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 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 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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