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“We Are at the End of Something”:
The American Renaissance Interview

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American Renaissance: You have said that modernity is the enemy of identity. Could you explain this idea further?

Alain de Benoist: When one considers modernity, one must consider two meanings of the word. The first is known to everyone: It is the changes of life that come with more material wealth. But modernity is also the product of an ideology that appeared in the 17th and 18th century with the Enlightenment. It is an ideology of progress, of which the basic idea is that mankind will always be better. The future will be better than the present and the present is better than the past. For this ideology, the past has nothing to teach us. The past is a graveyard of archaic customs and irrational constraints. Instead, man must use his reason to decide by himself what he wants.

Modernity also takes a unitary view of history. History is not cyclical, as it was for the Greeks, but is a straight line. This idea comes from Christianity and Judaism, which posit that there is an absolute beginning and an absolute end to history. Mankind is likewise unitary. All peoples must go through the same stages, and reach the same level of development. This is the myth of development, of technological progress.

A slum in Nairobi, Keyna–part of the “developing world.”

A slum in Nairobi, Kenya–part of the “developing world.”

Thus, everything that is new has value because it is new. There is a fetishism of the novel. So when you speak of modernity you must consider not only the material dimension but also the ideological dimension. Modernity is intrinsically antagonistic to collective identities because such identities are an obstacle to the march of progress towards a unitary mankind.

Of course, modernity has a strong economic component. In Europe it was linked to the rise of the bourgeois class and its commercial and merchant values. This is the problem of capitalism. It wants to organize more markets—a world market, a planetary market—and collective identities fragment this market.

Europeans have frequently criticized the United States as a materialist society, but is not every society materialist? Is it not part of human nature to always to want more?

You are right. In that sense I would say that today we are all Americans. And it is true that the desire to have more is part of human nature. The difference is that much of European religion and philosophy are based on values that are more important, on the belief that for moral or religious or philosophical reasons, we must not submit to greed and to the appetite for wealth. This was different in America because of the protestant Calvinist idea of the elect—God shows his approval by giving wealth. You know Max Weber’s theory of the link between Protestantism and the rise of capitalism. I think these things make a big difference.

EiffelTowerIn Catholic countries money is always suspect—even though everyone wants more of it rather than less. You can see that in the fact that in France it would be impossible for a wealthy man to be elected head of state. No one would vote for a millionaire. The idea would be repulsive. But in America if a candidate is a millionaire it shows he is a success and has ability.

So in Europe people hide what they have. They don’t say how much they earn. In America there is a passion for numbers, and everything is a calculable quantity. Americans know how much they paid for everything. When American tourists go to the Eiffel Tower they ask, “How many steps to the top?” They do not understand the difference between quantity and quality.

Is there anything besides Catholicism that has protected Europe from the same levels of materialism?

An American export

An American export

No longer. Today, everyone looks at the same films, listens to the same music, lives in the same kind of houses. This is something that greatly concerns me. I have traveled a great deal, and every year I see the world becoming more similar. I call this the ideology of sameness. This ideology can take religious and not-at-all religious forms, but the central idea is that we are all part of mankind, that we are brothers of the same family. There may be differences but they are unimportant and should be either eradicated or transformed into mere folklore. American Indians do their dances for the tourists but this is not traditional life.

What is the solution to this problem of sameness?

To see solutions we must conceive of globalization as a dialectic. The more the world is homogenized, the more there is rebellion. Thus, the impulse that homogenizes the planet creates new kinds of fragmentation, new kinds of divisions. Sometimes this resistance can be excessive—it can take the form of terrorism, for example.

LocalProduceThe solution is to work locally. I strongly believe in localism. Localism means more direct democracy, it means working to create liberated spaces. That’s why I don’t believe so much in politics. I believe that the time of political parties is over. Parties take each others’ places, but they are not real alternatives. In France it is the Right or the Left, or the Left or the Right, and everything remains the same.

That is the reason why so many people are fed up with what we call the “new class” of politicians, financiers, media. There is a widespread feeling that this class does not understand the daily life of the citizens, that it is remote, not committed to a particular nation, that it has common interests instead with an international new class. This is one of the reasons for the rise of the so-called populists parties, which is the most interesting political phenomenon in the last 10 or 20 years.

What are some other examples of this resistance to globalization?

Some countries resist very well. China, for example. I was in China not long ago. Of course you can see young people fixated on their video games, their iPods, iPads, and BlackBerries, but I think the Chinese leaders have a very clear view of the state of the world. Few countries really try to think about the future. The United States, yes, certainly. Russia and China as well, but in Europe, there is nothing.

You think Americans are thinking seriously about the future?

Not the American people, but the think tanks and government agencies think very seriously about the future.

More so than in Europe?

Yes, certainly. We have politicians but nothing like your think tanks. Maybe some political clubs, but nothing else. The politicians just want to be reelected, so the future for them is next year. They don’t think globally about the world.

If global capitalism is the enemy of identity, can you describe a type of economic organization that would be a friend of identity?

