Guillaume Faye on the Future of European Identity

Guillaume Faye, who was very influential upon the identitarian movement, passed away last week on March 7, 2019. He was born in 1949 and received a PhD in Political Science from the Institut d’etudes politiques de Paris, afterward becoming one of the principal organisers of the French New Right organisation GRECE (Groupement de recherche et d’etudes pour la civilisation europeenne) during the 1970s and 1980s.

At the same time, Faye cultivated his career as a journalist, particularly in the news magazines Figaro and Paris-Match. In 1986, he left GRECE after he came to disagree with the direction of the group, which he felt was becoming overly academic and less engaged with the actual problems confronting Europe. Primarily, he rejected the communitarian and pro-Third World ideology propagated by his former GRECE colleagues.

The following are excerpts of a conversation that took place in Paris in July 2018 between Faye and Grégoire Canlorbe, relating to the European identity.

Grégoire Canlorbe: In the face of the colonization of European soil by foreign races, you suggest that, instead of a return to the 19th century’s centralized nation-states, which sank into cosmopolitanism, we should promote the establishment of an imperial and ethnically homogenous Europe. Could you explain your argument?

Guillaume Faye: It cannot be denied that nationalist and xenophobic ideologies, which emerged in the 19th century, bear a heavy responsibility for the two World Wars and the historic deterioration of Europe. Everywhere, from France to Poland, from Germany to Britain, and from Russia to the Balkans, they have continued to be the driving force behind inter-European clashes—and therefore behind Europe’s global weakening in the face of African and Asian peoples who are gradually colonizing European soil, while Islam strives to conquer the West.

On the other hand, Europe would provide an ideal frame in which to constitute an empire, for it would include all Europeans, in their diversity and their unity. To this end, rooting oneself in a regional or national identity must reflect a stronger sense of European belonging and not a return to the 19th century’s nationalism. It is encouraging to see that when designing their future independence, several Corsican, Breton, Flemish, and Lombard separatists have understood that their future freedom can only be achieved in a federal and imperial context.

One of the first to have brewed the disastrous intra-European nationalism in the late 18th century was the Prussian linguist Johann Gottfried Herder, who rebelled against the use of French as practiced by the European elites and who invented the doubtful concept of Sprache und Boden (“Language and soil”), whereby each “nation” was to speak only “its” language. This German linguistic nationalism was the virus that poisoned the whole of Europe, along of course with French Jacobin cosmopolitanism and ultramarine British imperialism.

The idea that each nation-state should have its exclusive language caught on in the 19th century, when European nation-states were formed based on the model of the French Revolution. This prompted the French Republic to prohibit the use of local languages in both its colonies and in its provinces, to the sole benefit of the French language. In opposition to the very idea of an empire in which identities overlap unevenly, governments began to view Europe as a juxtaposition of mechanically compartmentalized nations whose homogeneous languages and cultures did not extend beyond their borders.

Every nation-state began to reconstruct its past and history in a mythological manner. However universalist and cosmopolitan it may be, France invented its own Celtic past—a Gaulish and anti-German one—claiming enlightenment and a mental finesse in contrast to the alleged tribal barbarism of the peoples beyond the Rhine. Under successive regimes, the German government strived to “deromanise” itself and used every means available to construct a German mythology composed of an incredibly confusing mixture of Medieval Holy Roman Empire elements and Nordic legends. Suddenly, the Italian state declared itself heir to the Caesars. The Belgian state invented all sorts of ridiculous legitimacies to suit its needs. And so forth.

It is French nationalism that caused the ultimate disaster from 1914 to 1918, that is, the arrival of colonial troops from Africa and Asia—supported by the US military—to fight the fellow Europeans against which France was engaged. Europe’s ethnic solidarity was destroyed. Francis I [or France] had already committed the same blunder when he allied himself with the Ottoman Suleiman the Magnificent against Austria.

