Europe’s Nihilistic Vision

The Stations of the Shining Path that are leading Europe into the fog of nihilism, are set out here by Éric Zemmour in a book review for Le Figaro.

Human Rights or Life Itself

Le Figaro | Eric Zemmour | 18th May 2016

It’s the debate that bears down on us. A debate that is philosophical, ideological, juridical. An existential debate. And one that always returns. In 1980, Marcel Gauchet was the first to announce that the conversion of the western democracies to the religion of Human Rights would “lead to political impotence”. In 1989, Régis Debray ridiculed “the doctrine of Human Rights, the last of our civil religions”. But the question has now taken a completely new turn. It is no longer just about holding forth eruditely on the now generally recognized limits of a foreign policy that ignores the dictates of Realpolitik. Nor is it any longer even a question of pointing out the risks of disintegration facing republican civil society, undermined by a democratic and individualistic culture of entitlement.

❝ The Declaration on the Rights of Man in Islam, adopted in Cairo in 1990, forbids the expression of any opinion that is incompatible with the principles of Sharia ❞

The Cassandras were right, even beyond their worst fears. Human Rights have become our only civil religion, the only national identity authorized by our elites. The religion of Human Rights has reached the end of its nihilistic logic. But the stakes are now even higher. Amongst its rubble and under its protection, we are passively assisting in the emergence, in more and more parts of France, of a new politico-legal order, and of a new people-amongst-the-people, fashioned and unified by Islam. This meeting between Human Rights and Islam evokes that between nitric acid and glycerine. It is in the process of devastating our country. It takes someone who is both jurist and theologian to describe this tragic collusion. Jean-Louis Harouel is our man. Associate professor of law at Assas, he is also a specialist in the history of religions in general and Christianity in particular. Underneath his often professorial style, there is a keen scalpel. On the one hand, he demonstrates, as have many before him, that “it is an error to consider Islam only as a religion”, because “Islam is at the same time religion and political organization”. Islam is an iron law that brooks no oppostion: “the Declaration on the Rights of Man in Islam, adopted in Cairo in 1990, forbids the expression of any opinion that is incompatible with the principles of Sharia”. On the other hand, he retraces the genealogy — religious, ideological, and legal — of our ridiculous conversion to Human Rights, which constitute “the secular religion that has accepted the baton passed by Communism….. The promise of social perfection no longer requires the abolition of private ownership, but demands instead the erasure of all difference between human individuals”. Harouel is particularly passionate when he recounts the Christian origins of Human Rights. He qualifies and corrects Chesterton’s celebrated notion of the “Christian ideas that have become stupid”, seeing in them the influence of the Christian heresies: gnosis and millenarianism: “the gnostic is a man-god, above the law and the ordinary moral code of the Decalogue…. millenarianism announces the promise of God’s kingdom on earth, whereas Jesus had placed it in the heavens…. Gnosis and millenarianism have in common a refusal to believe that evil can dwell in Man.”

We notice, with our author, that gnosis and millenarianism were already at the root of Communism and its totalitarian practices; and that the militants of the Left, recovering communists, became the most fanatical of all the warriors on behalf of Human Rights. For a century and a half, Human Rights were not law, but an assortment of principles guiding political action. It was only after the Second World War and the Nazi trauma that the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950 eatablished the “cult of Human Rights”, transforming the grand principles into substantive law, and judges into a “new judicial priesthood”. The professor of law, Georges Lavau, said harshly, that “senior magistrates, in promoting novel rules to the status of general legal principles, arrogated a quasi-prophetic function to themselves”. Human Rights were no longer Human Rights: they switched their attention from defending civil liberties against the encroachment of a too-powerful state, to the principle of “non-discrimination”, which actually prevents the state from protecting and defending its people, threatened with eviction and destruction on their own territory.

The switch was completed — from Human Rights to Islam. From one religion to another. From a totalitarian order that encroaches on the private sphere (principle of non-discrimination) to a totalitarian order that denies all distinction between the private and the public (Islam). The European peoples are caught between the hammer and the anvil, and threatened with extinction: “Millenarianism based on mass-immigration is by nature totalitarian…. It has replaced the Communist struggle to destroy the bourgeoisie with the [Human Rights] struggle to destroy the nations of Europe”. The analysis is incontrovertible, the observations oppressive, the impasse total. The issue radical. “It is indispensible to discriminate…. To bring Islam under special regulations limiting it to the private sphere…. To learn from the Swiss model of discrimination…. France cannot hope to survive without breaking with its cult of non-discrimination.”

❝ That the Empire perish, so long as its principles remain… ❞ — Robespierre.

Human Rights or life itself. We know in advance the response of our political, intellectual, media, cultural, artistic, and economic elites: it is Human Rights. In the name of high principle and fine sentiment. Also of minute calculations and petty interests. Of love of the Other, to the point of self-hatred and contempt. It is a recapitulation of the celebrated formula of Robespierre: “that the Empire perish, so long as its principles remain”. Except that the Empire is France and the French. The two camps are marching into the future, validating, insulting and confronting each other. The droits-de-l’hommistes against the populists. Everyone flirting with his own caricature and certitudes. Each will pretend to act in order to avoid “civil war”. In vain. §

Les droits de l’homme contre le peuple. Jean-Louis Harouel, Desclee de Brouwer, 140 p., €14.