Economic life must not be reduced to free exchange and to commercial and market values. An economy must take social realities into consideration, and must not be free from political authority. It is perfectly possible to have an economy of social solidarity that includes a private sector, a public sector, as well as a sector for voluntary associations, such as workers’ cooperatives. The dictatorship of the financial markets must be destroyed. An economy must be based on real production and not on financial speculation. We must fight against the de-localization caused by globalization, which results in labor-market dumping, and harms the working classes by putting downward pressure on salaries. Free exchange between nations is good for everyone only if those nations are at approximately identical levels of economic development.

In Europe there must be reasonable protectionism that guarantees salaries and revenue. We must also promote, to the extent possible, consumption of goods where they are produced, with an emphasis on local transport and economies of proximity. The re-localization of economies is a way to maintain collective identities and also to restore social ties and local democracy in a public space in which citizenship is expressed.

Would you hope for a Europe that is more locally autonomous?

I am personally in support of a politically unified Europe, but this would be a Europe in which as many decisions as possible are made locally. We speak of the principle of “subsidiarity” according to which, as much as possible, and at the lowest possible level, people decide the matters that concern themselves.

That was the original idea of the United States. Every state was to have great autonomy.

But in the history of the United States the meaning of the word “federalism” has changed. Now when we say “federal” it means the central government, even though things were different in the beginning. The history of states’ rights is complex.

But that is my point. The European Union shows the same tendency. A central government always wants more power. Switzerland seems to be one of the few exceptions to this rule.

I like Switzerland very much. I would like the Swiss model extended to the whole of Europe. Do not forget that the difference between the central power in Europe (the so-called European Commission) and in the United States is that in Europe it is not even elected by anybody. There is no democratic legitimacy to it. I don’t have any illocutions about the value of the kinds of elections you have in the United States, but at least there is an election. Not in France. We elect a European parliament that has almost no power, and the only reason people take an interest in that election is because it is an indication of which parties are most popular within your own nation.

Do you think it is possible to have a politically united Europe that really does leave local decision-making to local people?

Yes. You see that in Switzerland. Of course, it is a small country.

Switzerland

Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons, each of which enjoys considerable autonomy.

But in the history of Europe you have two competing models. One is the nation-state, of which France is the perfect example, but of which England and Spain are also examples. The other model is empire: Italy, Germany and so on. I think the model of empire is much better because it does not concentrate power. It leaves rights and political autonomy to the different countries and regions. A recent model would be the Austro-Hungarian empire. It contained 35 different nationalities, but it worked pretty well. Of course, it was implicated in all the troubles in the Balkans.

For many countries, the United States is an unpleasant presence, but is this simply a reflection of its power? Is this just our version of the French mission civilisatrice or British empire-building, or is there something different about the way America imposes its ideas on the world?

Certainly England, France, and Spain had great influence on the world, but the difference is that they are old countries. They have behind them 2,000 or 3,000 years, and in such a long period of time you have many different conceptions of politics. Not so in the United States. From the beginning, you have the myth of the City on a Hill, that you were the new chosen people, that you fled corrupt Europe with its monarchies and that you would build a new society that would be the best in history.

This goes hand in hand with American optimism. There may be many problems but in the end technology will solve them. Technology creates problems and yet more technology will solve them. This feeling, which is shared by so many Americans, can lead to isolationism or Wilsonianism, in which you want to colonize, though not in the old way. You want all people to be Americanized.

I notice that when I am in America I always hear music—music or television—even in restaurants. But it is always American music. I never hear any singer or music that is not American. In a few restricted circles you may see a French film, and people may know of Edith Piaf or Maurice Chevalier. But if you go to Europe or anywhere else you will hear the same music! Not only, but mostly. When it is not French, it is American music. Why don’t the French listen to Chinese music or African music or German music or Spanish music or Danish music? And it is the same for films. We see all the American films. We do not see all the German or Italian films, even though those countries are very close to France.

Globalization is the vehicle for all this. English becomes the universal language; if you don’t understand English, you can’t really use the Internet. So here are two reasons for the impact of America. One is the ideological reason but the other is the effect of pure power. This is normal.

From the European point of the view, surely someone like George W. Bush must have been impossible to understand because he was not Machiavellian or even sophisticated.

To us he looks like a moron. In Europe a good politician or statesman is someone who is cultivated in matters of political philosophy and literature, who has a deep knowledge of the world, who sees history as tragedy. He is someone who is a realist in politics, who doesn’t try to hide his interests behind the smokescreen of moral discourse. Americans are completely different. They put their hands on their hearts and speak of freedom and democracy.

Yesterday I was at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, where I saw a quotation from President Reagan that went something like this: “There are no limits to growth or human happiness if people can freely choose their dreams.” What does that mean? Nothing. But you can see that sort of thing everywhere.

Nelson Rockefeller

Nelson Rockefeller

I was recently in New York and visited Rockefeller Center. There you have tablets with quotations from Nelson Rockefeller. “I believe in humanity. I believe in love. I believe in the pursuit of happiness but nothing is more important than love.” This man’s life was making money, but he says there is nothing more important than love. He was not a lover, he was a financier. This sort of thing is very strange for Europeans.

