A short conversation with Daniel Pipes, for Gatestone Institute

220px-Daniel_pipes_bw  Daniel Pipes is an American historian and president of the Middle East Forum. His writing focuses on Islamism, the Middle East, and U.S. foreign policy. His archive is at www.DanielPipes.org 

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Do you expect the George Floyd protests to leave, in the American collective memory, a mark comparable to the September 11 attacks and the Vietnam War?

  Daniel Pipes: The great question is: Will the current lurch to the left be temporary or permanent? I worry it is permanent because liberals are capitulating to progressives as never before. Will that trend continue or end? It is hard to forecast when very much in the moment.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Donald Trump’s foreign policy is often praised as dismissing nation-building in favor of short-term intervention, economic asphyxiation, and striking a deal with US enemies. How do you assess Trump’s approach? Do you subscribe to John Bolton’s criticism?

  Daniel Pipes: Trump came to office with minimal knowledge of the outside world, just impressions and emotions. He also lacked a philosophy or a network. The result has been haphazard. Bolton saw this from close-up and was understandably appalled. Fortunately, some of Trump’s instincts are solid, for example, as concerns China, Iran, Israel, and Venezuela, and he does not get intimidated by the Establishment consensus. So far, anyway, no catastrophe.

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A conversation with Philippe Fabry, for The Postil Magazine


Philippe Fabry  Philippe Fabry is a lawyer and a theorist of history. His approach, which he calls “historionomy,” endeavors to identify the cyclical patterns of history. He authored Rome, from Libertarianism to Socialism, A History of the Coming Century, and The Structure of History. His website is: https://www.historionomie.net/.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You do not hesitate to challenge the usual discourse (which liberals [libertarians, classical-liberals, anarcho-capitalists, free-marketists] do not avoid, even for the most conservative of them) claiming France to be an artificial construction from the building and unifying State: a political work whose plinth is no more geography than ethnicity or blood. Far from having formed differently from other European nations, France has, according to you, been built around an ethnic and territorial reality; and globally follows the same trajectory in its history. Could you come back to that subject?

  Philippe Fabry: Yes, it is indeed a common place in the commentary on the history of France to say that it is the State which made the Nation, while among our neighbors it would be the Nation which made the State. I can’t say if historians believe it, because it’s just not the kind of question they ask themselves these days, but it’s the kind of ready-made thinking that is prized by journalists and politicians who pride themselves on diagnosing “French trouble.” But in truth that dichotomy opposing France to the rest of Europe, if not the world, is fallacious, in two respects: first, all Nation-States are constituted according to a standard model (in reality two, but France is in the most frequent, I will come back to it), then the State does not have a more determining role there than the territorial and ethnic factors.

  There are two models of the appearance of Nation-States: the most common model, the most immediate, primary one, is that of the long-term gathering—around six centuries—of territories and people under one single state authority. The other model is the one that I would say “secondary” of the Nation-States born by secession, during an independence revolution: that is the case of Rome vis-à-vis the Etruscans, the separated United Provinces formerly Spanish possessions, the United States of America; those are formed when a population geographically and culturally too much distant from the state base of a “primary” Nation-State is under its control for various reasons.

  France belongs, like all major European States, to the first category. The model is as follows: in a populated territorial area, ethnically and linguistically relatively homogeneous, but where there is no State, either because none has ever emerged—for example Germania of the early Middle Ages—, or because it is a former imperial state which has withdrawn—that is the case of Gaul at the same period or of Great Britain after the ebb of the Danes in the X century—, the primitive regime is feudalism and therefore extreme political fragmentation. In the absence of a large-scale exogenous event, generally the invasion by an imperial power, a feudal lord more powerful than the others appears over time, who is logically the one who reigns over the economic lung of the territorial area. That economic lung, a fertile agricultural region, is very easily identified by looking at a relief map: it is a large plain, the largest in the territorial area: the Paris basin in France, the North German plain for Germany, the Guadalquivir plain for Spain, the London basin for Great Britain. The seigniorial power which can rely on this economic lung has a decisive advantage in resources and can extend over all the space which is naturally peripheral to it, that is to say both culturally close, and belonging to a geographically well-defined territorial area: the whole of Gaul for the Paris basin, including the Breton peninsula, the Massif Central and the smaller plains of Aquitaine and Languedoc; the entire island of Great Britain for the London basin, winning over Cornwall, the mountainous Wales and Scotland; all of southern Germany for the northern plain, including mountainous Bavaria. Of course, those centers of power do not stop at sharp boundaries, which for centuries engenders conflicts over the exact boundaries of the areas of influence. Those conflict zones are generally characterized by a hybrid character allowing them to be linked to several groups: an ethnic aspect could make Britain be disputed to France by England, language linked Alsace to Germany while the largest geographic proximity to the Paris basin made it lean towards France, and so on. It is rare that a border so clear separates two territorial areas that it is never challenged, but we can say that this was the case of the Pyrenees between France and Spain—although Roussillon, close to culture Catalan, did not become French until the XVII century.