The French colonial dream formulated in the 1930s, that of a France comprising 100 million inhabitants and abandoning its European anthropological composition by necessity—a France that would defeat Germany—represents another factor that contributed to the weakening of the European identity. Today, we are paying a heavy price for the colonialist and “civilizing” French doctrine of the 19th century, which aimed in a most stupid fashion at strengthening French nationalism against European neighbors, while deepening ties with nations overseas.

Unlike with the centralizing model of the 19th century’s nation-state, the imperial model involves an overlapping of various communities that is achieved in a vivid (and not mechanically administrative) fashion. The communities may be granted freedoms and abide by particular laws under the leadership of a strong but decentralized state. This conception aims to defend the ethnic identity of European peoples—both against the current colonization of Europe at the hands of the Third World, and against the centralism of nation-states that eradicates all particularisms, and which proclaims a multiracial nationality negating European identity.

This vision is a plural one, yet remains ethnically rooted. The empire is not a “nation-state,” both cosmopolitan and centralized, but an ensemble of free nations ethnically, culturally, and historically related, federated in a great continental empire. In this sense, the empire is a decentralized federation, equipped with a strong central power yet restricted to certain specific domains and regulated according to principles of subsidiarity: as such, this power addresses the domains of foreign policy, border control, general economic and ecological rules, etc.

The imperial principle is not one of homogenization; its various components are autonomous and can be organized in different ways, according to their own internal policies (regarding justice, institutions, fiscal autonomy, education, language, culture, etc.). The empire maintains the ensemble’s unity and the general civilizational project—but it’s not to be seen as a fluid, confederated association, totally heterogeneous, open to the entire world. A discipline of the whole is necessary, to imbue it with a firm, central, clear direction. In this sense, the present European Union, this will-less administrative aggregate, is far from representing the European imperial idea.

The national (or regional) components of the empire would be imbued with a “probationary freedom” that accepts the “grand policy” of the ensemble and the sovereignty of its central power, but this power, in exchange, would concede their specific identities, accepting that each nation or region, in conserving its freedom, has the right to leave the Federation at any moment. To realize a future “Eurosiberian Empire,” including Russia, Europeans will have to decide if the federation is going to be based on the nation-state or the historic region. But whatever their response, the idea of imperial Federation seems, in the end, the sole way by which Europe will be saved.

Grégoire Canlorbe: In Western Europe and North America, the development of capitalism and democratic institutions—first and foremost universal suffrage—has been accompanied by the emergence of what Vilfredo Pareto called the humanitarian-democratic religion. In other words, political beliefs about the form of government, and the material beliefs about how one should make a living have undergone an evolution that have gone along with that of cosmological beliefs about how we should live.

Vilfredo Pareto summed up the humanitarian-democratic religion: a “morbid pity” that bears the name of humanitarianism; disdain for honest workers (in the broad sense), subversion of justice for the benefit of murderers, thieves, and parasites, a cult of redistribution and assistantship that culminates in socialism; and finally, the tolerance and approval of the “mores of bad women” that bears the name of hard feminism.

However, the fate of the pioneer democracies of the West doesn’t look universal: it seems to be possible to have democracy (on a strictly political level) without the humanitarian-democratic religion. Indeed, Russia, but also Eastern-Europeans countries, Thailand, India, or Israel, are not affected by the secularization that has allowed democracy to take the place of religion, to become a new religion. They have retained their traditional cosmological beliefs while evolving in their political and material beliefs, that is to say, in the directions of their democracy and capitalism.

How do you explain these divergent trajectories?

Guillaume Faye: These three symptoms all boil down to a process of devirilization—by which I mean the decline of the values of courage and virility for the sake of feminist, xenophile, homophile, and humanitarian values. The dominant Western ideology, which Vilfredo Pareto called the humanitarian-democratic religion, fosters this devirilization of Europeans, though it doesn’t touch the alien colonizers. Homophilia, like the feminist fashion of false liberation, the ideological rejection of large families for the sake of the unstable nuclear couple, the declining birth rate, the preference of photographers for the African and the Arab, the constant justification of miscegenation, the denigration of warrior values, hatred of every powerful, forceful form of aesthetics, as well as the prevailing lack of courage, are some of the present characteristics of this devirilization.