And there are so many things that have come from America to Europe and settled there, such as gender studies—people like Judy Butler, who are completely mad. The crazy kind of feminism. I am not against feminism. There is a good kind of feminism, which I call identitarian feminism, which tries to promote feminine values and show that they are not inferior to masculine values. But this American version of universalist egalitarianism says there is no difference between men and women. It concedes there is a small difference: you are born with one sex or the other, but it’s not very important. What is important is that gender is a social construct, and you can make the parallel with race. Race and sex, they don’t exist because they are social constructs; they are only what your mind says they are.

You may know that last May the French government decided—it is the law now—that the French Republic “does not recognize the existence of any race.” Race does not exist, but racism exists. We must fight racism, which is presumably a hatred of something that does not exist. Curiously, these people claim to value diversity, but how can there be diversity if races do not exist? Many of these ideological fashions came from America.

Many Americans and Europeans who are frustrated with the direction in which their country is going speak of the possibility of systemic collapse. Do you foresee such a collapse?

I don’t foresee that because it is impossible to foresee anything. The main characteristic of history is that it is always open, therefore unpredictable. All the important events of the last decades were not foreseen, beginning with the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the Soviet system. Some people with a catastrophic and pessimistic view do not realize that history is open. They think nothing can change, yet change is always possible because human history is open. I don’t foresee any collapse but I believe that there is a strong possibility of a general collapse.

At least in Europe we have the impression that the political system has exhausted all its possibilities. There is also the financial crisis, which is, for me, a structural rather than contingent crisis of capitalism. You cannot live forever on credit. Look at the public debt of the United States—my God. We always add a bit more, a bit more, a bit more. But “more” and “better” are very different things. No tree can reach the sky, so it will certainly collapse.

At the same time, there are ecological, demographic, and immigration problems. We are clearly at the end of something. Probably at the end of modernity. Never in my life can I remember a time in which all possibilities were as open as they are today. We are in a world of transition. During the cold war, things were simple—two blocs—but not anymore. What will become of Russia? What will become of China? In Africa we will have demographic growth—like the public debt in the US!

So I think collapse is possible and it may be necessary, but you cannot rely on it. You cannot sit in your chair and say, “Well, dear friends, I am waiting for the apocalypse.” That would be like the Jehovah’s Witnesses: “The end of the world is nigh.” One world may be ending, but not the world.

Collapse may be necessary for what?

For change. Americans have lived ever since the beginning of their country under more or less the same system, so it is very easy for them to believe that theirs is a natural system. In Europe we have known so many systems, so many revolutions, so many conflicting opinions. I refuse to be constrained by inevitability.

MarineLePenUnder the current system only marginal reforms are possible. In France, the National Front is rising in a very interesting way. It is becoming the leading political party, which is very strange when you remember that because of the electoral system it has only two members in the Chamber of Deputies. But even if Marine Le Pen were elected president—I do not think it will happen but I cannot exclude it—there would be no great changes. We would live in the same kind of society, looking at the same films, playing with the same electronic games, and so on.

You have spoken about how complex and multiple identity is. It is composed of language, history, profession, ethnicity, sex, etc. but why can race can never be part of a collective identity—at least for white people?

You mean in Europe?

I mean anywhere.

It is even more forbidden in Europe. In the United States, it is accepted by most people that races exist—and in my mind to accept race is very different from racism—but in Europe that is not so. In the United States you have racial statistics. You can go to the government and find race statistics on everything, including crime and social patterns. The collection of these kinds of statistics is forbidden in Europe—certainly in France.

TallTreeIn France you may categorize people as foreigners or French citizens but many immigrants have French citizenship. Sometimes they receive it automatically when they are born there. So sociologists who want to study a racial question must look indirectly at such things as medical statistics. No one knows how many blacks there are in France. We have an idea, of course, but officially race statistics are forbidden because race does not exist. Such race statistics might be used by racist people. They could use findings about crime, for example.

But to return to the question of identity, I am concerned that the people in France who want to defend identity seem to be the first not to know what identity means. They give only a negative definition of it: “I’m not an immigrant.” Alright, you are not an immigrant, but what are you? “I am French.” But of course you are so many other things as well. You are a man or a woman, you are a journalist or a producer, you are gay or straight, born in a particular region, etc. Identity is complex.

How do you see yourself as different from Identitarians?

If I compare you and me, the first difference is that I am aware of race and of the importance of race, but I do not give to it the excessive importance that you do. For me it is a factor, but only one among others.

The second is that I am not fighting for the white race. I am not fighting for France. I am fighting for a world view. I am a philosopher, a theoretician, and I fight to explain my world view. And in this world view, Europe, race, culture, and identity all have roles. They are not excluded. But mainly I am working in defense of a world view. Of course, I am very interested in the future and destiny of my own nation, race, and culture, but I am also interested in the future of every other group.