  That dominant seigniorial power then builds the state, first by going beyond the feudal system by creating an assembly representative of the orders: urban bourgeoisie, nobility, clergy, to which the peasantry is added in the Nordic countries. That assembly allows the dominant seigniorial power to give itself a higher stature than that of the rest of the nobility and to embody the first national representation. That new paradigm leads to the construction of an administration exercising, more and more uniformly throughout the controlled territory, the regalian functions. The population gathered under the same authority gradually becomes a political community, becomes culturally uniform, and develops a national feeling. And it is when that national feeling is sufficiently present, and when happens an event—a lost war which discredits that regime which is called “administrative monarchy”—, that what I call a movement of national revolution occurs, which is the final stage in the constitution of a Nation-State by making the Nation the true holder of sovereignty, and therefore of the power of the State, through a parliamentary regime. That revolutionary movement lasts about forty years and goes through various systematic stages: collapse of the regime, radicalization of the revolutionary phenomenon, military dictatorship, partial restoration of the old regime, and final parliamentary change.

  So it’s always a bit the State that makes the Nation, but at the same time the Nation that arouses the State. The geographic expansion of the State is constrained by cultural, demographic, linguistic and obviously purely geographic factors, but its emergence and consolidation are themselves the product of an ethno-geographic reality. It is a kind of feedback loop, and it is rare that a State absolutely corresponds to its natural ethnico-geographical zone: the competition of large States creates disputed zones which are often resolved either through an arbitrary delimitation, or through fragmentation and the appearance of multi-ethnic, multicultural, plurilingual buffer States like Belgium or Switzerland—which may end up developing their own identity, certainly, but one more accidental.

  The determinism is not absolute and leaves the possibility of several combinations, but it is clear that it is the most “obvious” one which generally triumphs. Thus in France, two nations could have been born, because there are two basins: the Parisian and the Aquitaine. For a long time Bordeaux was the capital of that Aquitaine basin and Aquitaine dominated the country of Oc, while the country of Oïl depended more naturally on Paris. The distinction between the two countries could have endured, since each had a certain linguistic and cultural unity: the language of Oc against the language of Oïl, a country of written law against a country of customary law. But on the one hand the Parisian basin is much larger than the Bordeaux basin, and on the other hand the “natural” territorial area was rather on the scale of the whole of the former territory of Gaul, whose settlement base had besides remained the same as during Antiquity, the Great Migrations having not constituted a real demographic break. The Paris basin therefore succeeded in its vocation to dominate the whole which has given France.

  Another example: Germany saw the development of two centers capable of unifying the German nation: Austria and Prussia. Prussia controlled the plain of North Germany, and Austria dominated the plain of Pannonia (Hungary). That resulted into a division of the Germanic space between the two centers until the Great War, and ultimately the impossibility of keeping them lastingly unified after the failure of the Third Reich—even while the Germany of the seven electors appointed by the Golden Bull in 1356 covered all of those German-speaking territories.

  I think that the political debate would often gain if those invariants of the state and national construction are better known, because they say a lot about what can or cannot be a Nation-State, about the deleterious effects that can have on a Nation-State a constituted mass immigration, for example.

  And as for liberals [libertarians, from classical-liberals to anarcho-capitalists] there is a remark that I like to make to them, and that they generally take badly, it is that if the Nation-State is built in such a systematic way, it is because it is the most efficient product on the public security market, so that if we were to recreate an anarchic society, in the long term it would be towards the re-emergence of Nation-States that the political and social order would tend.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: While Greco-Roman paganism—on that point, in phase with Judaism—breaks with the veneration of motherly Nature, the pre-Indo-European gynecocratic spirit, the biblical conception of time as linear (and of cosmic and human history as endowed with a beginning, an end, and a progression) contrasts with the pagan motif of the eternal return of the same. You assert both your Catholic heritage and your cyclical conception of history. How is that duality conciliated within your intellectual life?

  Philippe Fabry: It always seemed natural to me, faced with that kind of conceptual opposition, to think that the truth was more likely to be a mixture of the two. Cyclicity and linearity are not necessarily contradictory if we consider that there are several scales to consider, several temporalities. And it seems obvious to me that history is both cyclical and linear. And that is not proper to human history, but also to natural history. Take the evolution of species: it is linear, there is no turning back, but it is based on a cyclical phenomenon which is the life of living individuals: their conception, their birth, their maturation, their reproduction, their death. It is through that recurrence that nature, through mutations which are then selected naturally, makes species evolve. The same goes for humanity: it is subject to certain recurrences, but those recurrences end up drawing a linear pattern and a general progression: in the demographic mass of the species, the size of its political communities, its scientific and technical power, its artistic sophistication. Its destiny is linear, but its embodiment is recursive. Which led me to suggest, and my work always leads me further in that direction, that human history can be modeled in the mathematical form of a cellular automaton, which is also a tool for modeling the appearance and development of life.

