Leading French academic, journalist and founding philosopher of GRECE and the European New Right, Alain de Benoist, recently took questions regarding Prime Minister of France and Socialist Party leader Manuel Valls. Here are his eye opening answers.
Translated by Venator for Open Revolt. Any errors are strictly our own.
Michel Onfray assures he will always be in empathy with a just idea, be it from the right or the left, rather than with a false idea, be it from the right or the left. Hence the positive opinion he seems to have of you, and which Manuel Valls reproaches him. But what is the meaning of this controversy? And besides, are you on the right or the left?
I could tell you that I have left-wing ideas and right-wing values, but it has been a long time since I defined myself along such lines, lines which are nowadays completely obsolete. Moreover, I am not an actor in the political arena, but only an observer. Finally, I am also well aware that the vast majority of politicians are incapable of understanding anything concerning the debate of ideas. Ideas divide and it is well known that what they want above all is to gather. Manuel Valls, who is practically illiterate, is no exception to the rule. The only thing that he is concerned with is to know how to qualify the Socialist Party for the second round of the 2017 presidential election. He is not interested in readers but in voters.
The question that needs to be asked is this one: why attack Michel Onfray in the middle of an election campaign? The answer, in my opinion, is that Onfray, for Valls, plays the role of the statue of the Commander. Far from drifting to the “right”, contrary to what the Prime Minister said, he stays firmly anchored in his libertarian and Proudhonian socialist positions. He has nothing but contempt for the liberal reformist government who has betrayed all its promises in order to put itself in the hands of the financial markets and it’s foreign policy in the service of the Americans. Michel Onfray is the bad conscience of Manuel Valls.
Valls said that the GRECE, of which you are one of the founding members, and Le Club de l’Horloge, are one and the same. He then adds that you are responsible of the “ideological matrix of the Front National”. If this was true, the party of Marine Le Pen would have to be “europeist” and regionalist, all the while professing a Charles Peguy type of socialism grounded in “décroissance”(“degrowth” or ecological economics based on anti-consumerist ideas). Is any of this serious?
To this day I have published about a 100 books, more than 6000 articles and 600 interviews. Of course, Manuel Valls has never read one line of any of these. He knows of me only what was written on the note card that was transmitted to him. Of course I have never been a member of Le Club de l’Horloge, and my supposed role in the “ideological matrix of the Front National” must have made the latter laugh. But none of this is important. This only shows that in this case too, the ruling class lives in a state of denial of reality. Manuel Valls is a small nervous thing, whose agitation only hides disarray. He sees that the intellectuals have let him down, that a third of the French people sympathizes with the FN, that the people are starting to break away, and that he is left with only BHL and Joey Starr (a French rap star). He is now saying that it is better to be wrong with BHL than right with Onfray, which is telling. He is part of this ruling class starting to feel the ground shake under it’s feet. His pathetic words show he has totally lost it.
While the radio announcer Léa Salamé denounces your early engagements in favor of Rhodesia or French Algeria, Michel Onfray replies that at the time other intellectuals like BHL or Philippe Sollers were Maoists. Is any of this plausible?
I suppose that you can’t really discuss phenomenology or hermeneutics with the cheerleader of that radio station! She must know as much about Michel Onfray than Fleur Pellerin knows of Modiano (French minister of culture who admitted she had never read one book of the Nobel prize winner). As for myself I have evolved a lot intellectually in the last fifty years, but I have never disavowed my ideas. Furthermore I have explained myself at length in an autobiography (“Mémoire vive”) published three years ago. I still express myself in my books, my periodical Krisis and Nouvelle Ecole and in the magazine Eléments of which I am columnist. Instead of stagnating I prefer to be persistent.