Immigration is clearly a problem. It gives rise to much social pathologies. But our identity, the identity of the immigrants, all the identities in the world have a common enemy, and this common enemy is the system that destroys identities and differences everywhere. This system is the enemy, not the Other. That is my basic credo.

Is there anything in particular you would you like to say to an American audience?

AlainDeDenoistWhat I would say to America is to try to be a bit more open to the rest of the world. Try to know other countries and not just to visit them as tourists. As tourists you don’t see much. You need to understand that throughout the world people can think differently. I don’t say they are better or worse, but accept these differences, because a world of difference is a richer world. The wealth of the world is diversity—its genuine diversity.

Source: http://www.amren.com/features/2013/11/we-are-at-the-end-of-something/

 

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33 Comments

  1. fnn
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Cologero of Gornahoor:

    http://www.gornahoor.net/?p=6999

    We see pragmatism used in an unsophisticated way among the so-called new/alt right or neo-traditionalist crowd. The distinguishing feature uniting them is the emphasis on “race” or other form of zoological identitarianism. Hence, they evaluate every worldview, politico-philosophical system, religion, or tradition by how well it promotes their view of identity. There is no other standard, not even the truth of the idea. Just to be clear once again, for Tradition, the fundamental identity is that of Spirit, prior to any other form of identity. Such a position is immune to the ravages of pragmatism

    I’m tempted, but I’m not qualified to comment.

    • Lucian Tudor
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I don’t know who this person you quoted is nor have I bothered to read the article you linked but I will address this quote in particular. This claim is completely invalid and shows substantial ignorance of what the New Right and Identitarianism actually advocates. Alain de Benoist along with just about any other New Right or Identitarian thinker actually denounce biological reductionism (which is basically what is implied by the term “zoological identitarianism”) and have repeatedly insisted on the importance of spiritual, cultural, and political identities, not just biological and/or racial identity. They view biological race as having a notable level of importance, that’s certainly true, but they do not reduce everything to it and they are very much opposed to biological reductionism, so it is absurd to assume that they reduce identity to its “zoological” dimension (not that race is solely biological to begin with, since it has a spiritual dimension as well). As a matter of fact, I actually recommend my essay “Race, Identity, Community” to understand what the Identitarian perspective on identity basically is.

      I would be willing to bet that this person Cologero has not even bothered to read anything significant of the works of Benoist, Faye, Sunic, or other key figures in the New Right and the Identitarian movements. If someone is going to make a claim, he should cite one of the major New Right authors to back it up, not just assert it arrogantly without any reference. All I am seeing here is a person who is misrepresenting the New Right and using this misrepresentation to criticize them (which makes it a completely invalid “critique”, since it is not based on reality). This is exactly what I see Leftists doing, and it is shameful to lower oneself to that level.

  2. Posted November 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    It appears that my last comment was too radical, too frame changing, too dangerous for this website?

    It doesn’t matter. I’m still thankful for this website. CCs is the only WN website (besides BUGS/FTWR) I look to daily . CCs is my main node of knowledge and information regarding the Arts and the pro-White struggle. It’s associated with people who do excellent work. I am thankful for them.

    Happy Thanksgiving

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it was a bit out there.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

  3. SMERSH
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Reminder that he is constrained in what he can say because mentioning the Jews in France is pretty much illegal.

    • Armor
      Posted November 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t officially illegal to mention the Jews, but if you do, you can be condemned in court under a phony charge. That is what happened to Hervé Ryssen for example. He was given a 3 month jail sentence last week. As he says (French link), they couldn’t condemn him for what he said in his books, as they are largely a long list of quotations by Jewish authors.

      Alain de Benoist still gets invited in bookshops, conferences, political blogs, and at least one radio station. Maybe he doesn’t want to lose that. Some of his intellectual friends may stop writing in his magazine if he mentions the Jews and there is a Jewish media campaign against him. I know he has written about the Jews occasionally. He thinks it’s all right to criticize a Jewish activist, but he won’t say that the Jewish problem is killing the White race.

      I’m criticizing Alain de Benoist even though I know little about him. He doesn’t seem to be worse than the average French nationalist. Everyone practices self-censorship about the Jews.

  4. Armor
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    One thing I liked in this interview is Benoist’s defense of localism. Something I dislike about America, and I don’t know if it is due to Jewish influence, is how people seem to think that it is natural to simply leave their hometown or their home state if the local industry is doing poorly, and how they think that free-market principles should never be breached. And of course, that philosophy is now encouraged in France too, and probably in the whole European Union. Brussels would like people to move freely from one country to the other.

    The other day, I listened to the discussion between Robert Stark and Ramzpaul (here). They were discussing the Swiss project of giving everyone a guaranteed national income. As they said, today’s problem is that “free-market libertarianism cannot deal with the social problems caused by automated production”. That is to say: not everyone can find a job. I think part of the solution is that Western countries should try to maintain parts of their own industries, by taking protectionist measures. So, the solution is localism. Of course, before doing that, the priority is to deport non-white people or to get racial separation in some other way.

