Monday, April 05, 2010

Eric Zemmour

There's an interesting post up at Gallia Watch on Eric Zemmour, a French writer and journalist I'd previously not heard of.

Zemmour has gone much further than most in making a principled break with liberalism. Here's an excerpt from his wikipedia entry:

Zemmour considers himself Gaullist and Bonapartist, and places himself in a profoundly anti-liberal (economically and socially) portion of the French right. He also considers himself to be a reactionary, in that he believes his views to be a reaction to a society that dismantles the social order, especially family and tradition, in the pursuit of a false goal: liberating the individual, who only finds himself isolated and reduced to the status of consumer. He reserves subversiveness for the right-wing, arguing that the progressives now dominant in French culture and media can no longer claim to be critics of the established order since they have become the established order.

Zemmour's anti-liberalism also causes him to oppose European federalism. He considers Europe to be profoundly liberal and out of step with the French social order. He also believes that within a European community, the political right and left are forced to advocate "the same economic policy, social liberalism or liberal socialism", since, in the words of Philippe Séguin, "right and left are outlets of the same wholesaler, Europe."

We can at least see from this that Zemmour:
  • Rejects both social and economic liberalism (i.e. a liberalism of the left and right)
  • Recognises that the individual is not liberated by autonomy, but is left isolated and with the trivial status of consumer
  • Recognises that the establishment is not conservative but liberal
  • Recognises the dominance of left-liberalism within the EU ("social liberalism")
I don't know enough about Zemmour to endorse his politics in a general sense. But his break with liberalism at the political level has been deep enough to allow him to take some genuinely traditionalist stances on a number of issues:

  • He opposes European federalism
  • He believes that sex distinctions matter
  • He opposes mass immigration into France
  • He believes that the role of fathers is different to that of mothers
  • He recognises that different races do exist
  • He advocates the "revirilisation" of men and of the European nations

Again, I don't have a systematic understanding of his arguments. He apparently gives a lot of weight to the idea that men have been feminised and have lost their authority and virility. He connects this to the declining fortunes of the European peoples.

The significant thing for me is that Zemmour is an example of how leading intellectuals can recognise the problem of liberalism, make a significant break with it, and begin to reassert traditionalist positions.

The quality of the positions taken by such intellectuals will vary, but the political landscape opened up will be a much more favourable and encouraging one.

12 comments:

  1. I wonder why the right liberal Le Figaro ever hired the man in the first place. Do you have any thoughts on the matter, Mr. Richardson?

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  2. Good question.

    I really don't know, I can only speculate.

    First, he seems to be an energetic kind of guy, writing books and appearing in several media outlets. Maybe force of character/determination helped propel his career.

    Second, he might have started out more along right liberal lines, before starting to break in a more principled way with liberalism.

    Third, his background might have helped. His family were Jews who lived in Algeria when it was a French colony. Maybe liberals assumed that this would mean he was basically onside.

    To be honest, I don't think I have a complete knowledge of where he stands politically. He may be more onside with the liberal establishment than I'm aware of. It's just that the wikipedia entry, combined with some of the political positions he's taken, suggest otherwise.

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  3. ""Third, his background might have helped. His family were Jews who lived in Algeria when it was a French colony. Maybe liberals assumed that this would mean he was basically onside.""

    Sadly this is true. Everyone who is not a part of the "dominant" community is of higher worth to the liberal establishment.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. A primary reason that European patriots ought to oppose "European federalism" is that there is that there is nothing at all federal about it. Rather, "European federalism" turns the nation-states of Europe into provinces of Brussels.

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  6. Eric Zemmour is a Sephardic Jew.
    "Zemmour is an advocate of traditional French assimilationism"
    This is not a conservative position. A traditionalist does not accept the assimilation of those of different ethnicity into the dominant culture. Thus Zemmour is a right liberal and not a traditionalist conservative.