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A conversation with Kamel Krifa, for The Postil Magazine

Kamel Krifa  Kamel Krifa is an actor, film producer, and Hollywood’s stars trainer—including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michelle Rodriguez, Eddie Griffin, Steven Seagal, and many other ones. Krifa ranks among Van Damme’s longstanding collaborators and personal friends, acting alongside him in various movies. This conversation with cultural journalist Grégoire Canlorbe first happened in Paris, in July 2017; it was resumed and validated in April 2020.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: In Kickboxer IV, you have given flesh and soul to iconic villain Tong Po. Do you intend to return to the saga?

  Kamel Krifa: At the time I had been offered a contract of five films to interpret the character of Tong Po. It was an interesting challenge, for my acting was essentially limited to the expression of my eyes and to working the articulation of the mouth. Indeed, I was asked to wear a mask, destined to give me oriental features. Alas, concerning fighting scenes, I did not have the opportunity to really prepare them thoroughly, because I had to avoid spoiling, through my respiration, the three hours of make-up that were devolved to me each day. (Knowing that an extra hour was still required to remove my make-up after filming.)

  Finally, I will have only once lent my traits—or rather, lent my stature and my agility—to the deceitful and cruel Tong Po. But I effectively returned to the franchise Kickboxer, since I appear in Kickboxer: Retaliation, alongside Mike Tyson, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Christophe Lambert, and none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme. The movie was released in January 2018. It is the sequel to Kickboxer: Vengeance, a remake of Kickboxer released twenty-seven years after the original film.

Kickboxer IV final fight
Final fight in Kickboxer IV, exhibiting the martial prowess of Kamel Krifa (in the role of Tong Po)

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Jean-Claude Van Damme has directed a single film, The Quest, in which he plays in the company of the late Roger Moore. According to you, why did JCVD not want to repeat the experience since then?

  Kamel Krifa: Jean-Claude has an undeniable talent as a director and he does not hesitate to advise the directors who work with him. They benefit from his experience, acquired both before and behind the camera. In turn, he offers them the best of himself in his acting. Since The Quest, he indeed prefers to delegate the task to the director and to focus on his interpretation. It allows him to let his mind float — instead of cornering his attention with a host of technical considerations that never leaves his mind in peace. In that way, he can prove fully invested, relaxed, and reactive under the eye of the camera; he can put himself in the skin of his character with an optimal ability to concentrate.

  Also, entrusting the filmmaking to someone else, whom he knows qualified, and to whom he transmits his directives, allows him to take time for himself: time to commune with himself, and to read and meditate on subjects that are dear to his heart. Jean-Claude is not only a man of great culture; he is an authentic gifted, a superior intelligence, who carries a unique and insightful look at people, the things of life, and the universe.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Whether as his coach, his producer, or his on-screen partner, you have been working steadily and consistently with JCVD. Would you care to say a few words about it?

  Kamel Krifa: I have known Jean-Claude since he was thirteen. When I met him, I was twenty years old; and from simple sports room colleagues, we quickly became best friends, spiritual brothers. In 1989, Jean-Claude, who had just acted in his launch pad Bloodsport (and who was about to become an international star with the tremendous successes of the early 1990s), proposed to me that I become his exclusive trainer; very honored, I accepted his offer. I then had the opportunity to act alongside him in Death Warrant and Lionheart—and that is how I became a Hollywood actor.

Kamel Krifa in Death Warrant
Kamel Krifa in Death Warrant

  During the 1990s I continued to appear alongside Jean-Claude in various action movies; on the same token, I launched into production. That is how I was an associate producer for Double Impact, featuring Bolo Yeung. I also co-produced Legionnaire, for which I made location scouting in Morocco for two years. I must confess that I have a special affection for that period film, which deals with the Rif War and which features Abdelkrim Khattab, whom I had the good fortune to play. Most recently, I collaborated with Jean-Claude on the pilot of the TV series Jean-Claude Van Johnson, sponsored by Amazon—and, of course, on the last installment of the saga Kickboxer.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Let us talk about the origin of your cinematographic vocation. What could be, in particular, the “double impact” of your Tunisian childhood and of your early discovery of martial arts?