  5. Armor
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Benoist: “I am not fighting for the white race.”

    Maybe that is because he doesn’t want any trouble with the Jews. Many of the problems he mentions are due to Jewish influence, not American influence, but it is safer to criticize the Americans.

    “And there are so many things that have come from America to Europe and settled there, such as gender studies—people like Judy Butler, who are completely mad.”

    But Judy Butler is a Jewess, and prominent crazy feminists in France are Jewesses.

    “Economic life must not be reduced to free exchange and to commercial and market values.”

    It is especially Jews who tell us that our lives should be about making money.

    “I notice that when I am in America I always hear music—music or television—even in restaurants. But it is always American music. I never hear any singer or music that is not American. (…) But if you go to Europe or anywhere else you will hear the same music!”

    Probably because of the Jewish distributors. By the way, when the French media do not broadcast American singers, they tend to broadcast “French” pop singers who happen to be Jewish. Until a few decades ago, the favorite music of many old people in France was still accordion music, but there was very little of it on the radio. Jewish station managers would rather impose their own original production.

    I think Alain de Benoist is playing dumb !

  6. Verlis
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I think Ulf Larsen has been stewing too long in the WNosphere.

    Firstly, other races may be self-interested but they all attempt to provide moral and intellectual cover for their behaviors. When Israel banned Meir Kahane’s party for its naked appeal to Jewish power it didn’t do it because it disagreed that Israeli policy should benefit Jews; it did it because it was understood that the ideas being proposed made most Jews morally uncomfortable.

    Secondly, rights are the products of human minds. It is meaningless to speak of rights existing “on their own” in the absence of human minds. Human minds are: (a) quite capable of recognizing and granting rights; and (b) seemingly irresistibly drawn towards recognizing and granting them. Given this it is a waste of time to talk about whether rights “exist” or not.

    Thirdly, even if one somehow succeeded in convincing whites that rights do not exist, it is at this point in time far from obvious that this would benefit whites. What is to stop white anti-whites from turning the argument against rights against whites? They could fairly wonder what you’re so upset about: Africans or Asians or Muslims haven’t transgressed against whites since whites never had any right to their own countries, never had any right to live apart from other races, never had any right to racial existence. How in the world would this development help turn things around?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted November 26, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      I agree that rights exist in the same way that all other moral claims exist.

      The Iliad and the Sagas are stories about vital peoples, all right, peoples who take their own side in a fight. But not, I am afraid, peoples noted for their ethical dealings with others.

      People who announce that there are no rights, or that might makes right, are announcing the intention to be murderers and thieves toward their neighbors. One can’t build a just and peaceful world on those grounds, and I envision the New Right as a path to a just and peaceful world.

      It will not be arrived at, though, by whites who are addicted to suicidal forms of altruism — or predatory forms of egoism. We need to become a militant and aggressive people who are fighting for a moral aim. Whites, fortunately, love such moral crusades.

    • Jaego
      Posted November 27, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

      As has been said, hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. Alexander and later the Romans tried to justify their conquests with sweet words about World Peace. Nations need virtue to exist and generally some kind of Myth that gives Meaning if they are going to last. Apparently the Chinese at various points tried to extend their Divine Peace to other Peoples, offering protection and guidance in exchange for tribute and recognition. At one point they even sent out a vast fleet to search for new nations to invite in. Some think the fleet may have even reached North America.

    • BlackSun
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I agree that rights exist and that they are the product of human minds, but they are more than that. They are also claims against someone else to provide something, and that is where rights become problematic. If I don’t have the ability to enforce my claims, do my rights have any meaning? This is why people say that rights don’t exist. More accurately stated, rights don’t exist unless the claims made by the rights can be enforced. A group can claim it has the “right to exist”, but if it lacks the ability to back up that claim, they won’t exist if some other group thinks it’s worth the effort to wipe them out. Might doesn’t make moral right, but it does give the ability to enforce your claimed rights. I like to think that might makes possible. It doesn’t have the same catchy ring to it as might makes right, but it has the benefit of being true.

      We need to recognize that claiming a right to exist doesn’t mean we can actually enforce such a claim. We can (and should) proclaim to others that we will respect their right to exist in their own sphere as long as they respect ours, but saying that isn’t enough to make it happen. We need to always take our own side to actually make the right to exist mean something.

      • Verlis
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        Black Sun, I don’t particularly disagree with your remarks about rights, but I will note that you are only considering the enforcement dimension. This is important, but it isn’t the whole story. If humans are as willing and eager to recognize the rights of other people as I claim they are the the very talk of rights is able to affect behavior without any threat of enforcement, to guide towards certain directions and away from others. If this talk can be backed up with guns all the better, yes, but it’s not nothing without such backup.

        To clarify by way of example, consider a society which doesn’t recognize a certain right – the right to racial integration, say. By speaking and behaving in a way consistent with the existence of such a right, however, minds can be changed; opinions and attitudes can shift from dismissive or derogatory to accepting or enthusiastic. The initial public acceptance represents an enormous social shift even without any power to enforce the new attitude. In time legal changes can come to reflect the newly developed views, now bringing all of the awesome power of the state to ardently defend or enforce what it once blithely disregarded.

