is despair overcome.”

Yes, we must overcome our anger, our doubts accumulated over so many years to transform our despair into hope.

A colossal and magnificent task awaits us—to rebuild France, our beloved country. We have the people, we have a plan, we have the strength and we have the courage. We have the ideas, we have a project and we have a movement. They can do nothing against you, they can do nothing against us.

In front of the whole world, we can now raise our eyes and shout loud and clear: France is back!

France, this country of scientists who have transformed the world, and this country of writers who have made it dream. This country of courageous workers and ingenious innovators. This unique country in the world, this perfect balance between beauty and strength, between elegance and vigor, between survival instinct and generosity, between freedom and equality, between genius and lightness.

Yes, France is back because the French people have risen up! The French people are standing up to all those who want to make them disappear, in the face of all those who want to deprive their children of their heritage and greatness!

The French people will never lower their eyes in the face of those who have sworn their doom! Yes, France is back! Long live the Republic, and above all, above all:

Long live France!

Featured image: a portrait of Éric Zemmour by fmr0, 2019.

Radio Moscow Calling…

All they have left is the radio. The rebels no longer have any other instrument than this primitive voice machine to make themselves heard. Nor does the entire population understands them—Arabic has become the second language of the Third Republic and its learning has priority over that of Spanish, or that simplified things that is now called “Spanish.”

The official from the communications department of the Ministry of Equity connected the old transmitters and listened in. Soon, from Moscow, the octogenarian Juan Manuel de Prada will sit in front of a microphone to deliver his subversive message to the few remaining listeners in the Peninsular Confederation of Sovereign Republics, once known by the now-forbidden name of Spain (the New Penal Code punishes with fines of six hundred thousand euros those who call the confederate territory “Spain” and those who call themselves “Spaniards”).

Civil servant number 593,582 of the Ministry of Equity was a lucky man. He had obtained his job in a special promotion that included, exceptionally and with great protests from the female civil servants, sixty white and heterosexual men, especially necessary for the maintenance of the facilities and for certain technical matters, such as, for example, the radio.

The radio was the only mass medium that had escaped the Ministry’s checkers, the only voice that was still marooned and wild, unaffected by all the blockades of the computer networks set up by the agencies of the Global Information System.

593. 582—the old Christian names had been replaced by numbers in the Ministry, the initial phase of a project that was intended to be extended to the entire native minority, so that they would not cling to old signs of identity—tuned in to Radio Moscow.

On the other side of the sea of Hertzian waves was a community of six thousand Spaniards of the old days, who had preferred exile when the Confederation made it obligatory to eat seaweed and insects, to be vaccinated twice a week, to speak and write in simplified Spanish, and to read only the books recommended by the Ministry of Equity.

This last measure, apparently of little importance because nobody read, caused costly expurgations of public and private libraries where supremacist texts of all kinds were stored: from Goethe to Plato, from Calderón de la Barca to Gerardo Diego. It took more than a year to destroy millions of volumes that transmitted the values of the old patriarchal culture, an operation that included classical music, which no one had been listening to for more than twenty years by ministerial order.

When the Minister of Equity burned Goya’s Majas, Murillo’s Inmaculadas and Titian’s Danae in front of Madrid’s Botanical Gardens, the long work of multicultural inclusion, initiated at the beginning of the century by Zapatero, was at last completed.

It was then that thousands of Spaniards could stand it no longer and went into exile in the only European country that remained Christian: Russia, the hereditary enemy of progressivism. From Moscow they began to send subversive messages against the Confederation, in which music by Falla and Albéniz was played, where Quevedo and Bécquer were recited, where they explained what the Reconquest was, what the work of Spain in America was, what the war of 1936 was.

The verifiers managed to block all the channels of diffusion of these messages except the radio, which continued with stubborn presence on the airwaves. That is why 593.582 waited for the moment of Prada’s message to begin jamming it, while meditating on the State Plan of Emasculation, an initiative of the Ministry to castrate the Spanish Christian population and thus put an end to any possibility of Eurocentric supremacism in the Confederation.

“It must not be such a bad thing since the youth of the Popular Party have signed up en masse,” he thought. “It is an essential requirement to obtain a position. And in the Confederation the only source of employment and salaries is politics: the last private company closed down more than ten years ago.”

While 593,582 was meditating on whether or not he should castrate himself to get a promotion and stop being a gender pariah, Prada’s unmistakable, Chestertonian voice started to sound over the airwaves…

Sertorio lives, writes and thinks in Spain. this review comes through the kind courtesy of El Manifesto.

Featured image: “A Young Radio Listener,” ca. 1926 (Mary Evans Picture Library).

Al-Andalus: The Mirror Of Multiculturalism

Why is it difficult to consider the history of al-Andalus simply as a part of the history of the classical Islamic world, conditioned, to an extent that remains to be established, by its geographical and human context? Why is it common to interpret it, in a singularly acritical way, with the eyes of the present? This history has sometimes been presented as the prefiguration of a recovered national identity, as the prehistory of Hispanic consciousness, or as the “lost paradise of al-Andalus,” the “chronotope” of a lost identity, and an exile shared, from a different point of view, of course, by the Muslim world under colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century – which was undergoing the occupation of Palestine and the forced exodus of its Arab population – and by the Jewish intelligentsia of the 19th and 20th centuries, up to the birth of the State of Israel and even afterwards when Arab authors, after 1948, used it for propaganda purposes, until it became a commonplace denunciation of Israel.

In the following pages, I will examine how some contemporary American scholars have taken up all of these mythologies, inspired by nationalist sentiment, to make al-Andalus the Utopia of tolerant Convivencia (“coexistence”), the conduit of the fluid transmission of cultural and artistic motifs between the Arab and European worlds, the symbol of a beneficent globalization that opposes the petty localisms of national identities. I will consider the period I know best, that is, the political and intellectual history of the Andalusian emirates and caliphates, up to the end of the Taifa period, because it is quite possible – and I do not assert it – that it is different for other eras.

This idealized image goes hand-in-hand with a lack of knowledge of the milieu and the day-to-day, political, and social history of al-Andalus, of intellectual and religious figures and movements, of primary and secondary sources in languages other than English. From this situation comes the fact, for example, that studies of classical Arab-Islamic historiography, both older and newer, have neglected the work of Ibn Ḥayyān, as does Roger Allen’s recent history of Arabic literature – in the broadest sense; or that ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Buluggīn’s magnificent Memoir remains unrecognized and underutilized by North American scholars. While in the latter case the language barrier cannot be put forward – the primary translation being Tibi’s English translation – the argument of linguistic ignorance seems to hold elsewhere (with Anglo-American scholars often having little familiarity with French and Spanish bibliography).

