Translated by Michael O’Meara
The idea of the “cause of the peoples” is associated primarily with Alain de Benoist. It is an attempt to fuse European ethnonationalism with a kind of liberal universalism by asserting that European ethnonationalists are not merely fighting for their own cause, but for the cause of all peoples to preserve their distinctness — that they are not merely defending their own rights to ethnic self-preservation, but also the equal rights of all other nations to the same. See also Michael O’Meara’s “Benoist’s Pluriversum: An Ethnonationalist Critique,” TOQ vol. 5, no. 3 (Fall 2005) and Michael J. Polignano’s “The Ethics of Racial Preservation” on Frank Salter’s On Genetic Interests, TOQ vol. 7, no. 3 (Fall 2007).
The “cause des peuples” is an ambiguous slogan. It was initially conceived in a polytheistic spirit to defend ethnocultural heterogeneity. But it has since been reclaimed by egalitarian and human rights ideologies which, while extolling a utopian, rainbow-colored world order, seek to inculpate Europeans for having “victimized” the Third World.
Failure of a Strategy
When [GRECE-style] identitarians took up the “cause des peuples” in the early 1980s, it was in the name of ethnopluralism. This “cause,” however, was little more than a rhetorical ruse to justify the right of European peoples to retain their identity in face of a world system that sought to make everyone American. For in resisting the forces of deculturation, it was hoped that Europeans, like Third World peoples, would retain the right to their differences — and do so without having to suffer the accusation of racism. As such, the slogan assumed that every people, even White people, possessed such a right. But no sooner was this argument made than the cosmopolitan P.-A. Taguieff [a leading academic commentator on the far Right] began referring to it as a “differentialist racism.”
In retrospect, the New Right’s strategy seems completely contrived, for “la cause des peuples,” “la droit à la différence,” and “ethnopluralism” have all since been turned against identitarians. Moreover, its irrelevant to Europe’s present condition, threatened, as it is, by a massive non-European invasion and by a conquering Islam abetted by our ethnomaschoistic elites.
Reclaimed by the dominant ideology, turned against identitarians, and tangential to current concerns, the GRECE’s ethnopluralist strategy is a metapolitical disaster. It also retains something of the old Marxist and Christian-Left prejudice about Europe’s ‘exploitation” of the Third World. As [the French Africanist] Bernard Lugan shows in respect to Black Africa,this prejudice is based on little more than economic ignorance. The “cause des peuples” is nevertheless associated with a Christian-like altruism that demonizes our civilization, accuses it of having destroyed all the others, and does so at the very moment when these others are busily preparing the destruction of our own civilization.
The “right to difference” . . . What right? Haven’t we had enough Kantian snivelling? There exists only a capacity to be different. In the selective process of History and Life, everyone has to make it on his own. There are no benevolent protectors. This right, moreover, is reserved for everyone but Europeans, who are summoned to discard their own biological and cultural identity.
This slogan poses another danger: it threatens to degenerate into a doctrine — an ethnic communitarianism — sanctioning the existence of non-European enclaves in our own lands. For in the Europe it envisages, communities of foreigners, particularly Muslim ones, will, for obvious demographic reasons, play an ever-greater role in our lives. This affront to our identity is accompanied by sophistic arguments that ridicule the “fantasy” of a reconquista. In this spirit, we are told that we will have to make do [with a multiracial Europe]. But I, for one, refuse to make do. Nor am I prepared to retreat before an alleged historical determinism.
Life Is Perpetual Struggle
The “cause des peuples” has now become part of the “human rights” vulgate. By contrast, the neo-Darwinian thesis of conflict and competition, which assumes that only the fittest survive, seems to our bleeding-heart communitarians a vestige of barbarism — even if this vestige corresponds with life’s organic laws. This thesis, though, in recognizing the forces of selection and competition, is alone able to guarantee the diversity of life’s varied forms.
The “cause des peuples” is collectivist, homogenizing, and egalitarian, while the “combat of peoples” is subjectivist and heterogeneous, conforming to life’s entropic properties. In this sense, only nationalism and clashing wills-to-power are capable of sustaining the life affirming principle of subjectivity. Given its egalitarian assumption that every people has a “right to live,” the “cause des peuples” prefers to ignore obvious historical realities for an objectivism that seeks to transform the world’s peoples into objects suitable for a museum display. As such, it implies the equivalence of all peoples and civilizations.
This sort of egalitarianism takes two basic forms: one is expressed in a homogenizing but metissé concept of what it means to be human (the ‘human race’), the other endeavors to preserve people and cultures in a way a curator might. Both forms refuse to accept that peoples and civilizations are qualitatively different. Hence, the absurd idea that one has to save endangered peoples and civilizations (at least if they are Third World) in the same way one might save an endangered seal. History’s turbulent selection process has, though, no room for preservation — only for competing subjectivities. In its tribunal, salvationist doctrines are simply inadmissible.
The “cause des peuples” also assumes an underlying solidarity between European and Third World peoples. Again, this is nothing but a dubious ideological construct, which Grécistes invented in the early Eighties to avoid the accusation of racism. I don’t have the space here to expose the myth of Third World “exploitation.” However, to explain its misfortunes in crude, neo-Marxist terms, as if it were due to the machinations of the IMF, the Trilaterals, the Bilderberg group, or some other Beelzebub, is hardly worthy of a response.
According to media or academic pundits, the “culture of the other” is now under siege in France — even though “Afromania” is all the rage. I, on the other hand, think it is not at all exaggerated to claim that America’s deculturating influences no longer threaten Europe, for its dangers have been surpassed by another.
I respect the destiny of the sometimes afflicted Inuits, Tibetans, Amazonians, Pygmies, Kanaks, Aborigines, Berbers, Saharians, Indians, Nubians, the inevitable Palestinians, and the little green men from outer space. But don’t expect crocodile tears from me. When the flooding threatens my own house, I can think only of my own predicament and haven’t time to help or plead for others. Besides, when have these others ever cared about us? In any case, the dangers threatening them are greatly exaggerated, especially in view of their demographic vigor, which, incidentally, is owed to Western medicine and material aid — for the same Western forces that have allegedly exploited them also seems to have made them prosper (or, at least, to reproduce in unprecedented numbers).
If our communitarians really want to defend the “cause des peuples,” they might start with Europeans, who are now under assault by the demographic, migratory, and cultural forces of an overpopulated Third World. In face of these threats, you won’t find us sniveling (like a priest) or fleeing (like an intellectual) to the “other’s” cause. “Ourselves alone” will suffice.
From Terre et Peuple, no. 18, Winter Solstice 2003.
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