        Acceptance of the right to racial existence (in something like the numbers and on something approaching the territory which the average reasonable WN typically has in mind) will not come easy, to be sure. Tough enough in its own right, an additional hurdle is the kind of ‘naive supremacism’ (which is how I think of it) which for decades was the only voice making the ‘case for race’ and which remains a major conduit for whites making their way to an explicit pro-white stance. I don’t have the time (or the room) to explain here why I think naive supremacism flawed (probably fatally so), suffice it to note that it is known for giving rise to the most extreme – and extremely righteous (or self-righteous) – forms of anti-white antagonism, by whites and non-whites alike, and which in my opinion it will always do; abhor that if you will, but it is a hurdle.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          You’re both right on this. With rights, as well as other moral claims, some people do what is right because it is right, and others need to be forced to do so. Because the latter are a significant population, rights will never be protected unless people can either project force or persuade others to fight for them.

      • BlackSun
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Verlis, I agree that the concept of rights can change behavior simply by talking about them. When you come down to it, rights amount to a tacit agreement that I will respect your claims if you respect mine. For example, we can have a right to freedom of speech because I’ll agree not to silence you with force if you extend the same courtesy to me. Ethnonationalism for everyone would establish a similar principle worldwide – whites will recognize the right of other people to have their own homelands in return for their recognition of our right to our own homelands. It’s a fine principle and I agree with it, but not everyone is going to support that, and we need to back it up with more than just more talk about rights.

        For example, I increasingly see leftists and Third World immigrants claiming that “migration is a basic human right”. What they mean is that anyone should have the right to leave their present country and go someplace they like better – in effect swamping the white world with non-white immigrants until there is no reason to come here any more. This “right” is diametrically opposed to the right of nations to control their own borders, and no talk about rights can reconcile the two views. We can offer these people the right to their homelands, but many of them would like the benefits of living in ours more.

        After reading this interview, I can completely understand why Faye and other former members of GRECE broke away from the organization. Alain de Benoist seems a little too much the abstract philosopher, too willing to believe that simply talking about “ethnopluralism” will make it happen. It will fall to Faye and people like Generation Identity who are willing to take a more forthright stance in favor of our people to create a new order.

      • Armor
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        BlackSun: For example, I increasingly see leftists and Third World immigrants claiming that “migration is a basic human right”.

        In the European Union, the replacist regime likes the idea of ASYLUM RIGHTS. I think it is a continuation of the Jewish idea of human rights. Human rights were not a Jewish idea in the beginning, but it has been promoted by Jews. The notion of “asylum rights” was introduced into the “Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe”, and in the EU’s “Charter of Fundamental Rights”. Both the treaty and the charter were rejected in a referendum in France in 2005, but they were adopted anyway. Jews are politically very active in Brussels. For example, the EU administration has been under the influence of the CRIF, a Jewish organization based in France (the I of crIf is for Israelite). Jean Kahn, the former chairman of the CRIF, was also the chairman of the “European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia” which later became the EU’s “Fundamental Rights Agency” (FRA). It probably wrote the Charter of Fundamental Rights, with its defense of asylum rights. The fact that the FRA was originally about monitoring “racism” shows that it had nothing to do with preserving freedom in Europe.

        Wikipedia has invented a theory as how asylum rights are derived from the old tradition of churches being sanctuaries where arrests could not be made. In that context, “asylum right” would have meant that priests and monks had a right to give asylum. But in the new Jewish version, “asylum right” has come to mean that Africans have a right to receive asylum in White countries. That is ridiculous.

  7. Michael O'Meara
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s easy to criticize Benoist. I’ve been doing it for ten years. But I don’t think anyone can criticize him in a meaningful way until they first take seriously (i.e., understand) what he says about the differences between Catholic Europe and Calvinist America or about why he argues that France is more “important” than the abstraction we call the “white race.”

    • Lucian Tudor
      Posted November 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      I think many of us are using the term “white race” out of convenience; the term is in many cases seen as something rather simplistic, but for us it often implies something more deep and complex (meaning that being “white” also includes the general spiritual style and European identity which is associated with it, not merely what is biologically inherited).

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted November 26, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      There’s nothing “abstract” about the white race. It is a vast, concrete reality, an extended family tens of thousands of years old. I do not think that France should be more important than the race as a whole — even to a Frenchman. He may have a closer connection to France than to the race as a whole. But when faced with a choice between French interests and the interests of the race as a whole — between a branch of the tree and the tree as a whole — I would certainly blame him for preferring the lesser good. Indeed, given the role that the French played in the Second World War, and the catastrophic consequences of that war for the race as a whole, I think that the only morally decent form of French, American, British, and Russian nationalism should involve a great deal of soul-searching on how these national identities were conducive to participating in the greatest crime in human history.

      • Armor
        Posted November 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        What was the greatest crime in human history ?