Insufficient knowledge of Andalusian history and sources has reinforced the idea that al-Andalus was on the margins of the medieval Islamic world; and this has undoubtedly contributed to its idealization, making al-Andalus a tabula rasa on which to represent a number of more-or-less fictional narratives, the arena of ideological stakes derived from local academic discourse. Even a sensitive and attentive specialist like Julie Meisami affirms that “The Arabic literatures of Medieval Spain and Sicily do not occupy an important position in Arabic studies,” because they seem “peripheral to the tradition as a whole.”

The most influential of these narratives idealize the Convivencia of the three cultures – Arab, Christian and Jewish – in al-Andalus, during the period I have indicated, as well as the essential influence of the Andalusian civilization on the rise of European culture and its multiculturalism ante litteram. The apparatus of argumentation supporting these theses derives essentially from the antihistorical and anti-philological attitude advocated by the American postmodernist school, reinforced by the bellicose dialectic and axioms coming from the “postcolonial” studies launched after Edward Said’s famous denunciation of European Orientalism. The best-known representative of this trend, as far as al-Andalus is concerned, was [the late] María Rosa Menocal, Sterling Professor of Spanish Studies at Yale University.

The preliminary argument put forward by Menocal, in a posthumous polemic with the European Arabist school of the 20th century, is that the “Semitic” influence on medieval European culture has not been given the importance it deserves; not because it was difficult to prove this influence, according to an approach recognized by the academic community, but because of a bias, taken by this same school, which refused to recognize it in the name of a “myth of Western-ness,” of a colonialist mentality denying the obvious impact of the Arab-Islamic and Jewish civilizations on Europe. As in the famous quarrel between Américo Castro and Claudio Sánchez Albornoz, the central point of this opposition is not so much a question of method – how to prove the impact of the Arab literature of al-Andalus on the rise of European literature – but rather an ideological bias; the denunciation of the negative prejudice that has, until now, prevented this recognition.

Against the Eurocentric thesis attributed to the orientalist party defending identity politics, Menocal takes inspiration, in a generic and not very precise way, from the approach of Américo Castro to project onto the Iberian past a hypothesis of linguistic and cultural hybridization centered on the themes of “miscegenation” and “transculturation” in vogue among contemporary North American historians. There is, for example, the line of research by the dean of American modernist historians, Natalie Zemon Davis, on cultural “métissage” as a positive value, against the reductio ad unum of national identities – and its personification in the biography of Leo Africanus (Trickster Travels)

As for the general theory, one finds in it, sometimes deformed to the point of being unrecognizable, ideas that had often circulated, before being abandoned, within Orientalist scholarship itself, which itself is put on trial. The exaltation of tolerance and Convivencia derives from the belief in a golden age of Hebrew culture in Spain and in the myth of the Utopia of three faiths (the myth of interfaith Utopia), circulating among European Jewish intellectuals in the 19th and 20th centuries, as Mark Cohen has shown. While using the same arguments, and often the same examples, Menocal is nonetheless indifferent to the religious content of this conception – for not only does it deny the priority of the religious fact in the Middle Ages, but it also clearly disjoins what is “Arab” from what is “Islamic,” since both factors can hinder the cultural transmission between the Christian, Jewish and Islamic worlds. On several other points, which have been discussed at length without finding a solution, she makes sharp and peremptory judgments.

For example, “In Spain… Arabic was the lingua franca of the educated classes of the three religions, for several centuries.” A happy coincidence from which she launches her assumption that the Provençal word trobador “in fact has a perfectly plausible Arabic etymon, perhaps two,” an argument she considers definitive, but which, because of the hostility of the Eurocentric party, is supposedly not accepted. On issues that have proven to be unprovable, the logical leap is even bolder. This is particularly true of the vexata quaestio of the origins of the Divina Commedia for which she suggested that Dante may have read one of the translations of the Miʿrāj done when Brunetto Latini – the maestro and guardian of Dante – was in Toledo. The same the becomes true of the origins of the Divina Commedia.

The same then becomes true for the origins of Provençal poetry – the hybridization that would be at the root of the great season of courtly love would not have required knowledge of Arabic texts on the part of the troubadours, for they were “a bit more like rockstars than like scholars,” and that this knowledge was in the air. In fact, the so-called “Arabic thesis” concerning the birth of Romance literature had enjoyed a certain popularity, as Menocal reminds us, until the beginning of the 20th century – and this since the 16th century – only to be abandoned afterwards. The cause of this change of perspective appears in the rise of European colonialist imperialism, with its contempt for the cultures of dominated peoples, the Arabs in particular, coupled with the rise of the German philological method.

It is characteristic of the postmodernist approach to history to interpret events rooted in complex causes through conspiracy theories, deriving from the conception of a “master narrative” that organizes the whole of historical traditions, suppressing, at the same time, minority discourses. The master narrative of European orientalism and philology, the offspring of modern imperialism, follows the oblivion of the cultural contamination between the Judeo-Arabic and Romanic worlds, the memory of which was “purposely annihilated” when, during the 16th century, the Inquisition [she says] destroyed the great Arab libraries that represented the precious heritage of the three cultures.

This would have taken place in particular in Toledo, a city which, according to Menocal (and in contradiction to Jean-Pierre Molénat’s research on the real persistence of the Arab and Mozarabic communities in the new Castilian capital), would have hosted an enlightened cenacle of intellectuals, alien to ethnic prejudices, “a legendary mix of Christians, Jews and Muslims” at the center of a European network of scholars who competed for any work written in Arabic.

The transmission of the Judeo-Arabic heritage, as well as that of Arab-Andalusian lyricism (the minority discourse in the context of the Castilian conquest), would thus have become one of the best-kept secrets in the history of civilizations, having been interrupted by catastrophic events, such as the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula.