  Kamel Krifa: At the age of seven I had stars in my eyes in front of peplums and other spy films from the 1960s; and it is to a large extent in the popular movie theaters of Tunis, where action movie left me mesmerized, that my vocation of actor was born. But it is also at home, from a very early age, by having fun shooting amateur films through a play of shadow and light, by imagining myself in the shoes of role models like Tarzan or Maciste, that my attraction for cinema took shape. The martial arts, which I have been practicing since my childhood, seemed to me early on to be the royal way to make my entry into the Hollywood milieu. As an adult my experiences in the army, the police, or as a bodyguard allowed me to perfect my combat skills.

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A short conversation with David Horowitz, for FrontPage Magazine

800px-david_horowitz_5450881229  David Joel Horowitz is an American writer. He is a founder and president of the think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC); editor of the Center’s publication, FrontPage Magazine; and director of Discover the Networks, a website that tracks individuals and groups on the political left. Horowitz also founded the organization Students for Academic Freedom.

  From 1956 to 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left. He later rejected progressive and Marxist ideas and became a defender of conservatism. Horowitz recounted his ideological journey in a series of retrospective books, culminating with his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You have long established yourself as a Jewish intellectual committed to the defense of your homeland America and its Protestant values. While in conservative circles it is not uncommon to address the totalitarian commonalities between Islam and Marxism, you like to raise the connection of Marxism (and other laicized socialist ideologies) with the Pelagian heresy. Could you tell us more about this filiation?

  David Horowitz: Pelagius, a 4th Century Christian Monk—even more than Rousseau—is the father of all leftist schemes to remake the world into a social justice paradise. Pelagius believed that sin was against human nature. Therefore if people would just be true to their nature—and therefore good Christians—they could build a heaven on earth. Leftists believe that people are good at heart, and therefore if they are good Marxists, or good socialists, or politically correct, they can build a paradise on earth. Saint Augustine was Pelagius’ nemesis. To counter his utopian vision, Augustine posed the doctrine of original sin—that we all participate in Adam’s sin because it is in our nature to sin, not against it. In secular terms, the root cause of all social problems, of all human problems is us. That’s why when progressives achieve total power they kill and impoverish millions—even hundreds of millions—of people who refuse to participate in their schemes because they go against their nature.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: It turns out that a number of icons of the sixties and the seventies who were most often considered left-wing at the time—for instance, David Bowie, Kirk Douglas, or the duo of Easy Rider, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper—are rather positively perceived among right-wing nationalist youth today. As a repented lieutenant of the counterculture, how do you react to this lasting popularity?

  David Horowitz: I don’t take actors seriously. After all, they’re actors.

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A conversation with Gerhard Meisenberg, for Psych

Gerhard Meisenberg is a retired professor of biochemistry who lives in the Caribbean island nation of Dominica. Originally from Germany, he studied at the universities of Bochum and Munich where he obtained his Ph.D. in biology. He then did biochemistry research in the United States for three years, before joining the faculty at Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica. He worked in Dominica from 1984 until the end of 2018. He became known as the senior author of a major textbook of medical biochemistry that has so far been printed in four editions. In addition, he embarked on research in educational research and psychometrics. His special interest is in secular trends of intelligence (Flynn effects), which he studied in Dominica.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You are best known for your textbook Principles of Medical Biochemistry as well as your evolutionary psychology treatise In God’s Image: The Natural History of Intelligence and Ethics. How do you move from the former to the latter?

  Gerhard Meisenberg: Biochemistry and the study of human behavior both are part of biology, although at slightly different levels. Psychology is one step down in the “hierarchy of sciences”: more complex, and less precise. What attracted me to human behavior are the big questions about why humans are the way they are, how they got that way, and what it means for our ongoing evolution. As Theodosius Dobzhansky famously said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” I realized that the “big picture” of human history cannot be understood without an understanding of the ongoing evolution of the value systems that determine what aims people pursue and the intelligence that determines how good they are at attaining these aims. Neither of these are etched in stone. They keep evolving, both culturally and biologically.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: A short while ago you co-wrote an article on sex differences in intelligence with Professor Richard Lynn. Could you remind us of the outlines of your perspective on this subject conducive to arousing hysteria?

  Gerhard Meisenberg: There was actually a big debate about sex differences in the journal Mankind Quarterly, where contributors exposed the different views in the field. Briefly, there are those who hold that in modern Western societies there are no sex differences in intelligence that are big enough to have any real-world importance. James Flynn defended this position. The second view is represented by Richard Lynn, who claims that boys and girls start out pretty equal, but from the age of about 15 males gain an advantage over females because their mental as well as physical growth continues to an older age. Lynn estimates that adult men score 3 to 5 IQ points higher than women, which is a very small difference. He thinks that together with a higher male standard deviation, this is sufficient to explain male dominance in many intellectual fields. Then there are those, including myself, who emphasize that males and females have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, males have an up to one standard deviation (15 IQ points) advantage in mechanical reasoning, but females come out on top in tests of emotional intelligence and of verbal and episodic memory. There isn’t a huge amount of disagreement among scientists who study these sex differences. It’s a matter of emphasis.

