Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Michel Houellebecq on Tocqueville:
I want to imagine under what new features despotism could present itself to the world; I see an innumerable crowd of similar and equal men who spin around restlessly, in order to gain small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn apart, is like a stranger to the destiny of all the others; his children and his particular friends form for him the entire human species;g as for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he is next to them, but he does not see them; he touches them without feeling them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone, and if he still has a family, you can say that at least he no longer has a homeland.
Above those men arises an immense and tutelary power that alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyment and of looking after their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-sighted and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like it, it had as a goal to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary it seeks only to fix them irrevocably in childhood; it likes the citizens to enjoy themselves, provided that they think only about enjoying themselves. It works willingly for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent for it and the sole arbiter; it attends to their security, provides for their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, settles their estates, divides their inheritances; how can it not remove entirely from them the trouble to think and the difficulty of living?
This was published in 1840, in the second part of Democracy in America. I found it breathtaking. In terms of ideas, this own passage contains the whole of my work. I’d only add one thing: the individual in Toqueville at least has a friend and a family; in my universe he doesn’t anymore. So the process of atomization that he described has reached it’s final conclusion.
This passage also contains almost all of the work of Phillippe Muray. Phillippe only added one thing: that that power he described isn’t a fatherly power. He sees it as motherly power. And so the modernity announced by Muray implies the comeback of the matriarchy, in a new form, formed by the state. So the state keeps the people in a perpetual state of infancy; and the first enemy that modern society attempts to crush is virility itself.
In this sense, the evolution of France since Muray’s death [in 2006], and in particular since the socialists won the presidency, have confirmed his prophecies to an amazing degree. So much that even himself would have been surprised by, for example, the fact that France was after Sweden the second country in Europe to criminalize prostitution. I think he would have had trouble understanding it.
If I tell you my opinion, I believe that banning prostitution amounts to abolishing one of the fundamental pillars of society. It means making marriage impossible. Without prostitution as a corrective, marriage collapses, family collapses too, and then society for demographic reasons. And so banning prostitution is simply one aspect of the European suicide.
So as things stand now we can predict a great future with a rather ancient formula, which comes from the Middle Ages, the 7th century. Salafist Islam. It’s true that right now the events aren’t quite agreeing with me. But I stand by my prophecy. Because jihadism will end, people always end up tiring of carnage and suicide. The proliferation of Islam is only on its early phases, because demographics are on its side. And Europe, by not defending itself, has a suicidal attitude. And we mustn’t think it will be a slow suicide. With a fertility rate of 1.3 or 1.4, it will happen very quickly.
Given the circumstances, I think all those debates that French intellectuals are having on secularism, Islam, etc. are all completely pointless. For they ignore the only relevant factor, which is the present state of the couple and the family.
Posted by defconquell at 6:49 PM