Alain de Benoist

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Alain de Benoist
20110402 De Benoist.png
Alain de Benoist in 2012
Born (1943-12-11) 11 December 1943 (age 75)
Alma materUniversity of Paris
SchoolNouvelle Droite
Notable ideas
Modernization and secularization of Christian Values, Repaganization of the West, Pensée unique, Nouvelle Droite, Ethnopluralism

Alain de Benoist de Gentissart (/də bəˈnwɑː/; French: [də bənwa]; born 11 December 1943), also known as Fabrice Laroche, Robert de Herte and other aliases,[1] is a French journalist and essayist, a founder of the Nouvelle Droite ("New Right"), and head of the ethno-nationalist think tank GRECE.

Principally influenced by thinkers of the German Conservative Revolution,[2] Benoist is opposed to Christianity, the rights of man, neoliberalism, representative democracy, egalitarianism; and what he sees as embodying and promoting those values, namely the United States.[3][4][5]

His work has been influential with the alt-right movement in the United States, and he presented a lecture on identity at a National Policy Institute conference hosted by Richard B. Spencer; however, he has distanced himself from the movement.[6][7]


Early life: 1943–1961[edit]

Coat of arms of House de Benoist

Alain de Benoist de Gentissart[8] was born on 11 December 1943 in Saint-Symphorien (now part of Tours), Centre-Val de Loire,[9] the son of a head of sales at Guerlain, also named Alain de Benoist (1902-1971), and Germaine Langouët (1908-1981).[10][8] His father alledgelly belonged to the Belgian nobility, while his mother came from the lower-middle class of Normandy and Britanny.[1] During WWII, De Benoist's father was a member of the resistance armed group French Forces of the Interior,[10] and the family divided between Free France and Vichy France.[11]

De Benoist was still in high school at Lycée Montaigne and Louis-le-Grand during the turmoils of the Algerian war (1954-1962),[12] which shaped his political views.[1] In 1957 at 14, he met the daughter of the antisemite journalist and conspiracy theorist Henry Coston, and began his journalist career three years later by writing for Henry Coston's magazine, Lectures Françaises.[10][13] De Benoist however stayed away from Coston’s conspiracy theories on the Freemasonry and the Jews.[1]

At 17 in 1961, he met François d'Orcival, with whom he became the editor of an underground newspaper for the pro-colonial paramilitary organisation OAS, titled France Information.[14] The same year, he joined the student society Federation of Nationalist Students (FEN) and became in 1962 the secretary of the organization's magazine, Cahiers universitaires, in which he wrote the main articles along with D'Orcival.[10][15]

Radical political activism: 1962–1967[edit]

De Benoist met Dominique Venner in 1962.[10] The following year, he took part in the creation of Europe-Action, a nationalist magazine created by Venner in which De Benoist worked as a journalist.[11] He published at that times his first essays: Salan devant l'opinion ("Salan faces the (public) opinion", 1963) and Le courage est leur patrie ("Braveness is their motherland", 1965), defending French Algeria and the OAS.[10][11]

Between 1963 and 1965, De Benoist was a member of the Rationalist Union and likely began to read Louis Rougier's criticism of Christianity—who was also an adherent of the organization—during this period. Rougier's thesis deeply influenced De Benoist's own anti-Christianity.[16] The latter continued his journalistic career and became in 1964 the editor-in-chief of the weekly publication Europe-Action Hebdomaire,[17] holding the same position at L'Observateur Européen from 1964 to 1968.[18]

After a visit to South Africa at the invitation of Hendrik Verwoerd's National Party government, De Benoist co-wrote with Gilles Fournier the 1965 essay Vérité pour l'Afrique du Sud ("Truth for South Africa"), in which they endorsed apartheid as the "last outpost of the West" at a time of "decolonisation and international negrification".[19] The following year, he co-wrote with D'Orcival another essay, Rhodésie, pays des lions fidèles ("Rhodesia, country of the faithful lions", 1966), in defense Rhodesia, a breakaway country in southern Africa ruled by a white-minority government. The then prime minister of the unrecognised state, Ian Smith, prefaced the book.[13] Returning from a trip to the United States, De Benoist deplored the suppression of racial segregation and wrote as a prediction that the system would survive outside the law, thus in a more violent way.[19][20]

