books book reviews

european political books

reviewed by T. Nelson


by Guillaume Faye

T o learn where Europe is heading, we need to look where Europe is not. That means looking at their minority views, like those of the European far right, the most well known example being Jean-Marie Le Pen of France's Front National.

The beliefs of European right-wingers differ markedly from those of the American right, whose ideas are more akin to classical liberalism. The Americans revere the U.S. Constitution and generally advocate liberty and (in most aspects) limited government. In Europe, by contrast, they are anti-American, anti-modernist, nostalgic for the past, often pro-monarchist, and highly nationalistic. They are reviled in the European press as being fascist; this undoubtedly influences Europeans' views of the American Right, which many Europeans think are similar.

Guillaume Faye is a former member of the French New Right (Nouvelle Droite) organization called GRECE. His views, and those of his comrades, most notably Alain de Benoist, are not well known outside Europe. Recognizing this, the translator of this book, which was originally printed in 1998 and finally published in English in 2010, added footnotes to explain the unfamiliar names and organizations.

Faye says the New Right must drop its attachment to the past. He criticizes his colleagues for:

  1. Being reactionary, that is, criticizing the policies of others instead of developing new ones.
  2. Infatuation with the strategy of Gramsci, who said that one must take over the cultural apparatus and convince the public that one's cultural norms are widely shared before one can hope to gain power.
  3. Anti-Americanism.
  4. Multiculturalism, which Faye says leads to an increasingly racist and tribal society.
  5. Being stuffy, unimaginative, defeatist, dogmatic, and nostalgic.

In other words, for being like every other European political faction.

The establishment's attempt to contain dangerous ideas, he writes, sterilizes thought and reflection. But this only makes radical ideas more exciting to young people, who are waiting for something to bite into. The future, Faye says, belongs to those who have things to say and real problems to pose. His ideology is based on what he predicts could happen unless Europe changes course:

  1. Global ethnic warfare—the future of the European peoples is in jeopardy, he says, mainly from Muslim immigrants. Though he could not possibly be unaware of the history of the phrase, Faye advocates “one land, one people” and reconquista, the goal being a unified federal Europe comprised of native Europeans, extending from Brest to Bering: “Eurosiberia.”

  2. He writes that social disintegration in Europe, demographic and economic crises, Islam, pollution, global warming, nuclear proliferation, new diseases, and social chaos in developing countries due to industrialization will create a “convergence of catastrophes.” He advocates an eco-minimalist low carbon footprint lifestyle, a sort of fusion of a traditional Middle Ages lifestyle and high tech culture he calls archeofuturism.

These certainly qualify as radical ideas, but Faye's writing comes across as tone-deaf, humorless, pugnacious, and perhaps, it must be admitted, a tad xenophobic. Nonetheless the issues he raises are built on the fault lines that the European project has created. If Europe falls into crisis, the solutions Faye advocates will have broad appeal.

For Faye, nationalism is to be replaced by pan-Europeanism. He believes France is finished. Within a federal Europe, France would return to what it is deep down: Gaul. His main point of difference with the Left is on immigration, which should be curtailed to make Europe strong.

But they are fighting him every inch of the way. For example, the publisher's photo of him on the back cover, an angry frown on his face, his arm raised to the blackboard as if in a Nazi salute, is clearly intended to scare people away by making him look like a crazy person. Well, maybe he is crazy. But his views, however strange and unappealing to American readers, lie under the surface in Europe. You will never hear them portrayed fairly in the European media. There is something to learn from all ideas—especially dissident ones that challenge your beliefs. In this book, that is what you will get. They need not be adopted, but they must be understood.

dec 13 2014