  Another thing to consider is that sex differences in some non-cognitive traits are much bigger than those in measured intelligence. Some aspects of vocational preferences have sex differences of at least one standard deviation, although this depends much on the way the differences are measured and analyzed. Perhaps the reason why women have lower mechanical comprehension is not that they are innately deficient in this kind of reasoning, but that they have zero interest in the workings of gears and pulleys. Therefore they never bother to develop the ability to understand these things.

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A conversation with Michael H. Hart, for American Renaissance

d3f340_6daeb2af30d82d77142cc638c144a35d  Michael H. Hart is an American astrophysicist, historian, and white separatist militant. He is mostly known for the Fermi-Hart Paradox, and his books The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History and Understanding Human History. He was a speaker at the 1996 American Renaissance conference.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You call for defending the “Judeo-Christian heritage” of American civilization against mass invasions from the Third-World. How do you sum up the values at the core of the Judeo-Christian Weltanschauung—and the outlines of your partition plan intended to preserve those?

  In the decades yet to come, do you see rather a Republican candidate or a Democrat one to run for the presidential elections under the banner of a racial-partition program?

  Michael H. Hart: I would have a hard time trying to sum up what are Judeo-Christian values. I believe our civilization’s uniqueness lies in the importance it gives to individual freedom.

  In my book Restoring America, I identified the three principal causes of our decline as follows: large-scale immigration from Latin America (in particular from Mexico), the decline of pride in our national heritage, and most importantly racial hostilities which are henceforth so great that we can no longer function effectively as a single unified country. Hence we must split into two countries.

  The partition would not be exactly a racial one. One of the two countries would be a “Red” one, consisting mostly of those regions in which conservatives make up the majority. The other would be a “Blue” country, consisting primarily of those regions in which “liberals” make up the majority.

  Hopefully secession will happen in a peaceful and voluntary manner. But I don’t believe that will be the case. I think that the partitioning will most likely occur in the context of a civil war. It will be implemented by an authoritarian figure. As for knowing whether the latter will be a Democrat or a Republican, I can make no prediction. Many of my conservative acquaintances are silently in favor of partition though.

  I should make it clear that I do not advocate dividing the USA long racial lines. (I once had that idea, but I no longer do.). In Restoring America, I suggest dividing the country between the conservatives and the leftists. I anticipate that most blacks—but not all—will choose to live in the leftist country. But I expect that a substantial number—perhaps about a million—will choose to live in the conservative country. They should be accepted by the conservative country without any reservations.

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A conversation with Guillaume Faye, for American Renaissance

260px-Guillaume_Faye_par_Claude_Truong-Ngoc_février_2015  Guillaume Faye is a French philosopher, known for his judeophile right-wing paganism, his call for a Eurosiberian Federation of white ethno-states, or his concept of archeofuturism, which involves combining traditionalist spirituality and concepts of sovereignty with the latest advances in science and technology.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: In my opinion, the liberalism [libertarianism, free-markets] of tomorrow will be a liberalism at the crossroads of Julius Evola and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti—a reconciliation that Italian Fascism basically failed to achieve. In other words, the liberalism of the future will be an archeofuturist liberalism. Do you envision France as a fertile ground for this new liberalism?

  Guillaume Faye: If one considers France from the point of view of Frédéric Bastiat, it is basically a communist country. In fact, France is today more communist than the Soviet Union ever was. It is one of the last bastions of communism in a world that is now profoundly liberal. Not only does government spending represent more than 58 percent of GDP, and redistribution expenditure more than 50 percent of GDP, but with a population that represents less than 1 percent of the world’s population, France represents 15 percent of the world’s welfare state redistribution.

  I don’t think that France will ever be a liberal country, for liberalism is quite simply incompatible with the French mentality. On the other hand, the world is increasingly liberal, but it is a liberalism that makes serious mistakes—starting with free-trade agreements biased in favor of China. That said, the trade war launched by President Trump seems to me to be a very dangerous thing, likely to trigger a whole new economic crisis far worse than that of 2008.

  As for Fascism, it was indeed a failure—were it only for its socialist economics and its warlike hubris. One can always imagine an alternative version of Fascism, the preeminent intellectual reference of which would have been Vilfredo Pareto, Julius Evola, or Filippo Tommaso Marinetti—instead of Giovanni Gentile. The fact still remains that it is impossible to change history, and that Fascism is for us only a socialist monster of the past. It is pointless to look in the rearview mirror; we need to focus on the future. And as I tried to show in my book Archeofuturism, when the historical period of the 19th and 20th centuries will have come to a close, and its egalitarian hallucinations—including a certain utopian version of liberalism—will have been sunk by catastrophe, humanity will revert to its archaic values, which are purely biological and human (i.e., anthropological).