In two essays published in 1966, Les Indo-Européens ("The Indo-Europeans") and Qu'est-ce que le nationalisme? ("What is nationalism?"), De Benoist contributed to define a new European nationalism where the European civilization—or the "white race"—[18] would be considered above its constituting ethnic groups, all united in a common empire and civilization including Russia. This theory was embodied in the program of the European Rally for Liberty (REL)—in which De Benoist was a member of the national council—during the 1967 legislative election, and later by the GRECE in 1968.[21]

The repeting electoral failures of far-right movements—from that of presidential candidate Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour in 1965, who De Benoist had supported via the "T.V. Committees", to the debacle of the REL in March 1967,—led De Benoist to question his political involvement and focus on a meta-political strategy. According to him, he decided in the fall of 1967 “to make a permanent and complete break with political action” and to launch a review.[22] [21]

Nouvelle Droite and media fame: 1968–1993[edit]

Along with militants of the REL and FEN, De Benoist founded in 1968 the GRECE, an ethnonationalist think-tank, of which he soon became the leader and its "most authoritative spokesman".[23][24] In the 1970s, De Benoist adapted his geopolitical view-points, from a pro-colonial attitude towards third-Worldism;[11] from the defense of the "last outposts of the West" towards anti-americanism;[25] and from a biological to a cultural definition of "difference", developed in his ethnopluralist theories.[26]

His works, along with others published by the think tank, led what media called the "Nouvelle Droite" to fame in the late 1970s.[27] De Benoist became critic for mainstream right-wing magazines, namely Valeurs Actuelles (from 1970 to 1982) and Le Figaro Magazine (from 1977 to 1992),[28] and received in 1978 the Prix de l'essai from the Académie française for his book Vu de droite: Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines, sold 30,000 copies.[29]

While he had abandoned political parties and elections from 1968 onward to focus on meta-politics,[14][30] De Benoist was nonetheless a candidate in a far-right micro-party (Party of New Forces) during the 1979 European elections.[31] In the 1984 election to the European Parliament, he announced his intention to vote for the French Communist Party, and justified his choice by defining the party as the most credible anti-capitalist, anti-liberal, and anti-American political force then active in France.[32]

Intellectual re-emergence: 1994–present[edit]

In 1979 and 1993, two press campaigns launched in French liberal media claiming that De Benoist was a "closet Fascist" or a "Nazi" damaged his reputation and influence in France. They accused him of hiding his racist and anti-egalitarian beliefs in a seemingly acceptable way, by replacing the hierarchy of races with "ethno-pluralism".[1] In the early 1990s, although he still frequently comments on politics, De Benoist chose to focus on his intellectual activity and avoid media attention.[1]

Since the 2000s onward however, public interest for his works have re-emerged:[9] he has made several media appearances in France Culture, Europe 1, Telemadrid, Radio Courtoisie or Il Giornale, and his writings have been published in several academic journals like the New Left Telos, the white nationalist[33] Mankind Quarterly, the paleoconservative Chronicles, the nationalist Occidental Quarterly and the radical traditionnalist Tyr.[34][35]

In a 2002 republication of Vu de droite, De Benoist reiterated what he wrote in 1977: the “greatest” danger in the world today was the “progressive disappearance of diversity from the world," including biodiversity of animals, cultures and peoples.[9] De Benoist is now the editor of two journals: Nouvelle École (since 1968), and Krisis (since 1988).[36]

Although the extent of the relationship is debated by scholars, De Benoist and the Nouvelle Droite have influenced the ideological and political structure of the European Identitarian Movement.[37][38] Part of the alt-right also claims to have been inspired by De Benoist's writings.[37]


From being close to pro-colonial movements and biology-inspired racialism at the beginning of his writings in the 1960s, he gradually moved towards a defense of the Third-World against American imperialism and a more cultural definition of "difference", theorized in his concept of ethno-pluralism. De Benoist is also an ardent critic of globalisation, unrestricted mass immigration, liberalism, postmodern society and what he calls the “ideology of sameness.”[26][1][11] Scholars question if this evolution in De Benoist's concepts should be considered a sincere ideological detachment from a far-right activist youth,[39] or rather a meta-political strategy to reshape unegalitarian ideas into acceptable differentialist terms.[40][41]