This rupture – coinciding significantly with August 2, 1492, the date of Columbus’ departure, the last medieval hero, for the Indies – was imposed by the proto-imperialist design of the rulers of Castile-Aragon. Definitively expelled from the medieval paradise – tolerating linguistic diversity and ethnic hybridization – the Spanish population and culture (for we are talking only about Spain) was then condemned to the obscurantism of the Enlightenment and to the hell of modernity. A modernity that discriminates between languages and diverse knowledge, introduces objectivity in sciences, generates the philological method (that atomizes and mutilates the unity of the literary phenomenon, demanding “proof of written texts” in order to justify its transmission) and the diachronic approach, “the most arbitrary and meaningless of ordering principles.” The discovery of the paths of this heritage is, on the other hand, made possible, in the absence of recognizable chains of transmission, by the post-modernist method that makes the “citationism” of rock music a true paradigm, ex post, of the medieval poetic approach, offering an obvious and convenient solution to the enigmas of intercultural transmission.

The opposition established between the Middle Ages and the modern era summarizes antinomies, which we have just seen: miscegenation/ discrimination, tolerance/intolerance, conquest/Convivencia. Similarly, the negative pole of philology is matched by the positive pole of lyricism in the strict sense – the “impure” lyricism of the muwaššaḥāt, whose descent from the classical tradition is ignored – and in the broader sense – post-modernist hermeneutics, steeped in musical and poetic references. This allows Menocal to argue – a daring anachronism – that “the medieval culture was postmodern” (because both periods shared the same feeling of distrust towards master narratives); or, conversely, that “the Reconquista… was anti-medieval,” because it reduced ad unum the cultural multiplicity of al-Andalus; and finally, to put forward the proposal of “telling History in the lyric mode,” this mode being that of the muwaššaḥāt, considered as the symbolic form of medieval cultural mixing.

Providing literal proof of T. F. Glick’s objective observation that “history seems scarcely distinguishable from myth,” history based on written sources and taken in a diachronic dimension gives way to fabled-seeming narratives, such as the one that opens Menocal’s more recent work, describing the arrival of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, the archetypal hero of that saga of fruitful miscegenation that would have been al-Andalus: “Once upon a time in the mid-eighth century, an intrepid young man named Abd al-Rahman abandoned his home in Damascus, the Near Eastern heartland of Islam, and set out across the North African desert in search of a place of refuge…”

One certainly finds in this melodrama, with its misleading simplicity, all the themes and materials commonly used in academic works – however, its fable-like quality, which finds an enthusiastic echo in accounts in the popular press, and which draws on the medieval conception of history as memory and myth, nevertheless signals its defiant entry into a field where the formal structures of historical narration – diachrony and causality in particular – are no longer valid. Historical philology is not the only polemical target of the neo-Romantic myth of a tolerant, multiculturalist and lyrical Middle Ages. Prose is also negatively affected, because it is associated with the rational and discriminatory approach that modernity has imposed on knowledge, which has deprived Romance literature of its lyrical component.

This same penchant for binary oppositions had already manifested itself in Menocal’s first book, The Arabic Role in Medieval Literary Theory. A Forgotten Heritage, written in the mode of pre-post-modernist American scholarship; and, as such, reviewed by the major Arabist journals. It contains, among other things, the denunciation of the politics of denial of the “Semitic” heritage in European literary culture, which is the author’s trademark, and the attack on the claim of philological hermeneutics that intercultural contacts are mainly textual, or the result of a series of historically documented (“genetic”) relationships. This criticism, in itself legitimate and fruitful, is not accompanied by the proposal of an alternative hermeneutic, indebted, for example, to the sociology of literature or to sociolinguistics, or of establishing a new archaeology of literary transmission and the creation of mixed forms. It limits itself to presenting a self-referential instance, that of the subject who, by observing the synchrony and/or the geographical proximity of two similar phenomena, even in the absence of a certain contact or transmission, can only deduce that there has been something more than a “parallel development.”

Among the paradoxical and perhaps unforeseen consequences of the approach I have just described is the fictional and novelistic character of the resulting image of al-Andalus, an image from which any reference to material history, or even micro-history, is absent, and which is assembled from a few current literary sources – when, in principle, it should show the unexplored or secret paths of this transmission. It is understood that the medieval Andalusian paradise coincides with the Umayyad period and the century of the taifas, and that the Andalusian emirs and caliphs are attributed a conscious political project, based on the tolerance of languages and cultures. From this peaceful world of princes, poets, merchants and rabbis, not only the specifically Islamic character of al-Andalus disappeared, but also the Islamic and non-Arab components, and in particular the Berber component of society.

The Arab heritage, within the limits I have indicated, is thus fully integrated into the genealogy of European identity, but on condition that it is “Europeanized” and stripped of everything that differs from it; and this limitation of the inextricably Arab-Islamic character of al-Andalus inevitably leads, as Julie Meisami has noted, to a subsequent marginalization of Andalusian studies from the mainstream of Islamic studies. Isolated from the cultural context of belonging, literary texts, and especially lyric poetry, are interpreted as if they were the immediate expression of a pop culture shared across linguistic, cultural and material barriers. If it is true, as Meisami again observes, that this position aspires to overcome the aporia of the philological method – which distances the pleasure of the text as it subjects it to multiple dissections on the diachronic and synchronic axis – it is also true that it opens the way to the subjective projections of the critic and readers; that is to say to frankly anachronistic interpretations of the past.

This is evidenced by the insistence on the paradoxical nature of Andalusian culture, described as “taking pleasure in contradiction within one’s own identity,” since it is the “possibility of contradiction” that guarantees “true religious tolerance” and “cultural vitality;” or, again, the fact that it is considered a culture in exile, even “a summary of the varieties of exile that explicitly leaves ‘nations’ by the wayside.” Exile is, moreover, the precondition for poetic creation, and all of these thematic-contradictions (exile, tolerance, lyricism) are found together in the idealized portrait of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān I, a true figura, in both the classical and postmodern senses, of the Andalusian utopia, and arguably of the author. For, if the theme of exile descends in direct line from Said – and Auerbach before him – it grows with the set of psychological projections and mythographies linked to Menocal’s biography, which in turn seem to find more intense echoes in an immigrant society like that of North America.

And, while Romanticist philologists can legitimately be blamed for neglecting the “Arabic thesis,” out of ignorance of its cultural and linguistic context, the affinity of the poetic and figurative forms developed in al-Andalus, Sicily, Provence and Persia, could have suggested to the scholar (it is Meisami again who proposes this) the more complex hypothesis of a common tendency: “Of the vernacular literatures to free themselves from canonical modes of discourse in favor of others more responsive to their particular cultural ambience.”

