Alain de Benoist
|Alain de Benoist|
Alain de Benoist in 2012
December 11, 1943 |
Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France
|Alma mater||University of Paris|
Alain de Benoist (French: [də bənwa]; born 11 December 1943) is a French academic, philosopher, a founder of the Nouvelle Droite (New Right), and head of the French think tank GRECE. Benoist is a critic of neoliberalism, free markets, and egalitarianism.
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 Benoist's work. 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). In 2013 he spoke at a National Policy Institute gathering and gave an interview with American Renaissance. Prior to that, English translations of his books began to be published by Arktos Media.
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, 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 and the Non-conformists of the 1930s.
Against the American liberal idea of a melting pot, Benoist is in favour of separate civilisations and cultures: "I favor a pluralistic world, a pluriversum, which reconstitutes the world around a certain number of great continental blocs. Only the advent of a multipolar world will preserve human and cultural diversity and regulate globalization in a way not exclusively favorable to the interests of a single dominant power. I do not believe in Huntington’s clash-of-civilizations thesis: Civilizations are not unitary or homogeneous blocs and no miracle will turn them into the principal agents of international relations". He opposed Jean-Marie Le Pen (even though many people influenced by Benoist support him), racism and antisemitism. He has opposed Arab immigration to France, while supporting ties with Islamic culture. He favors concepts of "ethnopluralism", in which organic, ethnic cultures and nations must live and develop independently.
He also opposes Christianity as inherently intolerant, theocratic and bent on persecution. He said, "All told, I do not think that one should be pleased by the appearance of Christianity and its development", and goes on to say, "Christianity is not a unitary block. St. Francis of Assisi and Torquemada gave the same Church quite different faces! There is nothing wrong with preferring the former. I have written a book entitled On Being a Pagan, but that has never prevented me from appreciating Catholic authors like Léon Bloy, Charles Péguy, Georges Bernanos, and Gustave Thibon, or from feeling agreement with certain aspects of the social teachings of the Church." He also opposes reconstructivism: "The New Right has never preached a “return” to paganism or a “return” to roots, or a return to anything for that matter. Instead, we wish to go beyond current society, but we wish to envision the future though the lens of a clear consciousness of the past. These two approaches are quite different: recurrence is not synonymous with return! Let us say simply that one can “futurize” the present only by “historicizing” the past."
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." In 1991, he complained that European supporters of the first Gulf War were "collaborators of the American order."
Benoist has devoted an entire book to refuting biological racism (Des animaux et des hommes), and has written three books against racism. His views on racism are thus: “Racism is a theory that postulates, either that qualitative inequalities exist among the races such that one can distinguish generally ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ races, or that the value of an individual is defined entirely by his or her racial belonging, or again that race constitutes the central determining factor in human history. These three postulates may be held together or separately. All three of them are false” (Manifesto). He opposes political violence, saying he is building "a school of thought, not a political movement." 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.
Benoist considers himself both left and right-wing ("I happen to define myself as a “man of right-left,” as a rightist from the left and a leftist from the right, i.e., as an intellectual who simultaneously refers to the ideas of the left and the values of the right."), and throughout his career has continued to adapt and alter his views: 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, although he is also critical of modern liberal-democracy.
Benoist is also a proponent of the idea of integral federalism, in which the nation state is surpassed, giving way to regional identities and a common continental one at once ("What the ND wants is a federal Europe, founded on the principle of subsidiarity and participatory democracy at every level, where the political clearly predominates over the economic, where the financial markets do not rule everything, and where commercial and merchant values are put back in their proper place"). 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.
His critics, such as Thomas Sheehan, argue that Benoist has developed a novel restatement of fascism. 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 fascist ideological elements. Benoist's critics also claim his views recall Nazi attempts to replace German Christianity with its own paganism.
English titles include: – "On being a pagan" (Ultra 2004) – "The problem of democracy" (Arktos 2011) – "Beyond human rights" (Arktos 2011) - "Carl Schmitt Today" (Arktos 2013) – Other titles in english translation forthcoming from Arktos Media.
- 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
- Orientations pour des années décisives, Labyrinthe, 1982
- Fêter Noël. Légendes et Traditions, Atlas-Edena, 1982
- Démocratie : le problème, Labyrinthe, 1985
- 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.
- A big splash from France's new wave from the right The Economist 14 July 1979
- de Benoist, Alain. "Preface: The New Right: Forty Years After". In Sunic, Tomislav. Against Democracy and Equality. ISBN 978-1-907166-25-9.
In contrast, on this side of the Atlantic, a liberal is primarily a spokesman of individualism, a supporter of free trade, and an opponent of the state (and also a supporter of America).
- 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
- Video on YouTube
- The Marcuse factor, Modern Age 22 March 2005
- Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End? CLIO 1 January 1994
- Speaking Terms;Europe's Left And Right Are Too Divided To Even Talk About It Chicago Tribune 13 December 1993.
- Under cover story The Guardian (London) 14 August 1987
- Making hate safe again in Europe: right cultural revolutionaries. The Nation 19 September 1994.
- Intolerance, American-Style;Given This Country's History Of Religious Animosities, Thomas Fleming Writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania) 21 December 1997
- Paris shrugs off Mickey Mouse's cultural imperialism The Independent (London) 12 February 1991
- 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). Retrieved 07-12-2013.
- France;Ideas and bombs The Economist 23 August 1980
- Benoist, Alan de (Summer 2003). "Democracy Revisited: The Ancients and the Moderns" (PDF). The Occidental Quarterly 3 (2): 47–58.
- The disharmonic convergence: the far left and the far right as strange bedfellows,s Whole Earth Review 22 June 1988
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fascism, edited by Roger Griffin (1995), pp. 346–348.
- The Beast Reawakens by Martin A. Lee (1997), pp. 208–213.
- Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890 (1990), edited by Philip Rees, pp. 29–30.
- Rodrigo Agulló, Disidencia Perfecta: La Nueva Derecha y la batalla de las ideas (Barcelona & Madrid: Altera, 2011).
- Andre Béjin & Julien Freund (eds.), Racismes, Antiracismes (Paris: Librairie des Méridiens, 1986).
- 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 978-1-4107-6461-4
- Tomislav Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right (New York: Peter Lang, 1990). ISBN 0-8204-1294-5
- Tomislav Sunic, Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (USA: Book Surge Publishing, 2007).
- Tomislav Sunic, Postmortem Report: Cultural Examinations from Postmodernity - Collected Essays (Shamley Green, UK: The Paligenesis Project, 2010).
- Official website
- The Alain De Benoist Collection
- Archive of articles (scribd.com)
- An English language interview with Alain De Benoist conducted by American Renaissance
- Alain De Benoist speaking on identity at the 2013 National Policy Institute conference