  This will lead to the separation of sex roles; the transmission of ethnic and folk traditions, spirituality, and priestly organization; visible and structuring social hierarchies; the worship of ancestors; rites and tests of initiation; the re-establishment of organic communities—from the family to the folk. It will mean the de-individualization of marriage in that unions will be the concern of the whole community and not merely of the married couple; an end of the confusion between eroticism and conjugality; prestige of the warrior caste; inequality among social statuses—not implicit inequality, which is unjust and frustrating and is what we find today in egalitarian utopias, but explicit and ideologically legitimated inequality. It will mean duties that match rights, hence a rigorous justice that gives people a sense of responsibility; a definition of peoples—and of all established groups or bodies—as diachronic communities of destiny rather than synchronic masses of individual atoms.

  In brief, in the vast, oscillating movement of history which Nietzsche called “the eternal return of the identical,” future centuries will witness a return to these archaic values one way or another. The question for us Europeans is whether we will have these values imposed upon us, on account of our cowardliness, by Islam—as is already happening—or whether we are capable of asserting these values ourselves by drawing them from our historical memory. Alas, given the extent to which Arab-Muslim peoples have already colonized European soil, I am afraid that their re-emigration, and the liberation of France and Europe, can be set up only at the conclusion of an extremely bloody conflict.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: The Italian Renaissance is generally conceived of as a rebirth of Paganism in the formal context of Catholicism. Yet, far from being exclusively Pagan, the Renaissance was also nourished by a deep interested in Judaism. How do you explain this?

  Guillaume Faye: The Italian Renaissance was not a rebirth of paganism, but a return to the arts and techniques of ancient Rome. Not only has Italy never ceased to be pagan despite the strenuous efforts of Catholic prelates, but Graeco-Latin paganism has always found itself in osmosis with Judaism. Thus, in the pagan Roman tradition, there has never been any anti-Judaism; quite the contrary, the Jewish people was the only one authorized to practice its religion, for the good reason that Judaism was posing no political threat to Romans—unlike with the religion of the Gallic druids, who were therefore persecuted by Rome.

  Two years ago, an Italian historian published a book, Ponzio Pilato. Un enigma tra storia e memoria, [Pontius Pilate: An enigma between history and memory] in which it is shown that the Great Sanhedrin asked Romans to kill Christ because they recognized the Roman emperor as their “king,” not Jesus who let himself be called “King of the Jews.” In turn, Romans, who had no trouble with satisfying the request to kill Jesus, were absolutely delighted to hear how supportive Jews were of the emperor who had federated them. For this reason in particular, there has never been a tradition of anti-Judaism in Italy.

  Going back to the Renaissance, I subscribe to the thesis of decline developed by Bryan Ward-Perkins, an English historian living in Rome, who has shown in his book The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization that an immense setback in technology and artistic production happened in several parts of the Roman empire, following the German invasions in the West and the Arab invasions in the East. The Renaissance was not a religious rebirth of paganism; it was an artistic rediscovery of the painting and sculpting techniques of Antiquity, while Europe had basically returned to the bronze age with the fall of the Roman empire.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: From a neo-pagan point of view like yours, why do you have more respect for Judaism than for Christianity?

  Guillaume Faye: While Christianity carries within it and unleashes a certain moral masochism of the Jewish soul, there is no call for weakness and submission, no castrating message in Talmudic Judaism. This is basically the thesis of Friedrich Nietzsche, who fiercely denounced Christianity, but also was an ardent admirer of the Jewish diaspora and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism. “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other too” has nothing to do with the Talmud. On the other hand, in preaching the socialist hatred of the rich, or the subservience of native white Europeans before North African, black African, and Asian colonizers, Pope Francis actually puts himself in harmony, and not in contradiction, with the Gospel’s teaching.

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A conversation with Majid Oukacha, for Gatestone Institute

  photo Majid Oukacha HDMajid Oukacha is a young French essayist who was born and grew up in a France which he recognizes less every year. « A former Muslim but an eternal patriot, » as he sometimes likes to describe himself, he is the author of Face to Faith With Islam, a systematic critique, without value judgments, of the most inconsistent and imprecise Koranic laws.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Could you start by reminding us of the circumstances and motives of your abandoning Islam — and of your decision to take up your pen to unravel your former religion for the public at large?