Political scientist Jean-Yves Camus describes the key idea of De Benoist's writings in these terms: "through the use of meta-politics, to think the ways and means that are necessary in order for European civilization, based on the cultural values shared on the continent until the advent of globalization, to thrive and be perpetuated."[42] Though he embodies the core values of the GRECE and the Nouvelle Droite, De Benoist’s works are not always identical to those of other thinkers of the movements. He for instance disavowed Guillaume Faye's “strongly racist” ideas regarding Muslims after the publication of The Colonization of Europe: Speaking Truth about Immigration and Islam in 2000.[42]

De Benoist's influences include Antonio Gramsci,[43] Ernst Jünger, Jean Baudrillard, Georges Dumézil, Ernest Renan, José Ortega y Gasset, Vilfredo Pareto, Guy Debord, Arnold Gehlen, Stéphane Lupasco, Helmut Schelsky, Konrad Lorenz, the German Conservative Revolutionary movement, the non-conformists of the 1930s,[44] Johann Gottfried Herder, and communitarian philosophers such as Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor.[45]


While he has complained that nations like the United States suffer from "homogenization," he has also distanced himself from some of Jean-Marie Le-Pen's views on immigration.[4] He opposed Le Pen (even though many people influenced by de Benoist support him), racism and antisemitism.[46] De Benoist favors "ethnopluralism", in which organic, ethnic cultures and nations must live and develop independently;[47] and has opposed Arab immigration to France, while supporting ties with Islamic culture.[48]

De Benoist rejects the nation state and nationalism, claiming that the French Republic has destroyed regional identities in the project of “one and indivisible” France.[9] He is a proponent of the idea of integral federalism that would transcend the nation state, giving way to regional identities and a common continental one at once.[49] 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.[50] He also opposes reconstructivism.[51]

Liberalism and the United States[edit]

Critical of modern liberal-democracy,[52] he opposes political violence, saying he is building "a school of thought, not a political movement."[53] De Benoist is opposed to the American liberal idea of a melting pot.[54]

De Benoist is a critic of the United States; He has been quoted as saying "Some people do not resign themselves to the thought of having to wear one day the Red Army cap. In fact, it is a terrible prospect. However, we cannot bear the thought of one day having to spend the rest of our life living on a diet of hamburgers in Broolyn's surroundings".[55][56] In 1991, he complained that European supporters of the first Gulf War were "collaborators of the American order."[57]

Paganism and Christianity[edit]

He also opposes Christianity as inherently intolerant, theocratic and bent on persecution.[58]


His critics, such as Thomas Sheehan, argue that de Benoist has developed a novel restatement of fascism.[59] 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 in a way that allows Nouvelle Droite ideologues such as de Benoist to claim a "metapolitical" stance, but which nonetheless has residual fascist ideological elements.[60] Benoist's critics also claim his views recall Nazi attempts to replace German Christianity with its own paganism.[61] They note that Benoist's rejection of the French Revolution's legacy and the allegedly "abstract" Rights of Man ties him to the same Counter-Enlightenment right-wing tradition as counter-revolutionary Legitimists, fascists, Vichyites and integral nationalists.[62]

Private life[edit]