Confronted by Islam’s conquering virility, the European feels morally disarmed and confused. The prevailing conception of the world—whether it comes from the legislature, public education, the Church, or the media—is deployed to stigmatize every notion of virility, which is associated with “fascist brutality.” Devirilization has become a sign of civilization, of refined mores, the paradoxical discourse of a society, half of which is sinking into violence and primitivism. Devirilization is linked to narcissistic individualism and the loss of communal identity, which paralyzes all reaction to the assaults of immigrant colonizers and the forces of collaboration. This also explains the feeble repression of immigrant delinquency, the absence of European ethnic solidarity, and the pathological “fears” haunting Europeans.

As far as I am concerned, Russia is an authentically democratic country—in any case, far more democratic than France, where the people are solicited to express their views on less than significant matters, but never on issues such as family reunification or the number of immigrants accepted in a given year. A few months ago, President Putin was re-elected with more than 70 percent of votes, which was not the case for Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the 2017 presidential election. As for knowing how Russia—which I believe to be far more democratic than any Western European country—has managed to adopt democracy on a strictly political level, while escaping the “humanitarian-democratic religion,” there is, first of all, the fact that Soviet communism stood in the way of the virus of the French revolution. It proved a bulwark against the cosmopolitan, humanitarian, and feminist conceptions stemming from 1789.

Another factor to be considered is the religious tradition of Russia. To some extent, Russia and East European countries have escaped from the influence of the moral masochism of Christianity, due to the schism between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Church, which lead the latter to reject the devirilizing and cosmopolitan discourse of the former. Ultimately, the humanitarian-democratic religion of 1789 is only a culmination of the Catholic Church’s discourse. This is how countries whose religious tradition differs from Catholicism—including Orthodox-Slavic Russia, but also Buddhist Thailand for instance—have been able to democratize themselves politically speaking, without the humanitarian-democratic virus contaminating what you call their “cosmological beliefs.”

Grégoire Canlorbe: The class struggle between labor and capital was described by Vilfredo Pareto, and above all Piero Gobetti, as an internal spring of capitalism: an infallible instrument of the recomposition of industrial elites. How do you judge this idea?

Guillaume Faye: In fact, the preeminent form of the class struggle today is no more the struggle between capitalists and proletarians, but rather one opposing both migrants and the urban middle class bourgeoisie—whose eminent representative is Macron—to the native ordinary people. The struggle between labor and capital—in the sense of a reshaping of bourgeoisie with elements from the proletarian class—has certainly been a motor of capitalism, but this is only a particular case of the driving role played by the class struggle in any society or economic system. The circulation of elites was constant in the history of Romans.

On the condition that it takes place properly, and that it happens within the same race, a same biological people, the class struggle is something extremely positive. When the class struggle ceases, there occurs a general anesthesia: everyone starts behaving as a public employee, and indulging in laziness instead of searching to earn money or rise socially. This mentality has sadly become that of Frenchmen, who do not want, out of laziness, to make a lot of money, and are nonetheless jealous of their neighbor if he earns more than they do. This is egalitarianism in all its splendor—having the minimum for living and doing as little as possible, going on strike as often as possible . . . .

Grégoire Canlorbe: Is there something you would like to add?

Guillaume Faye: With its impending clashes between large ethnic blocs, the 21st century will, in actuality, be possibly more conflict-ridden and violent than the 20th century—because of, not despite, globalization! On an overpopulated planet, prone to rising perils, it’s not the end of history leading to a liberal, democratic world state that we see coming, but an intensification of history, as the competition between peoples responding to the imperatives of selection and the struggle for life becomes ever more desperate.

Read the conversation in full

About the Author

American Renaissance believes race is an important aspect of individual and group identity. Of all the fault lines that divide society—language, religion, class, ideology—it is the most prominent and divisive. Race and racial conflict are at the heart of some of the most serious challenges the Western World faces in the 21st century.