  Majid Oukacha: Like all Frenchmen who were born and grew up in France in the late twentieth century, I am fortunate to belong to a peaceful nation that allowed me to enjoy rights and freedoms for which I never personally had to fight. My parents, French citizens of Algerian origin and Muslim persuasion, provided me with a religious education, which destined me to remain a devout Muslim. They also gave me a civic, social and ethical education based on respect for France and its values, as embodied in its motto, « liberty, equality, fraternity. »

  I started going to the mosque at the age of eight. The first imam who taught me, and who came from a foreign country, had a perfect French accent, a big, cheerful smile, and he was careful never to give orders to his students outside the walls of the mosque. The courses I took quickly led me to see that what I thought was a blessing — to be born into a faith able to save me from Hell, which, according to the Koran, spares only Muslims — would also become a permanent burden.

  When one is a Muslim, every trivial action of daily life is codified, from how to drink a glass of water upon waking to how to go to bed. I submitted to Allah to avoid the torments of His wrath in the afterlife; I obeyed codified rituals that sometimes seemed a waste of time or a nonsense. My non-Muslim friends were accustomed to hearing me tell them I had to interrupt a game of football or cards to go to the mosque. There, I essentially learned to do the salat, the Muslim five-times-a-day prayers, as well as the bottomless pit of behavioral codes established as virtues by the romanticized figure of the prophet Muhammad.

  In the middle of the uniform flock — blindly imitating a distant spectrum imposing its obligations and prohibitions — I was not afraid to ask « hard » questions.

  « Why in Koranic law about the need to cut off the hand of thief (Surah 5, verse 38), does Allah not say which hand is to be cut off (the right one or the left one)? Why does He specify no minimum value for the theft from which the hand of a thief can be cut off? Stealing an apple for the first time in one’s life, does it really deserve to have a hand severed? And why does Allah not say the minimum age of a thief who must have a hand cut off? Should a 12-year-old who has never stolen before really be held as responsible as a 40-year-old repeat offender? »

  « Why should one walk seven circles around the Black Stone during the Hajj and not six or eight? What will happen if I walk around it eight times? »

  « The Prophet Muhammad explains in his Sunnah that a woman, a black dog or a donkey passing in front of a praying Muslim can cancel his prayer; but, as usual in the Sunnah, Muhammad merely advances a judgment without explaining why it should be that way. To someone who does not believe in Islam, such a statement sounds like a superstition. Why not give the intellectual journey linked to it, instead of just a dogmatic sentence? If it is Allah Himself who gave him this knowledge, why didn’t the Hadith that mentions this prophetic story become a verse of the Koran? The Koran is supposed to represent the messages of Allah which the prophet Muhammad passes on to his contemporaries to inform them about what their creator expects of them. If a woman passes one kilometer from someone who is praying, is the prayer canceled then? What is the maximum distance from which a prayer is cancelled altogether? »

  The logical « domino effect » of these questions is only a small part of the many thoughts that can, and should, keep one’s mind alert — far from the corset of indoctrination that is closed to doubt. I never heard satisfying answers to the limits of this juridical Islam to which I had always pledged allegiance, so I decided to seek them directly from Allah himself. Just before entering university, I tried to understand Islam with an unbiased look, rather than to learn it as an unquestioning believer.

  I had decided to read the entire Koran, from the first to the last sentence, and to register impressions, doubts, and questions in a notebook. Reading the Koran that way not only forced me to have to admit that almost all Islamic laws and dogmas had no scientific or rational basis, but it also highlighted that Islam, under its founder, was a misogynistic religion, preaching slavery, and an enemy of freedom of thought. I had fallen. My trust in what was both obvious and intangible had deceived me all this time. It is the libertarian and egalitarian values of secular and humanist France — which I have learned to love and respect — which gave me the strength to refuse to give in to the fear of blackmail in the form of eternal Hellfire.

  Leaving Islam confirmed my longtime fear that one day I would witness the French people lose all these freedoms and this lifestyle that make France a beloved and envied country throughout the world. All revolutions do not necessarily begin or end in a bloodbath. In a democracy, the majority has the power to make or break a revolution, away from anarchy and war. The day an Islamic majority in France will vote for a president and parliamentarians able to define for all of us what separates right from wrong, good from evil and fair from unfair, what choices then will remain for us?

  You cannot flee from problems indefinitely. You have to fight them at one time or another. I need to convince the maximum of my contemporaries that Islam is a threat to our individual rights and freedoms, and I choose to fight using words, because communication (through writing, speech) is the weapon that gives me my strength. I am, as far as I know, the only author who has made a comprehensive critical study of the principal legal and doctrinal aspects of Islam, by addressing the technical inaccuracies of the laws but without ever stating any moral or value judgment. I have no taboos so I dealt with explosive topics: slavery, pedophilia, criminalization of freedom of conscience… I think this is the most effective method to demonstrate to the widest possible audience the obscurantism and danger of Islam: a universal legislation that cannot coexist with difference.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: This objective look at the technical limitations of Koranic laws seems rare. Is it possible to do the same work with religious books from Christianity or Judaism?