The polygenetic thesis was adopted, in particular, towards the end of his all-too-brief existence, by Samuel Stern, a pioneer in the scientific study of the Mozarabic kharja, as recalled by the late Dorothée Metlitzki, in her erudite essay on the a similar subject which, characteristically enough, had no continuators.

The distortion that the image of al-Andalus underwent through its multiculturalist interpretation was received very favorably by the non-specialist public, as evidenced by the reviews in the popular press of The Ornament of the World. No reviewer shied away from embroidering on the world described by Menocal, a world supposedly created by the far-sighted design of Abd al-Raḥmān I, where the Convivencia of the three cultures gave rise to a literate and polyglot society, whose radiance lent light to early Europe which threatened its borders. A researcher like Fouad Ajami himself has not questioned the historical reality of this amiable utopia, which, in its sparkling perfection, seems to dispel the darkness of the post-9/11 era, offering “thought-provoking lessons for today.” The ambition to reform the present through the lessons of the past is explicitly acknowledged by Menocal, who began an op-ed The New York Times (eloquently titled, “A Golden Reign of Tolerance”) with the following statement: “The lessons of history, like the lessons of religion, sometimes neglect examples of tolerance.” She also titled a lecture at Yale Law School, “Culture in the Time of Tolerance: al-Andalus as a Model for Our Time.”

At the beginning of this essay, I mentioned how al-Andalus, in its idealized image, could represent the mirror of identity in which Spanish scholarship from the end of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century prefigured the birth of the Spanish nation; its language and its culture, in opposition to the foreign and enemy-like Arab-Islamic entity. I also mentioned that the Arab culture, for similar and opposite reasons, erected al-Andalus as an “edifice for nostalgia,” a focus for the cult of a lost and coveted national primacy, which Jewish intellectuals in the diaspora saw as proof of a successful integration and as a counterpoint to the “maudlin conception of Jewish history” describing Christian oppression.

It thus becomes undoubtedly necessary to ask ourselves about the hidden agenda, that is, about the political motivations – in the broadest sense – implicit in the Andalusian mythographies elaborated by the American postmodernist school, and also about the reasons that can explain, more generally, the success of the image of al-Andalus as a “model for our time,” for the West in search of a new enlightenment. As for the latter, it is obvious that they owe much to the reassuring charm of the Andalusian melting pot, which, of course, knew, until the first three centuries of its history, neither the interethnic and intercultural conflicts that tore apart and still agitate, today, North American and European societies, nor the aggression of a hostile civilization. In the same way, by evoking the utopia of al-Andalus, one makes a negative judgment on Western modernity, which translates into a real political program, albeit largely abstract. For radical American intellectuals, as for Arab and Jewish intellectuals past and present, the Andalusian chronotope conjures up, in effect, “a sight of the present state of affairs, of colonialism, racism, sexism, political and intellectual repression, religious intolerance and militancy, class stratification and economic inequities that continue to plague the modern world.”

And, at the same time, al-Andalus calls for a hope of “social equality, economic progress, political liberation, religious tolerance and self-emancipation.” These two opposing visions feed the “countermyth” of the Andalusian Arcadia as a true ideal homeland forever lost: “A perfect place… where the religions of the children of Abraham all tolerate each other and where, in the peace of that tolerance, and in the shade and fragrance of the orange trees, we could all sit and talk about philosophy and poetry.”

This also explains, no doubt, why the only discordant voices in the chorus of Menocal’s supporters were those of intellectuals of the neo-conservative right, such as Robert Spencer, and above all Bat Ye’or, a polemicist of Egyptian origin and British nationality, who is very active on the North American scene as a spokesperson for the “countermyth” of the “neo-lachrymose conception of Jewish history,” referring to Jewish oppression in Islamic lands.

Beyond these general considerations, it is worth returning to the negative influence that this approach has had on Andalusian studies in the United States, as shown in the collective volume on the literature of al-Andalus, in the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, of which Menocal was the editor. This book was intended to mark a clear break from the others that preceded it in the same series, which represented the culmination of the method of approaching texts that characterized post-war Western – and especially Anglo-American – Arabism. The introductory essay made it quite clear that this was a work with intentions, the main one of which was “cultivating the memory of al-Andalus,” which thus closely followed the aspiration of Arab and Jewish utopian nationalisms.

The revival of interest in al-Andalus is attributed neither to the process of recognizing and integrating the Arab-Islamic past into national history nor to the rise of academic studies – and those aimed at the general public – that have so profoundly changed the Spanish intellectual scene since the end of Francoism; but rather, vaguely, to “the explosion of international tourism” and the influence of writers as foreign to the Andalusian terrain as Salman Rushdie. The approach that is polemically taken is that of “cultivating the memory of al-Andalus.” The approach that is polemically announced does not aim at the interpretation, as exhaustive as possible, of the available historical and literary materials, but at the personal “vision” of the interpreters, which organizes and gives meaning to the subjects treated through an arbitrary game of inclusions and exclusions.

This methodological bias prescribes not only the treatment of non-Arabic literatures of al-Andalus (Mozarabic and Jewish, in particular) but also the maintenance of this tradition through, for example, the Jewish literature of the Balkans, the Near East and Morocco, after the diaspora of 1492, because, according to the author of this chapter, which is very interesting, it testifies to the famous tripartite culture which proves to be the main subject of this book. In the same way, and as an inverse corollary of the thesis of the inclusion of the Arabic tradition in the Romance tradition, it is accepted to deal with some authors born in Andalusian territory who knew Arabic, but whose surviving writings belong to the literary tradition in neo-Latin and the Romance languages. This is the case of Ramon Llull and Petrus Alphonsi, whose biographies stand alongside those of, among others, Ibn Quzmān, Ibn ʿArabī, and, curiously enough, Ibn al-Khaṭīb.

The emphasis on minority or peripheral traditions, in relation to the Arab-Islamic tradition, together with the denial of anything that would impede the thesis of uninterrupted circulation between the Arab and Christian worlds, intentionally obscures the Islamic character of literary production in Arabic. The Islamic sciences, religious as well as secular – all categories – are treated in some thirty pages of the chapter on “knowledge,” with vague and rhapsodic content, occasionally faulty. While the category of “literary text” manages to include artistic and architectural items, religious literature is virtually excluded from the literary forms (only mystical poetry is mentioned, under the heading of “Love,” with a few suggestive passages extracted from Ibn Ḥazm’s writings), as is the historiographical tradition.

