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Alain de Benoist (born 11 December 1943) is a French academic, philosopher,[1] a founder of the Nouvelle Droite (English: New Right) and head of the French think tank GRECE. Benoist is a critic of liberalism, free markets and egalitarianism.[2]

BiographyEdit

Alain de Benoist was born in Saint-Symphorien (now part of Tours, Indre-et-Loire) and attended the Sorbonne. He has studied law, philosophy, sociology, and the history of religions. He is an admirer of Europe and paganism.

Benoist is the editor of two journals: Nouvelle Ecole ("New School") since 1968 and Krisis since 1988. His writings have appeared in Mankind Quarterly, The Scorpion, Tyr, Chronicles, and various newspapers such as Le Figaro. The New Left journal Telos has also published some of Benoist's work, which led to protests from some scholars on the editorial board. In 1978, he received the Grand Prix de l’Essai from the Académie française for his book Vu de droite: Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines (Copernic, 1977). He has published more than 50 books, including On Being a Pagan (Ultra, 2005, ISBN 0-9720292-2-2).

Core ViewsEdit

From being close to French-Algerian movements at the beginning of his writings in 1970, he moved to attacks on globalisation, unrestricted mass immigration and liberalism as being ultimately fatal to the existence of Europe through their divisiveness and internal faults. His influences include Antonio Gramsci,[3] Ernst Jünger, Jean Baudrillard, Helmut Schelsky and Konrad Lorenz.[4]

Against the liberal melting-pot of the US, Benoist is in favour of separate civilisations and cultures. He has written in opposition to Jean-Marie Le Pen, racism and antisemitism.[5] He has opposed Arab immigration in France, while supporting ties with Islamic culture.[6] He favors concepts of "ethnopluralism," in which organic, ethnic cultures and nations must live and develop in separation from one another.[7] He also opposes Christianity as inherently intolerant, theocratic and bent on persecution.[8]

De Benoist has made pointed criticism of the United States: "Better to wear the helmet of a Red Army soldier," he wrote in 1982, "than to live on a diet of hamburgers in Brooklyn."[9] In 1991, he complained that European supporters of the first Gulf War were "collaborators of the American order."[10]

Benoist argues that heredity is dominant in forming an intellectual elite. In addition, he says egalitarianism is destructive because it ruins the superior qualities and genetic aristocracy in the human race.[citation needed] Benoist argues that Europe must return to its pre-Christian roots and uses the Indo-European model, such as Nordic, Celtic, Greek and Roman civilisations,[11] as an alternative to communism and capitalism.[1] "We want to substitute faith for law, mythos for logos... will for pure reason, the image for the concept, and home for exile," he once wrote.[12]

Benoist has said he opposed racism and violence, saying he is building "a school of thought, not a political movement."[13] While he has complained that nations like the United States suffer from "homogenization," due to multiracial industrialization, he has also distanced himself from some of Jean-Marie Le-Pen's views on immigration.[2]

Benoist considers himself, however, neither left nor right-wing, and has recently tried to appear less radical: in his preference for Martin Heidegger over his first influence, Friedrich Nietzsche; his support of multiculturalism rather than disappearance of immigrants' identities (though he does not support immigration itself); his interest in ecology; and a less aggressive view of Christianity. He has said that he hopes to see free-debate and greater popular participation in democracy,[citation needed] although he is also critical of modern democracy.[14]

Benoist also promotes a type of federalism, in which the nation state is surpassed, giving way to regional identities and a common continental one at once. This would be distinct from what he sees as the consumerism and materialism of American society, as well as the bureaucracy and repression of the Soviet Union. This vision looks to a Europe of specific peoples, each with their own cultures and heritages.[15]

His critics, such as Thomas Sheehan, argue that Benoist has developed a novel restatement of fascism.[16] Roger Griffin, using an ideal type definition of fascism which includes "populist ultra-nationalism" and "palingenesis" (heroic rebirth), argues that the Nouvelle Droite draws on such "fascist" ideologues as Armin Mohler and Julius Evola in a way that allows Nouvelle Droite ideologues such as de Benoist to claim a "metapolitical" stance, but which nonetheless has residual "fascistic" ideological elements.[17] Benoist's critics also claim his views recall Nazi attempts to replace German Christianity with its own paganism.[18]