  Majid Oukacha: For Muslims, every sentence in the Koran is meant to be a tale whose author is Allah Himself, the creator of the world, and who is an omnipotent, omniscient and perfect God. This God proclaims many draconian universal laws that are not limited by place or time.

  This base makes analyzing the Koran far simpler than analyzing some of the sacred texts of Judaism or Christianity. The Talmud cites original narratives and interpretations thought by humans. It is up to today’s Jews to decide whether to adhere to these passages or to question them. We can say the same of the New Testament, which is dear to Christians.

  Today, the countries where one lives best, if one is a woman or a free thinker, are precisely the countries with Christian and Jewish roots: France, the United States of America, Israel, Australia, England… These countries defend the individual freedoms of the weakest and the most varied people more than any Muslim country in the world has ever done. If a Muslim wants to criticize a misogynistic passage from the Bible or the Torah for example, good for him!

Continuer la lecture de « A conversation with Majid Oukacha, for Gatestone Institute »

A conversation with Waleed Al-Husseini, for Gatestone Institute

716889-waleed-al-husseini01recadre2jpg  Waleed Al-Husseini is a Palestinan blogger and essayist as well as the founder of the Ex-Muslim Counsel of France. He garnered international fame in 2010 when he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured for articles he posted in which he criticized Islam. He has received threats and death threats. He is one of the most celebrated cyber-activists from the Arab world and now lives in France where he sought refuge. He continues to be a fierce defender of its secular, republican values.

  He is the author of an autobiography, Blasphemer! Allah’s prisons! edited by Graset in 2014 (re-issued in 2015), as well as articles in Le Monde, La Règle du jeu and Libération. His blogs are “la voie de la raison” and “I’m proud to be atheist.” Contact: hassayen@gmail.com

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Could you start by reminding us of the circumstances and motives of your dissent?

  Waleed Al-Husseini: My atheism is the result of a long quest for the truth about what I saw happening in front of me. Obviously, nobody holds all of the Truth, but during my research, I realized that religion in general, and Islam in particular, was highly incompatible with the values of human life. That was the beginning of my rejection of Islam. As time goes by, the horrors and crimes committed against mankind in the name of Islam seem to have proven me right. They have strengthened my conviction that it was the right choice to make.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Despite being jailed, tortured, threatened, persecuted and socially pressured, you have never given up your opinions or curbed your determination to defend them. How come?

  Waleed Al-Husseini: Once I had made up my mind, I had to defend my new convictions against all sorts of pressures, whether in prison or in the street. To do so, I gathered my strength out of the weakness and archaism of the religious speech. I simply used intelligence against faith. The former opens the mind, the latter puts human beings in prison. It feels as if religious leaders practice some sort of psychological torture on their followers in order to dominate them. In Muslim societies, all the citizens live in a huge prison called Islam. I wish to remind the readers that, if I am deeply hostile to Islam as a religion, I respect Muslims as human beings and deplore the situation in which they have to survive.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: “Mahometism, writes Tocqueville in his Writings on the Koran, is the religion that has mixed both political and religious powers, and in a way that the high priest is necessarily a prince, and the prince is the high priest, and all the acts of civil and political life are ruled more or less according to religious law… This concentration and confusion established by Mahomet between both powers… was the primary cause of despotism and social immobility… which has always been a characteristic of Muslim nations.”

  Do you think that things can change? Or that Islam—and the Islamic world—cannot be reformed?

  Waleed Al-Husseini: During the genesis of Islam—which looks in many aspects like a sect—the political power relied on religion in order to control and dominate society. Subject to certain exceptions, the situation has not changed in 1,400 years.

  In his time, the prophet Mahomet had already made use and abuse of many fatwas, attributed to the angel Jibril, in order to justify what can never be justified. He awarded himself the right to rape young girls, in the name of poligamy, and used religious discourse to wage his wars, which he called “Islamic conquests”. He also committed the first war crimes in the name of Allah—upon, he claimed, divine command!

  The same methods are still common practice today, in the main Islamic countries. Iran is ruled by the Wali e-Faguih, the Supreme Leader, who claims he is “God’s vicar on Earth”. Saudi Arabia is under the rule of the “Keeper of the holy Places”. The king of Marocco is the self-proclaimed “Commander of the believers”. In the other muslim countries, the rulers call themselves Wali alAmr, “the tutor”, a title that works as a deterrent, allowing imams to use religion in order to ban any possible objection to the tutor’s authority.

Continuer la lecture de « A conversation with Waleed Al-Husseini, for Gatestone Institute »