More generally, the prose tradition and the Andalusian adab, in its varied forms, finds no formal definition – while poetry is given pride of place among the “forms of literature” (“Qasida” and “Muwashshaha“), thematic sections (“Love”), and biographical sketches of the authors, the very rich production of rasā’il (epistles) receives no special attention, and the maqāmāt are mostly considered within the framework of the Jewish literature of al-Andalus. Similarly, to conclude the list of what one expected to find – or not find – in a work devoted to the literature of al-Andalus, one must mention the Berbers – they are hardly distinguished here as bearers of an autonomous tradition, not even in the section on “Marriages,” which reports on inter-Andalusian cultural hybridizations, while an entire section is generously allocated to the Arab-Sicilian literary tradition, again in the broad sense that allows for the inclusion of architectural monuments and authors belonging to the Norman and Swabian eras.

The result of this radical effort to redefine the Arab-Andalusian literary canon – which goes so far as to include Cervantes and his Quixote – ends up being paradoxical, in a sense that is certainly foreign to the manifesto stated in the Introduction, as well as alien to the postmodern spirit. By making the literature of al-Andalus the precursor of European literature, it ends up confirming the prejudices of the Franco-Spanish Andalusian school, when it distinguished, especially in the society of the taifas, the Arab and Berber groups from the “Andalusians,” to whom the great intellectuals considered proto-humanists supposedly belonged. One inevitably finds this distinction in the book, in the section of the “Andalusians,” eminent individuals chosen according to mixed and rather unconstrained criteria, and treated in a heterogeneous way.

Despite the uneven value of the contributions and its obvious limitations (which others have pointed out long before me), the volume on al-Andalus literature today represents an indispensable reference for young American scholars, to whom it offers a simplified method of approaching the texts and their history, which requires neither precise knowledge of the historical context nor extensive linguistic skills. This is demonstrated by Cynthia Robinson’s book, In Praise of Song, which borrows from Menocal’s most outrageous theories of cultural hybridization and is its main reference.

In this book, often suggestive and supported by a relatively extensive secondary bibliography (albeit with significant gaps), Robinson, a specialist in the Andalusian art of the taifas, argues convincingly for the substantial unity of the artistic and literary manifestations of the taifas around the phenomenon of the court. Less solid, on the other hand, is not only the analysis of the internal dynamics of the life of the Arab-Andalusian courts – interpreted, in a way as ingenious and abstract, as the hermetic drama of the Fedeli d’amore that would have been the mulëk (rulers) and their entourages – but above all the demonstration of the main thesis which claims that the transmission of poetic themes and forms between the two worlds was carried out, not at the popular level and through occasional contacts, but thanks to the relations, above all diplomatic, between the Andalusian and Christian courts from the fifth to the eleventh century.

Accepting without reservation Menocal’s two main methodological postulates – that differences in religion and language cannot be an obstacle to the transmission of cultural themes, and that al-Andalus is simply part of the “cultural heritage of medieval Europe” – Robinson is content to define the paths of this presumed transmission through the arguments of “context,” “contact” and “the demonstrable chronological precedence of the Andalusian model of courtly culture.” In doing so, and in this case also following the precedent set by Menocal, she not only disregards philological arguments (scansions, meter or linguistic points), but also seems to overlook a possible polygenetic interpretation, indicating that the analogies found derive from the system of relations and semiotics characterizing the court as a sociological space common to different civilizations, even if they are distant in time and space. Ignorance of a substantial part of the recent bibliography on al-Andalus – especially the onomastic and documentary series published by CSIC in Madrid – also leads Robinson to frequent errors in the names of personalities, while insufficient familiarity with Andalusian sources seems to be responsible for the few important interpretative errors.

Finally, a further effect of the subjectivism that characterizes this approach, which might be called neo-orientalist, seems to be the projection onto al-Andalus of a vaguely literary quest for exotic and fabulous themes. A striking example of this appeared on the English-language Arabist information list H-Mideast Medieval, where a request for information was formulated thus: “I am urgently seeking medieval references to al-Andalus as an exotic/erotic place. I have a theory from my reading of medieval Islamic maps of the Maghrib. I am looking to see if there is any textual support for my theory. Poetry seems to be the most likely place to find what I am looking for… but I am open to any and all suggestions, even those that come from architecture for possible references to al-Andalus as a place of Muslim fantasy.”

These statements summarize, in an almost parodic way, the approach that I have tried to describe: The formulation of a problem, more or less vague, leads to the search for documentary evidence of indeterminate value, which amounts, in most cases, to employing poetry as the hermeneutic tool of choice, which can legitimize any interpretation.

In conclusion, I asked myself why this approach, and the theoretical perspective that inspires it, have become the majority in the United States today, when other directions had been given to research on al-Andalus: I am thinking, for example, for the period and the arguments in question, of the works of Glick and Metlitzki, or of a few essays by Wolfhart Heinrichs and his student Beatrice Gruendler, Arabists from Harvard and Yale respectively, placing Andalusian authors and works in the Arab-Islamic synchronic context and in the tradition of akin genres, as well as of the two essays devoted by Salma Khadra Jayyusi to the literature of al-Andalus, in The Legacy of Al-Andalus.

In an article written nearly forty years years ago, Menocal called for an end to both the “segregation” of the Romance literatures of Arabic literature and the academic distinction between “Near-Eastern” and “European Studies.” Today, one has the impression that her example has allowed the realization of this wish along with the caveat stated by Meisami. While in Europe there is an effort to place the history and culture of al-Andalus in the mainstream of medieval Arab-Islamic history, in the United States al-Andalus appears today to be marginalized from the departments of Near Eastern Studies – invariably considered from the perspective of “hybridity” and “transculturation,” it is found mostly in the departments of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, or even Hispanic or Romance Studies.

This tendency is undoubtedly reinforced today, at the level of mass culture, by the importance of the theme of the dialogue – or clash – of civilizations, coupled with the preference given by the American cultural industry (as a pioneer of a trend that is also asserting itself in Europe) to simplistic messages on complex issues, and to immediate communicative and emotional impact. Finally, and to return to the question that opened these reflections, the transformation of al-Andalus into a normative model for a West that one would like to be less hegemonic, more tolerant of its own diversity, testifies to the persistent attraction that the Andalusian chronotope has on contemporary utopian nationalisms.

Bruna Soravia is an Italian scholar who studies Islamic Spain. This essay is excerpted from Manuela Marín, ed., Al-Andalus/España. Historiografías en contraste.

