The Cause of the Peoples?Guillaume Faye
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.
Faye’s Archaeofuturism is available for purchase here.
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In referring to thinkers on the so-called “right” who claim we will have to accept permanent non-European population and culture enclaves (Moslem ones, Maghrebian ones, Negro ones) embedded across what was once our race’s and culture’s exclusive territory, such as the territory of France for example, Faye here is talking (and please correct me) about Alain de Benoist, long considered a sort of a lion of Euro ethnoracial preservation but who turns out to be more like a wet noodle — more like “a cheese-eating surrender monkey” (to employ a Jewish neocon term, finally, in its first-ever valid application).
I haven’t read a lot by Benoist. The reason: I was stopped dead in my tracks by seeing his advocacy of the above in maybe the fifth or sixth long essay of his I read. So much the better – spared me the need to slog through masses of dense, murky verbiage typical of his unclear writing.
Yes, Faye is referring to Benoist. But aside from this lapse, which is a terrible concession indeed, Benoist’s work is well-worth reading. I have read a lot of Benoist, and translated and edited the majority of his work in English today. Like Faye’s, Benoist’s writing is often dense–another word for substantive and terse–but it is never murky or unclear in itself, although it does require a great deal of background knowledge to become clear to the reader.
When I taught philosophy, I constantly heard undergraduates complaining that Plato, Descartes, Hobbes etc. were unclear and nonsensical. I would gently chide them that the fault might not lie in the writers but in the readers. Reading philosophy, especially Twentieth Century Continental philosophy, is very demanding, but if you persevere, it is highly rewarding.
Thanks for the correction on Benoist’s murkiness. All right I’ll give him another chance.
By the way, might one suggest a different photo of the author? (A pic showing him smiling maybe?) That one makes it look as if there’s a scowl on his face.
The “anonymous” translator of this piece is myself. The above article is take from my “Ethnonationalism versus Communitarianism: The Faye-Benoist Debate,” published by National Vanguard in 2005.
Dr. Johnson, sometimes a philosopher’s influence can be summed up in one or two essential passages from their works. If a reader can understand those, they have the key to all else. Which from Benoist and Faye and Venner would you offer?
It would be interesting if Dr. O’Meara would write some articles on the Jewish Question in France.
Generally speaking, I think Alain de Benoist is the best of the “New Right” thinkers.
I believe he was right in his attack on globalism, liberalism, the melting-pot, and he was right in his support of ecology, and right in supporting federalism, with his belief in a Europe of specific peoples each with their own identity, with a kind of universal ethnostatism, defending the right of all peoples to their own “distinctness.” I would say it another way, as being against racial supremacism and imperialism, where one race is seen as noble or chosen and all others are not. The right of all races to live and evolve with variety needs to be affirmed.
I think Benoist was wrong in his criticism of capitalism in the United States, which has brought the highest standard of living to the world in human history, and in the shortest time. The problem comes when capitalism is the sole cultural interest without religion or art, and when capitalism steps beyond its natural bounds of economic nationalism, intruding on the independence of other nations.
I think Benoist made the mistake of radicalism when he rejected Christianity outright, the religion of the West, preferring to go back to Indo-European paganism. It is better to affirm the Revealed Religions as well as the natural world of the evolution of life to Godhood, in the Twofold Path of Evolutionary Catholicism, which takes science into account as well. Revitalized Conservatism takes the middle way, altering the new to the old, and the old to the new, and promotes all races and cultures, living in small states, connected by a light federalism, evolving all the way to Godhood, affirmed by a revitalized religion.
I have written several very critical pieces on Benoist — I think he has made too many concessions to the enemy camp. But I have also learned a good deal from reading him, especially his earlier work. So, I sort of agree with Greg here.
I will say to Kenneth, though, that Benoist is the best of the ENR only if you consider the best to be a mild reform of the foulness that is the existing system — which, perhaps you do, considering your heroic capitalism.
Michael, it is not that what you call the “mild reform” of Benoist is my perfect preference, I see a Revitalized Conservatism, eg. which could affirm small ethnostates, as more realistic. My evolutionary Christianity, alas, does not seem mild, although I hope it is more realistic than going back to a world-rejecting pagan traditionalism, or creating a new religion. Much hangs on how you interpret human nature and what it is capable of.
Heroic Capitalism? More like heroic Economic Nationalism, which would have put a healthy check on the foulness of the system, as it did when America (and other nations) rose to power.
Heroic economic nationalism, yes! Capitalism, no!
The problem with Benoist is that he’s a reformist — willing to accommodate multiculturalism and the non-white colonization of European lands. This puts him in the enemy camp, unlike Robert Steuckers or Guillaume Faye, whose anti-liberalism remains categorically anti-system.
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