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Han nævner humanisternes demografiske ‘regeneration’, ikke forskellig fra ‘befolkningsudskiftningen’ (‘Le Grand Replacement’), der afvises som værende en konspirationsteori, af forskere der ikke kan bruge en kugleramme. Illusionsløse Michel Houellebecq kommenterer hos Unherd – The narcissistic fall of France.

‘I look on every side and all I see is darkness.’

I use that quote from Pascal (Pensées, 229) because I am not setting out to assert positive truths nor to defend opinions. I see a situation which — as Pascal writes in his next sentence — ‘offers nothing but cause for doubt and anxiety’.

In asking me to give an opinion on the now celebrated ‘Letter of the Generals,’ UnHerd‘s Will Lloyd rightly notes: ‘What seems most extraordinary about the furore that followed is that so few people questioned the premise of the letter — that France is on the point of collapse.’

There is in France a vague and widespread ambiance of self-flagellation — something that hangs in the air like a gas. Anyone visiting France and watching television cannot help being struck by the obsession of its presenters, journalists, economists, sociologists and assorted specialists: they spend the greater part of their time on air comparing France to other European countries, invariably, with the goal of belittling France.

In general, it is sufficient to point to Germany; but sometimes Germany does not have such a good record so they refer to Scandinavia, the Netherlands and, more rarely, Britain. Whatever the subject may be, it is of course always possible to discover a country that is superior to us; but such an extreme delight in masochism is surprising.

This is just a detail. By far a more important subject, since it is not only a symptom of decline but decline itself — decline in its very essence — is of course demography.

… No, we are not really dealing with a ‘French suicide’ — to evoke the title of Eric Zemmour’s book — but a Western suicide or rather a suicide of modernity, since Asian countries are not spared. What is specifically, authentically French is the awareness of this suicide. But if we consent to set aside for a moment the particular case of France (and really it would be wise to do so), the conclusion becomes crystal clear: the inevitable consequence of what we call progress (at all levels, economic, political, scientific, technological) is self-destruction.

I should mention in passing the Leftist/progressivist/humanist opinion: we are not dealing with a suicide but with a regeneration. Ethnic composition is, admittedly, being modified, but in the essentials everything else remains unchanged: our republic (or rather in Europe, mostly our monarchy) our culture, our values, our ‘Rule of Law,’ all that stuff. I sometimes hear this opinion being defended (though more and more rarely).

The 45% of French people who believe, on the other hand, in impending civil war help to show (and it is almost sweet) that France remains a nation of braggarts.

It takes two to wage war. Are the French going to take up arms to defend their religion? They haven’t had any religion for quite some time; and in any case, their former religion is the sort where you offer your throat to the butcher’s blade.

Would it then be a war to defend their culture, their way of life, their system of values? What exactly are we talking about? And supposing it does exist, is it worth fighting for? Does our ‘civilisation’ really still have something to be proud of?

Europe seems to me to be at a crossroads. Reading Pascal helps me a lot: but, like him, I see ‘nothing but cause for doubt and anxiety’.