The featured image shows a leaf from the Maqamat of al-Hariri, Syria, 1237.

Towards Totalitarianism: An Interview With Rod Dreher And Mathieu Bock-Côté

Through the generosity of La Nef, we are greatly privileged to present this interview with Rod Dreher, the well-known Orthodox journalist and writer, who is the author, most recently, of Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents – and Mathieu Bock-Côté, the Quebec sociologist, thinker and writer, whose new book is La Révolution racialiste, et autres virus idéologiques. The interview is conducted by Christophe Geffroy.

La Nef (LN): How would you summarize the main dangers threatening our Western democracies and do you consider that there is a serious risk of drifting towards a form of totalitarianism?

Mathieu Bock-Côté (MBC): Whatever those who do not want to see anything say, the diversity-regime everywhere imposes increasingly severe ideological control of populations, as if it was necessary to transform Western societies into a vast ideological re-education camp. Whether we are talking about the situation in universities, in the media, or in private enterprise, Wokism is normalizing and turning into the Inquisition. Through it, political correctness becomes fanatical.

Mathieu Bock-Côté

At the heart of this ideological dynamic is the demonization of the so-called white man who must kneel down, self-criticize and even self-destruct, in order for the world to be reborn, under the sign of diverse revelation. All Western societies are structured around white supremacy, and they must tear themselves away from it. It is only in this way that “systemic racism” will collapse, which however requires a complete reconstruction of all social relations and a permanent control of public speech, to prevent remarks transgressing the “inclusive” and diverse orthodoxy. Western historical majorities have taken up the baton from the Vendée and the Kulaks in the narrative of the scapegoat – they are treated like the dead wood of humanity.

So, to answer your question, I believe, yes, that we are faced with a totalitarian temptation – the resistance of peoples is extreme right-wing; dissent is assimilated to hatred; the laws to combat the latter are increasingly coercive; phobization of the political opponent becomes the norm; and through this, we dream of making a new, New Man, forever renouncing his Western filiation to be reborn purged of his past. History is accelerating – the woke inquisition represents the 1793 of the diversitarian regime.

Rod Dreher (RD): We are already in what I call “soft totalitarianism.” I call it “soft” for several reasons. Firstly, since it does not look like the Soviet version, with the gulags, it is more difficult to detect. Second, it makes people believe that it is full of compassion towards the victims. Yet it is still totalitarianism! Twenty years ago, René Girard understood this. He said: “The current process of spiritual demagoguery and rhetorical escalation has transformed concern for the victims into totalitarian command and permanent inquisition. “

A totalitarian order is an order in which there is only one acceptable political point of view, an order in which all of life is politicized. This order is conquering the institutions of life in the Anglosphere with astonishing speed. What is soft today will become hard.

Solzhenitsyn said that communism conquered Russia because “men had forgotten God.” This is also true for us, in our time and in our country. We have turned our backs on God and find that it is impossible to build a life-giving civilization without Him. Michel Houellebecq is a great diagnostician of the fatal malaise of the West. When the transcendent dimension of life has been forgotten, or denied, people try to fill the void of God within themselves through sex, shopping, and hedonism. And when that doesn’t work, they turn to political pseudo-religion.

Rod Dreher

Hannah Arendt’s book, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), studied how Germany and Russia fell into totalitarianism. All of the major signs identified by Arendt are present today, in particular our deep sense of social atomization, our love of transgression and our contempt for the truth.

LN: The new tyranny is exercised by a police force of thought which has acquired an exorbitant power. How do you explain this hold on people’s minds, and especially the fact that it affects subjects unanimously rejected not long ago (the new “racialism,” “marriage” between people of the same sex, surrogacy, euthanasia, etc.)?

RD: Eminent American sociologist James Davison Hunter argues that almost all cultural revolutions begin with the elites, who disseminate their ideas through their networks and then to the masses. In the United States, this highly ideological way of thinking first won over the elites in the universities. Most of their ideas were so extreme that one didn’t worry about their spreading. But when these ideas hit the media, the propaganda never stopped.

Six years ago, large corporations got heavily involved in promoting progressive cultural policies – pro-LGBT, pro-Black Lives Matter, etc. – perhaps to prevent the Left from asking too many questions about their business practices.

Today, what is called “woke capitalism” is perhaps the most effective force in American society that drives these progressive follies. At the heart of the problem is that its followers now control all points of entry into the middle class and career success. This is now the ideology of those who want to succeed professionally, and of the young generation heavily indoctrinated by social media.

MBC: I absolutely agree with Rod Dreher about the revolutionary power of woke capitalism. Having said that, you will allow me to sort out the subjects you raise and not to condemn or accept them as a whole; but I understand the meaning of your question. The peculiarity of the “diversitarian” regime is precisely to normalize the claims from “minorities,” and to pathologize what was until recently called common sense, by reducing it to an aged stock of prejudices and stereotypes. It appropriates the reference to democracy in order to reverse its meaning – which now boils down to the extension of the rights of “minorities” and the de-substantialization of the historical people. It has the administrative apparatus of the social state, converted into a therapeutic state, to modify social behavior.

Thus, it suffices for a movement claiming to be for “minorities” to formulate a demand for it to be immediately translated into a fundamental right which it therefore becomes scandalous to oppose. Whoever confesses the slightest reservation will be designated for public revenge, as we have seen with the fate reserved for J.K. Rowling, who had the nerve to recall that a man is not a woman, and to contest the transformation of identity fluidity as a new anthropological norm in Western societies. It is not without reason that gender theory takes place so much in our public life – if we manage to make a society accept that men and women do not exist and are only arbitrary social constructions, then we can make society accept everything. At the heart of the diversitarian regime, we find a constructivist fantasy – that of the integral plasticity of the social order. We also see it in what is called “inclusive writing.” Everything, everything, everything, must be ideologized.

LN: Are not all these drifts, which gradually reduce our freedoms, due, in particular, to the fact that, like children too spoiled by a long period of prosperity without major hardships, Western people have lost the love of freedom. We have seen with the Covid-19 pandemic that most prefer “health security” to their freedoms?

RD: I don’t know if it’s correct to say that the problem is a loss of our love of freedom. I cannot speak about the situation in France, which has experienced a much more severe health lockdown than in the United States. But in America, I saw something different during the Covid. Many people thought that any attempt at coercion was intolerable. The idea of making a sacrifice for the common good struck them as bizarre and offensive.