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted November 26, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          The Second World War

      • Verlis
        Posted November 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Those are some really absolute statements, Greg. Surely the degree to which anyone favors his own subset over the interests of the larger group depends entirely on context, doesn’t it? A narrow nationalist should only be faulted for refusing under any circumstances to favor the interest of the larger race over his own subset of it. From this perspective, in a time of global crisis such as this, where the causes and effects are much the same in every place, one certainly could fault a nationalist for being too narrow-minded.

        Secondly, I can’t see what good WWII soul-searching would do. Best to forgive the past and learn its lessons – at least, that’s a lot simpler.

      • Heidrun:)
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        “Secondly, I can’t see what good WWII soul-searching would do. Best to forgive the past and learn its lessons – at least, that’s a lot simpler.”
        To be forgiven you have to say sorry.
        I think Greg means soul cleansing. You have to open your heart, spirit and mind and go back to where it went wrong ,feel, admit and fix it, instead of clinging on to glory and righteousness. It hurts and is not easy to do but fills you with strength, courage and love and gives you a clean, pure soul.
        I have done it myself and it hurts like hell. I am german, I had to find out that everything we germans were/are accused of and punished for was done/is being done to us. The injustice and suffering we faced/face hurt so much. I cried many times, reading about how the generation of my grandparents and those before them were murdered in the most cruel ways by our own race(english, french, polish, russian, american etc), who were easily mislead because they lost track of who they really are. To acknowledge it is the be all and end all for the soul.
        You dear Verlis have to go through it from the other side because I presume you don’t belong to the german, hungarian, etc side of the race. It may make you feel uncomfortable knowing what really happened and you would rather brush it over and forget about it because you would have to admit to the huge mistake of your forefathers. But it’s exactly there you have to go, where you feel uncomfortable.

  8. Arindam
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    That was a fascinating, and most amusing, interview of one of the most intelligent and wittiest thinkers of the European New Right. If I have one criticism to make, it is that the venerable philosopher exaggerates the degree of homogeneity in modernity: young men in North America, Europe and Japan may all play video games, for example, but statistical evidence indicates that they play not only rather different games, but rather different genres, (Americans tend to prefer first-person shooters, Europeans are more fond of football and adventure games, Japanese tend to play role-playing games, etc..) Similarly, it is questionable whether there has been a homogenization of musical tastes across countries and cultures…

    • Lucian Tudor
      Posted November 27, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I believe you are right that Benoist exaggerates on this, although I think the example of music is more suitable than that of video games. Much of the world has adapted, for example, rock music, but the manner in which it is produced by local cultures varies; its expression is influenced not just by the language but also much by the cultural style of the ethnicity that appropriates it, so even if it is technically the same general kind of music there are still at least subtle differences. Also, other forms of music still vary a lot across even similar nations. It is actually rather unfortunate that Benoist does not take these complications into consideration, because I think there are certain portions of his audience that are bothered by it.

    • Lucian Tudor
      Posted November 27, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I had another interesting thought related to this matter: hardly anyone seems to complain about the historical spread of older Western culture across the world (classical music, classical architecture, certain formal articles of clothing) as a form of “homogenization,” only what today we tend to perceive as modern Western culture. It appears as though there a bit of a cultural bias involved here in this regard, even in Benoist’s thought. Perhaps some people would find such a bias to be agreeable, but it is interesting to notice it.

  9. Posted November 26, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Disappointing. Not my idea of a rightist.

    • Joe D. Sunwheel
      Posted November 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Tito Perdue, would you care to expand? I am interested in why you find this disappointing and how Benoist is different than your idea of a rightest.

  10. Ulf Larsen
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Here we have it made clear in a few words, the problem with the European new right:
    “I am not fighting for the white race. I am not fighting for France. I am fighting for a world view. I am a philosopher, a theoretician, and I fight to explain my world view.”

    In a conflict with the enemy, they don’t take their own side. They try to be the disinterested observer who fights for a theory in which our race has a “right” to exist, because of the need for diversity. In other words, they just perpetuate the same modern, self-destructive morality that has been with us since Christianity, instead of adopting the healthy, pre-modern will-to-live and will-to-power that is our only way to survival. We are participants in this conflicts (even if we have so far only been unknowing victims), and if we wish to win we must fight, nothing less. We cannot appeal to the moral sensibilities of our enemy. There is no middle ground.

    The attitude we need to survive is the attitude of the Iliad and the Icelandic sagas.

    • Lucian Tudor
      Posted November 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Being essentially an Identitarian myself, I agree with you insofar as I place the interests of my own general cultural and racial group as being primary, and I am thus more interested in the “rights” of the White/European race than in those of other races. However, I think you misunderstand Alain de Benoist; his wording can misleading sometimes but if you think about what he says you will see that he is not as disagreeable to you as it first looks. You can see that he claims that he is interested in the rights of all peoples (of course, even White Nationalists have used this type of phrasing), he still affirms that “I am very interested in the future and destiny of my own nation, race, and culture.”