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  7. Thanks, Mark. Number two seems particularly likely given that Le Figaro has tried to fire him since he pointed out that Arabs and Blacks commit a disproportionately large amount of the violent crime in France.
    http://analekta-informatics.blogspot.com/2010/04/message-from-france-yes-we-can-gates-of.html

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  8. Anon wrote,

    "A traditionalist does not accept the assimilation of those of different ethnicity into the dominant culture"

    I'm sympathetic to this view, given the current levels of foreigners in most Western nations. After all, European children in America are fewer than half of the country's children. Let's say for the sake of argument that to facilitate "assimilation", every Euro-American adult henceforth married a non-Euro spouse. The ensuing generation would look noticeably different than any previous generation of Americans. If every Western nation does likewise, European man is finished.

    I'd be curious to know how any serious Western conservative could support such a project.

    At the same time, I wonder if you would find fault with any and all assimilation. I think our forefathers must have assimilated the occasional foreigner, right? It's hard to believe, for example, that the Iberians didn't assimilate at least a few of the Moors, for example. Genetic tests on modern-day Spaniards and Portuguese suggest both that assimilation has happened and that it was minimal. I find little fault with that.

    But I doubt you'd be opposed to the assimilation practices of our forefathers. As it stands now, assimilating all of the foreigners in America would not conserve the historic American nation but rather create a new one, mestized. And, if Rudd, Howard, et al, have their way, Australia will face the same existential crisis very soon.

    I share your skepticism that the creation of such new, mestized nations could be considered a conservative project.

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  9. A traditionalist does not accept the assimilation of those of different ethnicity into the dominant culture.

    I'd agree in general though it depends on how different the ethnicity is and in what numbers. You would not want to assimilate if it means significantly changing the character of the existing host population.

    At least, though, Zemmour does want to limit mass immigration and he does recognise that distinctions of race exist. He also wants to preserve the French nation state.

    His politics do have the effect of opening up the political landscape from the deadening orthodoxy currently in place.

    Wouldn't it be great if instead of just one gadfly Zemmour there were a few dozen? Wouldn't it then be made more difficult to isolate him for attack?

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  10. Miraculously, France still has quite a long way to go before it will reach Anglo-American-Canadian-Australian levels of PC right-and-left-liberal cowardice. French magazines such as Le Spectacle du Monde, Monde et Vie, and Rivarol are still much more tough-minded than anything in the English-speaking world. My understanding is that even Le Figaro has had sufficient testosterone to publish Jean Raspail on occasion.

    One reason for this is that France's tabloid empires are pretty limited by the standards of even a Northcliffe or a Beaverbrook, let alone a verminous nihilist like Red Rupert Murdoch. Magazines, rather than newspapers, are what the average Frenchman prefers to read, assuming that he reads anything at all apart from books. (And, it must be said, comic strips, which seem huge among the French.)

    I haven't got up-to-date figures regarding TV consumption. But certainly Frenchmen watched very little TV before the early 1960s (I don't think they had any commercial TV available before about 1970) and I'd guess that they would still spend far less time glued to the box on a per capita basis than would their Anglo counterparts.

    All these factors help insulate France against the Anglo media psychopaths whose current project is, quite literally, to kill Benedict XVI.

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  11. "At the same time, I wonder if you would find fault with any and all assimilation. I think our forefathers must have assimilated the occasional foreigner, right? It's hard to believe, for example, that the Iberians didn't assimilate at least a few of the Moors, for example. Genetic tests on modern-day Spaniards and Portuguese suggest both that assimilation has happened and that it was minimal. I find little fault with that."

    As a consequence of Arab immigration into Spain and Portugal, the Iberian peninsula is not European in the cultural sense of the word. Iberia is still regarded as something different,alien and inferior to mainland Europe. The architecture and culture is different and the preoccupation with bull fighting and death seem like vesiges of Islamic culture. And so the Islamic assimilation into Spain and Portugal changed these cultures in a way which is not desirable to most Europeans.

    A culture can assimilate those of the same religion and similar culture Eg British and Northern Europeans but it cannot assimilate those of different religion and culture eg British and Southern Europeans without damaging the existing culture.

    The implication of Zemmour that France can assimilate lots of Arabs without serious destruction of its culture is clearly false.

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  12. Anon wrote,

    "The implication of Zemmour that France can assimilate lots of Arabs without serious destruction of its culture is clearly false."

    Well, we're certainly in agreement there.

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