A neo-pagan,[63] Benoist married Doris Christians in 1971 and has two children.[64] He is a member of the high IQ society Mensa[65] and owns the largest private library in France,[66] with an estimate of 150,000[67] to 250,000 books.[1]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • Salan devant l'opinion (sous le pseudonyme de Fabrice Laroche) (Saint-Just, 1963).
  • Les Indo-Européens (G.E.D., 1966).
  • L'Empirisme logique et la Philosophie du Cercle de Vienne (Nouvelle École, 1970).
  • Nietzsche: Morale et « Grande Politique » (GRECE, 1973).
  • Konrad Lorenz et l'Éthologie moderne (Nouvelle École, 1975).
  • Vu de droite. Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines (Copernic, 1977). (grand prix de l'essai de l'Académie française 1978)
  • Les Bretons (Les Cahiers de la Bretagne réelle, n°396 bis, 1978).
  • Les Idées à l'endroit (Libres-Hallier, 1978).
  • Le Guide pratique des prénoms (« Robert de Herte » et [sic] Alain de Benoist), coll. « Hors-série d'“Enfants-Magazine” » (Publications Groupe Média, 1979).
  • Comment peut-on être païen ? (Albin Michel, 1981).
  • Les Traditions d'Europe (Paris: Labyrinthe, 1982).
  • Orientations pour des années décisives (Labyrinthe, 1982).
  • Fêter Noël. Légendes et Traditions (Atlas-Edena, 1982).
  • Démocratie : le problème (Labyrinthe, 1985)
  • (in collaboration with Andre Béjin & Julien Freund) Racismes, Antiracismes (Paris: Librairie des Méridiens, 1986)
  • (with Thomas Molnar) L'éclipse du sacré: discours et résponses (Paris: Table ronde, 1986)
  • Europe, Tiers monde, même combat (Robert Laffont, 1986).
  • Le Grain de sable. Jalons pour une fin de siècle (Labyrinthe, 1994).
  • Nationalisme : Phénoménologie et Critique (GRECE, 1994).
  • Démocratie représentative et Démocratie participative (GRECE, 1994).
  • Nietzsche et la Révolution conservatrice (GRECE, 1994).
  • L'Empire intérieur (Fata Morgana, 1995).
  • La Ligne de mire. Discours aux citoyens européens, t. 1 : 1972–1987 (Labyrinthe, 1995).
  • Famille et Société. Origine, Histoire, Actualité (Labyrinthe, 1996).
  • La Ligne de mire. Discours aux citoyens européens, t. 2 : 1988–1995 (Labyrinthe, 1996).
  • Céline et l'Allemagne, 1933–1945. Une mise au point (Le Bulletin célinien, 1996).
  • Horizon 2000. Trois entretiens avec Alain de Benoist (GRECE, 1996).
  • La Légende de Clovis (Cercle Ernest Renan, 1996).
  • Indo-Européens : à la recherche du foyer d'origine (Nouvelle École, 1997).
  • Ernst Jünger. Une bio-bibliographie (Guy Trédaniel, 1997).
  • Communisme et Nazisme. 25 réflexions sur le totalitarisme au XXe siècle (Labyrinthe, 1998).
  • L'Écume et les Galets. 1991–1999 : dix ans d'actualité vue d'ailleurs (Labyrinthe, 2000).
  • Jésus sous l'œil critique des historiens (Cercle Ernest Renan, 2000).
  • Bibliographie d'Henri Béraud (Association rétaise des Amis d'Henri Béraud, 2000).
  • Dernière Année. Notes pour conclure le siècle (L'Âge d'Homme, 2001).
  • Jésus et ses Frères (Cercle Ernest Renan, 2001).
  • Louis Rougier. Sa vie, son œuvre (Cercle Ernest Renan, 2002).
  • Charles Maurras et l'Action française. Une bibliographie, BCM, 2002
  • Qu'est-ce qu'un militant ? (sous le pseudonyme de Fabrice Laroche, réédition d'un article paru en 1963) (Ars Magna, 2003).
  • Critiques-Théoriques (L'Âge d'Homme, 2003).
  • Au-delà des droits de l'homme. Pour défendre les libertés (éditions Krisis, 2004).
  • Bibliographie générale des droites françaises. 1, Arthur de Gobineau, Gustave Le Bon, Édouard Drumont, Maurice Barrès, Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, Henry de Montherlant, Thierry Maulnier, Julien Freund (Éditions Dualpha, coll. « Patrimoine des lettres », Coulommiers, 2004), 609 p.
  • Bibliographie générale des droites françaises. 2, Georges Sorel, Charles Maurras, Georges Valois, Abel Bonnard, Henri Béraud, Louis Rougier, Lucien Rebatet, Robert Brasillach (Éditions Dualpha, coll. « Patrimoine des lettres », Coulommiers, 2004), 472 p.
  • Bibliographie générale des droites françaises. 3, Louis de Bonald, Alexis de Tocqueville, Georges Vacher de Lapouge, Léon Daudet, Jacques Bainville, René Benjamin, Henri Massis, Georges Bernanos, Maurice Bardèche, Jean Cau (Éditions Dualpha, coll. « Patrimoine des lettres », Coulommiers, 2005), 648 p.
  • Bibliographie générale des droites françaises. 4, Joseph de Maistre, Ernest Renan, Jules Soury, Charles Péguy, Alphonse de Chateaubriant, Jacques Benoist-Méchin, Gustave Thibon, Saint-Loup (Marc Augier), Louis Pauwels (Éditions Dualpha, coll. « Patrimoine des lettres », Coulommiers, 2005), 736 p.
  • Jésus et ses Frères, et autres écrits sur le christianisme, le paganisme et la religion (éditions Les Amis d'Alain de Benoist, 2006).
  • C'est-à-dire. Entretiens-Témoignages-Explications (2 volumes) (éditions Les Amis d'Alain de Benoist, 2006).
  • Nous et les autres. Problématique de l'identité (éditions Krisis, 2006).
  • Carl Schmitt actuel (éditions Krisis, 2007).
  • Demain, la décroissance ! Penser l'écologie jusqu'au bout (Edite, 2007).
  • Dictionnaire des prénoms : d'hier et d'aujourd'hui, d'ici et d'ailleurs (Jean Picollec, 2009).
  • Mémoire vive / Entretiens avec François Bousquet (Éditions de Fallois, Collection « Littérature », 2 mai 2012).
  • Edouard Berth ou le socialisme héroïque. Sorel, Maurras, Lenine (Pardès, 2013).
  • Les Démons du Bien, Du nouvel ordre moral à l'idéologie du genre (Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2013).


