September 9, 2007

My new column:

Pierre Manent: Facing The National Question In France

By Steve Sailer

The French have so assiduously cultivated their knack for glib philosophizing that most Americans less credulous than professors of English literature have lost all interest in French intellectual life. They sense that the French are more interested in expounding novelties than truths.

This state of affairs is doubly unfortunate. That handful of contemporary French thinkers who are immune to the Parisian infatuation with fashion and fads are heirs to a grand tradition, including Montesquieu and Tocqueville. Moreover, the French language may be more conducive to lucid rationality than any other tongue.

Finally, as irritating as French arrogance can be, it's often rooted in a genuine and admirable national pride, a patriotism seldom found in other European countries in the 21st Century.

Among the most acute and sagacious French political philosophers of our era is Pierre Manent. He began his career as the assistant to Raymond Aron, the liberal intellectual who served during the 1960s as the tribune of common sense in a France in love with insane ideologies—epitomized by Aron’s École nationale d'administration classmate and life-long rival, the pro-Communist existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

Over the last decade, Manent has turned from the study of the great thinkers of the past to grappling with new problems—above all the European grandees' attempt to suffocate national self-rule within the bureaucratic European Union.

Manent's forthcoming work from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute is a short (103 pp) and highly readable book entitled Democracy Without Nations: The Fate of Self-Government in Europe, translated by Paul Seaton. It’s of particular interest to readers and to anyone concerned with the National Question—whether the nation-state can survive as the political expression of a particular people.

Elite opposition to nations, and thus to self-government, is not confined merely to Europe. On September 11, 2001, the Melbourne Age reported on former President Bill Clinton's speech to an Australian confab:

"'[Clinton] discussed the immigration issue in Australia and he took a position on it,'" said Tom Hogan, president of Vignette Corporation, host of the exclusive forum. 'The president believes the world will be a better place if all borders are eliminated—from a trade perspective, from the viewpoint of economic development and in welcoming [the free movement of] people from other cultures and countries,' Mr. Hogan said. Mr. Clinton … said he supported the ultimate wisdom of a borderless world for people and for trade."["Open borders to all:" Clinton, By Garry Barker, Melbourne Age, September 11, 2001]

Manent's reaction to 9/11 was similar to that of—we cited a once-famous poem by Rudyard Kipling:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return."

Manent writes:

"In my view, the most deeply troubling information conveyed by the event … was this: present-day humanity is marked by much more profound, much more intractable separations than we had thought. … Before that fateful day we spoke so glibly of ‘differences’ … [which] could only be light and superficial, easy to combine, easy to welcome and accommodate in a reconciled humanity whose dazzling appearance would be enlivened by these differences. This was such an aesthetic vision—a tourist's view of human things!"

The contrast between Manent's French clarity and the intentionally opaque and woozy ideas rationalizing the growing dominance of the EU can be striking. He continues:

"Today, all of us—at least in Europe—are moved and even carried away by … a passion for resemblance. It is no longer simply a matter of recognizing and respecting the humanity of each human being. We are required to see the other as the same as ourselves. And if we cannot stop ourselves from perceiving what is different about him, we reproach ourselves for doing so, as if it were a sin." [MORE]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

A companion book to Manent's would be Guillaume Faye's: "La Colonisation de L'Europe".The book is a landmark for which the author was duly fined.
Let me summarize his main points on fighting inmigration:

A) Measures in agreement with International Rights:

1) supression of “jus soli” in favour of “jus sanguinis”.

2) No work permits issued to non-europeans (Faye means here just “EU citizens” which I don´t agree with).

3) Legal aliens of non-european blood aren´t allowed to work or benefit from Social Security.

4) Visas are only valid for one non-renewable year.

5) Foreign felons are automatically deported and barred from further visits to the country.

6) Illegals are deported on sight; illegal felons are deported when they finish their time.

7) Aliens no longer will benefit from public services not generally available to citizens.

8) Restriction of visas issued to African and Asian countries.

B) Measures not in agreement with International Rights (or with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for that matter)

(Faye states that sooner or later, drastic measures will have to be undertaken in order to save Europe from its alien depredators. Better to be kicked from the UN than perish, in other words)

1) Retroactive abrogation of citizenship to aliens (Faye uses the French: “allogènes")

2) Subsidized policy of gradual repatriation for these aliens. Unlike current similar measures, repatriation here is to be understood as mandatory, i.e. deportation.

3) Muslims would be given the same treatment as Christians in Muslim lands: that is, fully legal discrimination on a reciprocal level.

4) Positive discrimination (Affirmative action) will be replaced by negative discrimination in favour of natives.

There´s more here, and the book is free to download:

Anonymous said...

What will Europe's immigration policies lead to? Well maybe something like this:

"All seven candidates said they would work on changing immigration laws during their first year in the White House.

"Clinton criticized the immigration bill proposed in the last Congress, dominated by Republicans. That legislation would have penalized those who help illegal immigrants. "I said it would have criminalized the good Samaritan. It would have criminalized Jesus Christ," she said.

"Richardson, one of two candidates who speak fluent Spanish, objected to the debate rules that required all candidates to answer in English. The rule was designed to make sure that no candidate had an advantage in appealing to the Spanish-speaking audience.

"I'm disappointed today that 43 million Latinos in this country, for them not to hear one of their own speak Spanish, is unfortunate," Richardson said.

Dodd, who served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, also speaks Spanish fluently. He called for more U.S. engagement with Latin America, including a lifting of the trade embargo against Cuba.

"We're allowing a Hugo Chavez to win a public relations effort in Latin America because we don't invest enough in Latin America," he said."

"Invest," of course, is code for "give billions away to."

Europe's headed there. America already is there. Our new demographic reality pretty much already assures that a genuine conservative will never get elected, and that genuine reform of our immigration laws is all but impossible. From here on out, large scale immigration is a given.

The only thing that could stop it is some serious catastrophe - probably a major recession. The inability to buy stuff is the only thing that ever really shakes Americans out of our shopping-induced stupor. Given the size of our trade deficit, our consumer debt, and the mortgage disaster that may happen sooner than we think.

Anonymous said...

Moreover, the French language may be more conducive to lucid rationality than any other tongue.

Why? The question of genetic influence on language is a very interesting one, however, and so is the reverse.