My experience of speaking with Christian dissidents in the Soviet bloc has made me realize that, in addition to strong faith, the two things absolutely necessary to resist oppression are solidarity with others and consent to suffering. We don’t have that anymore. It feels like America is collapsing.
I believe things will become clearer with the under 40s. They are much more anxious than previous generations. Many of them will willingly give up their political freedoms in exchange for a guarantee of personal enjoyment and security. They will not only accept soft totalitarianism, but demand it. A professor told me that he had stopped teaching Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World (1932) because none of his students recognized it was a dystopia; they all thought it looked like paradise.

MBC: The real issue lies elsewhere, I think. We underestimate the effect of the ideological conditioning of the last decades, which has delegitimized all common norms and which has sanctified the victim position. “I am a victim of the white man therefore I am.” This is how we now access public space.
Our civilization is haunted by the fantasy of its own annihilation, as also evidenced by antispeciesist neurosis.

LN: In Europe, massive immigration has imported a major problem with Islam being now the majority in certain neighborhoods and impossible to assimilate, not to mention Islamism and the terror it blindly sows. What do you think? Do you think the dangers are the same in North America and Europe?

MBC: No society can be absolutely indifferent to the population that makes it up. A people is not just a legal, administrative or statistical abstraction. It would be wrong to underestimate the effect of massive immigration which is destroying the cultural and demographic balances of Western societies, especially as it goes far beyond their capacity for integration. This is also true in North America, which is not, however, a homogeneous bloc. The United States seems to me to have taken over from the USSR as the revolutionary power of our time and is now getting lost in an obsession with diversity that will ruin it. This country seems doomed to me to be lost in a spiral of regressive violence. I say it with sadness – I loved the United States.

Canada is a non-country. It has renounced its history to become the receptacle of the embodied diversity utopia, the place of radicalized multiculturalism. As a proclaimed post-national state, it believes it represents the next step in the history of mankind.

Allow me a few words on the situation of the people of Quebec, landlocked in a federation that denies its existence, and accuses it of ethnic supremacism every time it seeks to recall federation. The question of Quebec is inseparable from the old aspiration of the Quebecois people to assume their “vital difference” in America, and ultimately to establish themselves as an independent state. But massive immigration condemns French-speaking Quebecers to become a minority in their own country – in other words, to become foreigners at home, because populations of immigrant origin are Canadianizing and Anglicizing themselves much more than they are Quebecizing and francizing. We are witnessing the quiet erasure of a people in their own country, where it is gradually transformed into a residue of folklore. The question of small nations, to use the category forged by Milan Kundera, reminds us of one thing – it is important for what we will call a “historic people” to remain clearly in the majority at home. It is on this condition that they will succeed in integrating men and women from elsewhere into their culture.

RD: I would like to respond to Mathieu about the disintegration of the United States. I am living in Budapest for the summer months on a scholarship. It is utterly astonishing to me how clearly obvious America’s suicide appears from Europe. I’m not surprised that we Americans are destroying our country – that’s obvious to anyone with a brain. But stepping outside the borders of the United States makes you realize that it’s even worse than we thought. I have felt for the past few years that the best way to understand what lies ahead for America is to look at the history of the Spanish Civil War. Americans have a lot of guns, but it’s impossible for me to imagine that we’ll have a real civil war. I believe that the state will eventually impose a social credit system to control the population, because that is the only way to contain the violence of people who despise what the ruling ideologues do to them.

To come back to your question, I believe that Islam is first and foremost a European problem. In North America, Muslim immigrants assimilate more easily. It seems to me that you Europeans cannot face the problem because the Left will not let you speak frankly about it. God help you if this Anglo-Saxon cultural virus of racialist theory finds a way to infect Europe, and mutates into a pro-Islamic form. There will be no possible solution in that case.

We see in America that where this racialist ideology has prevailed, dialogue is utterly impossible; everything becomes a question of power. I don’t know if a peaceful solution is even possible now. This is why I believe more than ever in the “Benedictine Option.” There is no escape from what is to come – but with God’s help we can bear it.

LN: A purely procedural democracy like ours, emancipated from all limits, because having rejected the idea of a truth that goes beyond us, can only lead to the tyranny of the majority, or more precisely of organized minorities practicing a severe police force of thought to impose their views “democratically.” Is a democracy without God, that is to say without transcendence imposing limits on the human will – is such a democracy even viable?

MBC: In this regard, I am modern – modern democracy cannot be based on the assumption of God, even less in a world where his existence is no longer taken for granted. This does not mean, however, that the question of transcendence can be abolished. But the transcendence of the moderns is culture, knowing that we are rubbing shoulders with the abyss, and that the world can slip away under our feet. Hence the importance of transmission, of ensuring its duration, bequeathing the heritage of civilization, which is ours, while enriching it. Let me add that the Covid crisis has shown us how inhuman a ritualized, artificialized existence is. The abandonment of funeral rituals during the pandemic brought us, in the name of sanitary reason, to the threshold of barbarism. Likewise, it is not a question of denying the sacred, which is consubstantial with the political and historical order, and which has invested in the nation – are we not talking about the sacred love of the fatherland?

One thing is certain. The integral contractualism of existence pushes towards the dissolution of the world, insofar as it is reality itself which must dissolve under the weight of a tyrannical subjectivity, which comes to the conclusion that it is the non-existence of the world. The West, existentially pitted and reduced to a series of disembodied principles, no longer knows how to respond to Islam, which it wants to see as a spiritual preference among others, and no longer as a civilization; no more than before Islam. massive immigration. We need to rediscover a political philosophy allowing us to perceive and politically recapture anthropological permanence.

RD: This is an extremely important question. The short answer is no, it is not viable, for the reason given in your question. I think of the famous line of T.S. Eliot: “If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God) you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.” Maybe I lack vision, but I don’t see how we can live in peace without God, except under tyranny. Most of us see clearly that liberalism is dying because it has been so successful in “freeing” the individual from God, from the community and from the past. No one can live like this forever. But what will replace it?

In North America, Mathieu and I live in pluralistic countries. If liberalism can no longer rule us, then what? In the United States, there are a few Catholic intellectuals who offer an integralist view, but it is a utopian dream. Catholics are a minority in America, and the number of them who would submit to a “full Christian state” would not fill a small town ballpark. They are looking for a political solution to a problem that is basically spiritual. And they are not alone. Both on the Left and on the Right, everyone is really looking for God – but a God compatible with their individual and liberal conceptions that they will not be able to find, so they create a world ready to accept the Antichrist.