      Along with this, you have to take a certain issue into consideration: If one asserts that foreign peoples have no right whatsoever, that they have no value and do not matter to us at all, how far can this idea go and what are the consequences? We have seen certain nationalist movements in European history where one nation was so hostile to another nearby nation (or nations) that it committed atrocities against it (them); in this case one group of Europeans viewed certain other European ethnic groups as being completely alien to themselves. This is an example where this kind of mentality led some whites to massacre and enslave other white peoples. We also know of past ideologies which claimed that Europeans can be divided into subraces, some of which were considered inferior, of little worth, and thus destined to be eliminated or enslaved. White nationalists tend to reject such ideologies because they see them as philosophically erroneous and also because these ideologies tend to divide and harm the white race in general. However, if one does not believe that other groups have any rights, who is to stop such things from happening? It is easy to be annoyed when someone speaks of the “rights of all peoples” when the first thing that comes to your mind is a bunch of repulsive Africans, but what about when it comes to less foreign, yet still somewhat different peoples? History shows us very well the consequences of thinking that different peoples have no rights or value, and Europe has suffered from it.

      • Ulf Larsen
        Posted November 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        I don’t misunderstand anything about what he is saying. My main objection to Benoist and the new right is not that he believes in “rights” of other races or peoples. “Rights” don’t exist. They are a fantasy born from a lack of vitality.

        My main objection is that he fights for a theory – not for his own people. (And, thus, he does not fight against an enemy – a real enemy – only other theories. He is probably so decadent, in the Nietzschean-Spenglerian sense of the word, that he doesn’t even understand that real enemies do exist.) No other race in the world does that, but ours, and that is what has been killing us for a long time. All other races fight for their own power, without asking questions about justification – and white Europeans did that too, in pre-modern times when their culture hadn’t yet become demented. Benoist fights for a theory – and his own race’s existence is justified only as part of that theory. From an evolutionary perspective he is insane, just as liberals suffer from a mental illness – their mentality isn’t compatible with evolutionary survival.

        What other race in the world would return the favour of comparing their own existence and power to ours as equally justified by a “theory”? The Jews? Blacks? They would laugh at the notion. All other races see their own interests from a subjective point of view, and pursue those interests aggressively. And for that purpose they often demonize their enemies (you know, try to demoralize them through religions of Holocaustianity etc.). Benoist tries to be objective about his own race’s interests – that is, he tries to amplify the one factor which has made our race lose power during the last century or so. No “theory” in the world can make us survive – will-to-live and will-to-power alone can do that, and they are only dampened by this conservative stupidity.

        The de Benoist mentality is the product of a civilization in its most decayed and lifeless form. It has no survival value.

        As Greg has pointed out several times before, this stuff doesn’t fool the Jews, it only fools our own people (and, what is more, it makes a fool of us).

      • Lucian Tudor
        Posted November 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        No, Benoist does not fight for a theory, he fights for a world-view (Weltanshcauung); there is a clear difference between these (and he refers to world-view, not theory). I think you do misunderstand, because you are forgetting that everyone has been fighting for a world-view throughout history; for example, when nationalists fought against Leftists for the sake of their beliefs and values in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, they were fighting for their world-view against other world-views. I personally think that what Benoist is trying to say is that he is fighting for his world-view, part of which is concern for the destiny of the ethnic and racial group to which he belongs, but if his own people do not share his world-view, then they are his enemies (for example, a white European person who is a multiculturalist Leftist is necessarily our enemy even though he is also part of our racial group; his world-view alienates him from us).

        Concerning whether Benoist understands what real enemies are, I am quite sure that he does considering that he is very familiar with the philosophy of Carl Schmitt and other Revolutionary Conservatives whom he appreciates. Finally, concerning the issue of “rights,” considering the he wrote (along with Champetier) in his Manifesto that “no right is conceivable outside a specific context in which to define it, outside a society to recognize it…” and that “as for fundamental liberties, they are not decreed, but they must be conquered and guaranteed”, it seems rather obvious to me that Benoist recognizes the fact that some kind of power and “action” is necessary to make rights a reality; that they do not exist without being secured in the real world. These subjects have obviously been covered in his other works in more depth. Aren’t you also forgetting that we’re talking about someone who wrote an entire book on Nietzsche?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted November 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      I would say that I am fighting for the white race, first and foremost, and that I am seeking a worldview to understand our predicament and forward our struggle.

      As a consequence of our struggle, I think that we will also secure the interests of other peoples and of life as a whole. But if our interests conflict with others, of course I take my own side.

      I see no conflict between taking one’s own side in a fight and arguing that ethnonationalism is good for all peoples because it is the most reliable way of insuring that different peoples are not fighting.

      I don’t have any problem talking about the rights of peoples or universal moral principles. I think that universality needs to go hand-in-hand with reciprocity, however. There is something to the idea of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. But you are a fool to persist in that policy if others refuse to reciprocate.

      I think that Benoist is posturing a bit here, because his own autobiography (reviewed here http://www.counter-currents.com/tag/memoire-vive/ by F. Roger Devlin) indicates that he began as a militant French nationalist, with a broadened European consciousness, and then moved toward being the theorist that he is today.

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