by Alain de Benoist
Interview by Nicolas Gauthier.
Translated by Venator for Open Revolt
You have been in favor of building a federal Europe for a long time. But the Europe they sell us today is more in line with Jacobinism. Your opinion ?
Those who describe the European Union as a “federal Europe” show that they haven’t got a clue what federalism is, especially total federalism, as defined by Alexandre Marc, Robert Aron and Denis de Rougemont. In a federal system, the problems should be solved at the lowest level possible, only the decisions that cannot be made at the lower levels should go back up. This is called the principle of subsidiarity or sufficient competence. The European Union is organized on the opposite principle, a principle of omnicompetence: a Brussels Commission whose members have no democratic legitimacy decides independently on almost everything from top to bottom. This is why Europe is deeply Jacobin.
From the beginning, European integration has taken place in spite of common sense. It was started by focusing on trade and industry instead of focusing on politics and culture. After the fall of the Soviet system, instead of seeking to deepen its political structures, the European Union decided to extend itself to countries mostly wishing to get closer to NATO, which resulted in it’s impotence and paralysis. The people were never really associated with the process of European integration. Finally, the purposes of this construction have never been clearly defined. Is it to create a European power, with well-defined borders, who can play its role in a multipolar world, or a European-market embedded in a large area of free trade, with no concern for geopolitical data ? The euro crisis has made matters even worse. The nations (and regions) are gradually dispossessed of their sovereignty, which is disappearing into a black hole, while no European sovereignty is emerging.
You were also in favor of a union between Europe and what used to be called the “third world”, that is to say those nations we refer to today as “emerging”. Looking backwards, do you still hold this position, and what do you think of the last summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa)?
My book “Europe, Tiers monde, même combat”, published by Robert Laffont in 1986, defended the idea of an autonomous Europe, relying on third-world countries who also wanted their own independence from the blocks. It was the era of the “non-aligned”. I wanted that Europe not align itself with the Soviet sphere of influence or and the American sphere of influence. I also had sympathy for countries that, contrary to what happened to us, had not wiped out their traditional societies. You’ll recall that in his speech in Dakar, the abominable Sarkozy, proud heir of the Enlightenment, criticized Africans for wanting to be “in harmony with nature” and giving no place in their imagination to the “idea of progress.” I would rather tend to congratulate them for that. Today, the world has changed, but my intuition is still the same. I see with sympathy the rise of “emerging” countries, whose last summit of BRICS – an alternative to Bretton Woods and Davos – provides confirmation. The big question today is whether the new “Nomos of the Earth” will be a universum or a pluriversum, that is to say, are we moving towards a unipolar world submitted to the American thalassocracy, or towards a multipolar world where the great centers of culture and civilization will act as poles of regulation versus globalization. The eradication of collective singularities, the phasing out of peoples and cultures in favor of a large homogeneous global market, is in my opinion one of the greatest current threats. Humanity is only really rich of it’s diversity. The “emerging” of the countries of the former Third World can help us preserve that.
Similarly, the current European Commission seems impregnated with Nordic spirit, being at the same time Puritan – politically correct – ; decadent – for societal progress – ; and libertarian, as the capitalist Anglo-Saxon tradition requires. And gives, in effect, the impression that its attacks are focused against the “PIGS” (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain), the people of Catholic and Orthodox culture, in which we work to live, while others prefer to live to work . Are we mistaken ?
What you say is not totally false, but still a little sketchy. As Voltaire said, “when it comes to money, everyone is of the same religion.” Unfortunately, many people believe that money and currency are one and the same. Money is the universal equivalent that can reduce any quality to a quantity of the order of more or less. In a world where one produces things only to be bought or sold, the rule of money is inseparable from the anthropological model of Homo economicus, who is only driven by the desire to continuously maximize his best material interest. The dominant type of our time, the narcissistic immature type, relies naturally on the axiomatic of interest, which tends to reduce all values to the exchange value. However, be it in the South or the North of Europe, I think the popular classes remain convinced that the ability of human beings to act independently of their own self-interest remains the foundation of any respectable attitude. On this point, I refer you to the last book of Jean-Claude Michéa.