Translated from the French by N. Dass.

The featured image shows, “Safe and Sanitized,” by Jordan Henderson; painted 2021.

Resist Wokism

Until recently, the word “woke” seemed to belong to vocabulary reserved for American campuses, and really only for the most radical among them. It referred to a particularly active fringe of American students believing themselves to be in a crusade for social justice and more particularly concerned with questions of “race” and “gender,” and who were determined, in a way, to carry out a definitive lawsuit against the Western world, and more particularly, against the white man who incarnated in himself all his abjectness. This movement was recognized for its extremism, and even, for its fanaticism, being convinced that it had, and still has, a monopoly on the true, the just and the good. Barack Obama, in 2019, had warned the students claiming this: he could see that the claim they had to be awake, in front of a sleeping mass, or enlightened, in front of a people deep in the darkness from the past, could only increase tensions in an already very polarized society. A man of the left, to be sure, Obama nevertheless sought to remind these young minds that human nature is murky, and that social conflict cannot be reduced to a fight between good and evil.

In some respects, we see in Wokism the new wave of the movement associated with political correctness, which from the 1980s wanted to decolonize the American university and its knowledge by getting rid of the figure of the Dead White Male. Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare and so many others had all to be sent packing; their overwhelming presence had contributed to the marginalization of minority knowledge and perspectives, from which it would be possible to lead an epistemological and political revolution against Western civilization. A new relationship with the world had to be imposed. Back then, it was well and good to just laugh at all this, and to reassure oneself that this fad was destined to fade away. We even wanted to believe, in Paris, that this fad could never cross the Atlantic. That could never happen. Absolutely not. But political correctness is now institutionalized through the proliferation of departments and fields of university study essentially devoted to the repudiation of Western civilization. This fad now rules the American University. Wokism is the culmination of this movement of political correctness; and it is no longer allowed to believe that it is marginal.

Wokism deconfined from campuses quite some time ago and is spreading through public life like an ideological epidemic. Even more so, for it imposes itself upon the heart of public life on both sides of the Atlantic, and its concepts are normalized in media-vocabulary and in political and managerial discourse. These concepts colonize the collective imagination; or at least, its authorized expressions. Woke militants find themselves in positions of responsibility within municipal administration, which in turn makes these agencies accomplices and promoters of Wokism. It permeates the language of management and advertising. This religious left expands into collective life under the sign of fanaticism, and in front of a political class which does not quite know how to respond to it, let alone stand up to it, and is even tempted to make more concessions towards it, never understanding that it is not dealing with a reformist movement which is bringing reasonable demands in the public space, compatible with democratic logic.

All the power of Wokism lies in its Orwellian manipulation of language – its theorists and activists invent a diverse newspeak that functions like an ideological trap. The strategy of Wokism is transparent, and even demanded, in certain cases – it is a question of seizing a word that has universal disapproval and sticking a new definition to it, which is then said to be scientifically validated, because it is readily legitimized by militants disguised as experts who are now rampant in the departments of the social sciences. There are many examples, whether it is racism, white supremacy, discrimination, hate or hate speech. Too often, bona fide commentators or observers are fooled. Rightly horrified by the traditional meaning of these words, they fail to realize that these words no longer refer to the same reality.

Thus, from the woke perspective, racism today no longer designates an ideology calling for racial discrimination or the hierarchization of human groups according to a racial criterion. Rather, the refusal, precisely, to define people on the basis of the color of their skin, it designates as racist – it accuses those who do not want to consent to the racialization of social relations of racial color blindness. Racism thus culminates in universalism which then supposedly serves as a mask for the interests of the “white majority.” Apparently, it is no longer by going beyond or transcending “race” that we will fight racism, but by over-valuing racial consciousness as the primary form of collective identity. The claimed anti-racism therefore becomes uninhibited racialism.

White supremacy, on the other hand, no longer refers to movements like the Ku Klux Klan, or its descendants, but to the deep structure of Western societies. In France, for example, the racialist far left equates secularism with white supremacy. The concept of discrimination is also demonized. Discrimination, for the woke, consists in treating everyone as the same. Conversely, choosing someone according to the color of their skin, as long as they are considered “racialized,” is not discriminatory. Hate, finally, becomes one-sided, unidirectional – only the majority can be hateful by rejecting the definition that the self-proclaimed leaders of minorities often claim to give to those they claim to represent. We are thus faced with an ideological system that operates by reversing the meaning of the concepts it demands. Wokism makes us walk on our heads. In the name of intellectual hygiene, this exercise of analyzing Wokist vocabulary can be unending.

At the heart of Wokism, we must understand, is the white male who embodies absolute evil. It radicalizes political correctness, moving from criticism of the Dead White Male to the living white male, who should, in order to undertake his rehabilitation, engage in a process of permanent self-criticism, which takes the form of an atonement without redemption, because the pathologies constitutive of its identity are so inscribed in the processes of socialization defining it that it can never tear itself away completely. But by denouncing himself, by criticizing his privileges, by doing everything to become an ally of “minorities,” he will at least send the expected penitential signal. This is the only way, in the long run, that he will regain his humanity, or at least, that he can strive for it. He will also be able to thank people from minorities for allowing him to make his way towards his “un-whiting.”

The woke wave seems to carry everything in its path. It is, however, necessary to resist it strongly. We will only succeed when we learn to decipher its strategy of vocabulary manipulation, which forces us switch to a parallel world, a world filled with alternative definitions, which cuts off the relationship to reality, and forces us to evolve under the authority of accusatory ideologues who deem that those who resist them deserve social banishment – one does not speak without reason of cancel culture. But it also means not being satisfied with opposing Wokism by a sole reference to common sense. Faced with a violent ideological surge, which exerts a form of bewitchment on the new generations, often knowing no other language than its own, and who are fully socialized through social networks, where Wokism is dominant – it is necessary to rediscover the fundamental principles on which is based the civilization that Wokism wants to destroy.

Mathieu Bock-Côté is a Quebec sociologist, writer, essayist and journalist. His writing appears in various newspapers and journals, including la Presse, le Devoir, le Journal de Montréal and le Figaro. This article is made possible by the generosity of La Nef.

The featured image shows, “Promis’d Horrors of the French Invasion, or Forcible reasons for negotiating a regicide peace,” a print by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey in 1796.