Selected bibliographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 A big splash from France's new wave from the right The Economist 14 July 1979
  2. 2.0 2.1 Trouble on the right; recent gains by the extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen have left conservatives and moderates confused about whether to imitate or attack him; France The Atlantic February 1985
  3. The Marcuse factor, Modern Age 22 March 2005
  4. Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End? CLIO 1 January 1994
  5. Speaking Terms;Europe's Left And Right Are Too Divided To Even Talk About It Chicago Tribune 13 December 1993.
  6. Under cover story The Guardian (London) 14 August 1987
  7. Making hate safe again in Europe: right cultural revolutionaries. The Nation 19 September 1994.
  8. Intolerance, American-Style;Given This Country's History Of Religious Animosities, Thomas Fleming Writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania) 21 December 1997
  9. Paris shrugs off Mickey Mouse's cultural imperialism The Independent (London) 12 February 1991
  10. FRENCH REVIVE A PASTIME: FRETTING ABOUT U.S. 'IMPERIALISM'; REACTION: TALK OF 'SECRET AGENDAS' SURFACES ON THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT. SOME CHAFE AT THEIR COUNTRY'S SECONDARY ROLE IN THE GULF. OTHERS WORRY ABOUT DIMINISHED EUROPEAN INFLUENCE. Los Angeles Times 15 February 1991.
  11. France's new right in search of old European roots The Economist 1 September 1979
  12. Russia's bad dream;Zhirinovsky's fascism is not an isolated phenomenon The Boston Globe 19 December 1993
  13. France;Ideas and bombs The Economist 23 August 1980
  14. Benoist, Alan de (Summer 2003). "Democracy Revisited: The Ancients and the Moderns" (PDF). The Occidental Quarterly 3 (2): 47–58. http://www.toqonline.com/archives/v3n2/TOQv3n2Benoist.pdf. 
  15. The disharmonic convergence: the far left and the far right as strange bedfellows,s Whole Earth Review 22 June 1988
  16. Sheehan, Thomas (Spring 1981). "Myth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist". Social Research 48 (1): 45–73. "Pages 66–67: To summarize: De Benoist's fascism is at odds with Evola's metaphysics but agrees with his social and political philosophy.... [F]or de Benoist, the organic State is an ideal that men can set for themselves and perhaps, with force, establish.". 
  17. Griffin, Roger (2000). "Between metapolitics and apoliteia: the Nouvelle Droite's strategy for conserving the fascist vision in the 'interregnum'". Modern & Contemporary France 8 (1): 35–53. doi:10.1080/096394800113349. 
  18. Sunic, Tomislav (Winter 1995). "Marx, Moses, and the Pagans in the Secular City". CLIO 24 (2): 169–188. "In the age that is heavily laced with the Biblical message, many modern pagan thinkers, for their criticism of biblical monotheism, have been attacked and stigmatized either as unrepentant atheists or as spiritual standard-bearers of fascism. Particularly Nietzsche, Heidegger, and more recently Alain de Benoist came under attack for allegedly espousing the philosophy which, for their contemporary detractors, recalled the earlier national socialist attempts to "dechristianize" and "repaganize" Germany. See notably the works by Alfred Rosenberg, Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts(München: Hoheneichen Verlag, 1933). Also worth noting is the name of Wilhelm Hauer, Deutscher Gottschau (Stuttgart: Karl Gutbrod, 1934), who significantly popularized Indo-European mythology among national socialists: on pages 240–54 Hauer discusses the difference between Judeo-Christian Semitic beliefs and European paganism.". 


Further readingEdit

  • Jonathan Marcus, The National Front and French Politics, New York: New York University Press, 1995, pp. 22–4, 151.
  • Michael O'Meara, New Culture, New Right Anti-liberalism In Postmodern Europe (2004). ISBN: 9781410764614
  • Tomislav Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right (New York: Peter Lang, 1990). ISBN 0-8204-1294-5

External linksEdit

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