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  40. ^ Bar-On, Tamir (2014). "A Response to Alain de Benoist". Journal for the Study of Radicalism. 8 (2): 123–168. doi:10.14321/jstudradi.8.2.0123. ISSN 1930-1189.
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  42. ^ a b Sedgwick, Mark (8 January 2019). Key Thinkers of the Radical Right: Behind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy. Oxford University Press. pp. 75–76. ISBN 9780190877613.
  43. ^ ″The Marcuse factor″, Modern Age, 22 March 2005.
  44. ^ ″Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End?″, CLIO, 1 January 1994.
  45. ^ Hellman, John (2002). Communitarian Third Way: Alexandre Marc and Ordre Nouveau, 1930-2000. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 196.
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  51. ^ Interview on Christianity by Alain de Benoist
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  53. ^ France;Ideas and bombs The Economist 23 August 1980
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  56. ^ De Benoist, Alain (1982). Orientations pour des années décisives. Paris: Labyrinthe. p. 76. Certains ne se résignent pas à la pensée d’avoir un jour à porter la casquette de l’Armée rouge. De fait, c’est une perspective affreuse. Nous ne pouvons pas, pour autant, supporter l’idée d’avoir un jour à passer ce qui nous reste à vivre en mangeant des hamburgers du côté de Brooklyn.
  57. ^ Rone Tempest, "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.
  58. ^ Intolerance, American-Style;Given This Country's History Of Religious Animosities, Thomas Fleming Writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania) 21 December 1997
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  60. ^ 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.
  61. ^ 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.
  62. ^ Backes, Uwe; Moreau, Patrick (2011). The Extreme Right in Europe: Current Trends and Perspectives. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 335.
  63. ^ de Halleux, André (1992). "Démètre Théraios (éd.), Quelle religion pour l'Europe ? Un débat sur l'identité religieuse des peuples européens. 1990". Revue Théologique de Louvain. 23 (2): 255–256.
  64. ^ "Alain de Benoist - Who's Who". (in French). Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  65. ^ "Pierre-André Taguieff, L'Héritage nazi. Des Nouvelles Droites européennes à la littérature niant le génocide". Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  66. ^ "Alain de Benoist". France Culture (in French). Retrieved 31 July 2019. Il a la plus grande bibliothèque privée de France qui compte plus de cent cinquante mille ouvrages.
  67. ^; Boughezala, Daoud (6 May 2012). "Alain de Benoist : un intellectuel aux antipodes". Causeur (in French). Retrieved 31 July 2019.


Further reading[edit]

  • Jonathan Marcus, The National Front and French Politics, New York: New York University Press, 1995, pp. 22–4, 151.

External links[edit]