Moral Vanity & The Puritan Spirit

Pierre-André Taguieff

logo_caesar_35pxNothing if not hard-hitting, this interview with the French social scientist Pierre-André Taguieff brings out the degree to which Anglo-Saxon — worse, Swedish — puritanism has invaded French political life under the mentorship of the Parti socialiste, where it has coalesced with the ever-raging war over “islamophobia”. The now modest “dead white poets” theme of the kaftan-covered Sixties, is followed downwards to the ideological limits of moral vanity.


Translation: Edward Shilling/The Europeans
Pierre-André Taguieff interviewed by Patrice de Méritens for Le Figaro

 The New Hate-Figure is The Heterosexual White Male Over Fifty


FIGARO/MAGAZINE/INTERVIEW : Behind the indignation provoked by the pitiful Affaire Baupin¹, there is a strong ideological offensive. From thought-police to purification of morals, the philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff strips the system down for us.

Pierre-André Taguieff is a philosopher, social scientist, and historian of ideas. He has published Des putes et des hommes. Tous coupables. Toutes victimes [Whores and their clients. Men culpable. Women victims.] Éditions Ring.

FIGARO/MAGAZINE : What do you make of the Baupin affair¹, which re-ignites the question of sexism in our society?

Pierre-André TAGUIEFF : First of all, hypocrisy keeps to the Left: after Cahuzac², the pillar of integrity caught red-handed, you stumble over Baupin the “feminist”, with wandering hands. Then you see a certain type of journalism, dubbed ‘investigative’, specialise in denunciations and appeals to snoops, all in the name of virtue and transparency. This stimulated appetite for purification leads to a vast settling of accounts, even to witch-hunts. Finally, the struggle for power gets mixed up with the war of the sexes. Whatever he might have done, Baupin makes an ideal culprit: a white heterosexual man, over fifty, exercising high political office. We can understand how he might have leaned over his female competitors within his party, who can now paint themselves as victims of “male domination”. The politicisation of the competition between the sexes, initiated by certain feminist groups, feeds the negative passions: envy, jealousy, resentment, a spirit of vengeance, etc. Dressed up in the thematics of victimisation. This is what we’re now caught up in.

The Baupin affair, with its odour of scorn for men in general, is a social symptom from the same stable as the recent vote on the law penalising the clients of prostitutes. This law dips into the realm of magic: the belief that prostitution will disappear if you intimidate or dissuade the clients. The incoherence is blatant: the law comes down to legalising the offer (solicitation) while punishing the demand. As though for the new purveyors of fine sentiment it were necessary to compensate for the decriminalisation of the prostitutes with the criminalisation of their clients. The latter are cast as miscreants while the former tend to be reduced to victims, more or less infantilised, after having long been treated as delinquents. The “women of ill repute” then become respectable by virtue of being judged merely irresponsible, which makes them suitable for re-education and “being led back to responsibility”, as in the case of their clients. In short: the men are to blame, the girls are just victims.

The adoption of this parliamentary Bill is nothing but the pathetic moral parade of politicians wanting to salve their delicate consciences at little cost. The negative effects are predictable: the casualisation and endangerment of prostitutes, heightened health risks, proliferation of clandestine networks, etc. But above all, it’s impossible to see how the police service, whose priority is to confront the terrorist threat, is going to be able to apply itself seriously to chasing customers! This law is quite simply unenforceable.

Why this concentration on the client?

It’s only one indicator amongst many others of the existence of a wave of scorn for men set off by a rogue feminism that I call “neofeminism”, for which “male domination” and “patriarchy” explain the greater part of the world’s ills. This leftist neofeminism, which classifies everybody as either dominating or dominated, miscreant (men) or victim (women), nourishes the sex-war and clearly identifies the enemy: the man, the human male, supposedly violent, dominator, potential exploiter and violator. We’re confronted here with a contemporary version of the witch-hunt, in which misogyny is hounded out by placing women on a pedestal. Let’s talk about “wizard-hunts”. The negative vision of masculinity is twinned with a positive vision of homosexuality, which has in turn morphed into a negative perception of heterosexuality: a process analogous to what happened when the legitimate fight against anti-Black racism drifted into “leucophobia”, anti-White racism. Under pressure from the neofeminists, one section of opinion has passed from the rejection of homophobia to the rejection of heterosexual men.

❝ Under pressure from the neofeminists, one section of opinion has passed from the rejection of homophobia to the rejection of heterosexual men.❞

The new hate-figure is the white heterosexual man over fifty, for whom the presumption of innocence does not apply. Anti-White racism therefore enters into a synthesis with the adoration of youth, disgust with the old, and scorn for men in general. This means that fear of men is a fear doubled by hatred towards men, misandry; a hatred worsened by fear and poisoned by a spirit of revenge or vengeance. I see here the emergence of a “second-sexism” or of a “neosexism” (the first being misogyny), which consists in denouncing men as a danger to the human race. There we have a negative stereotype that has to be countered, like all the others. But of course, it is not fought by the practitioners of official virtue. It’s ignored or denied. The struggle against misandry has not entered the pantheon of “just causes”.

What is the ideology of the neofeminists?

The first objective of the neofeminist catechism is the destruction of “patriarchy”, supposing that it exists. A futile idea in the age of triumphant, egalitarian individualism: patriarchal society now shares its defunct historical status with the divine right of kings. Neofeminism sets itself apart from classical feminism, which fought valiantly for the liberation or emancipation of women: a perfectly legitimate objective set for themselves by militant groups to achieve “equality between the sexes”, which tends now to reduce modestly to the call for equal pay.

It’s around the issue of free consent that the great confrontation is taking place between the partisans of sectarian, puritan and man-phobic neofeminism, which is Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian in origin, and their adversaries, who know that in France it is not possible to reduce the practice of prostitution to the slavery model. The abolitionists are always harping on the question of free consent, accusing prostitutes of lying or of fooling themselves when they declare that they’re not under the thumb of a pimp or a mafia network. As arrogant paternalists, they pretend to know better than the prostitutes themselves what’s good for them. They’re easy prey to utopianism: they dream of a world without prostitution as others dream of a classless society or a world without conflict. There are good reasons to mistrust those who want to purify moral conduct at all costs.

Would you say that sexism in France is a myth?

Antisexism is a reality, but classical sexism is on its way out: except in some immigrant communities, which act as academies for the subordination and enslavement of women. Extreme sexism and forced prostitution are now, for the most part, practices imported into France.

❝ Extreme sexism and forced prostitution are now, for the most part, practices imported into France.❞

Networks trafficking in immigrant women are known to have profited from the opening of borders. The paradox is that antisexism has become institutionalised and radicalised in France just when sexism (misogyny), by general consent condemned, barely survives. The hunt for the last vestiges of the earlier sexism is as vain and frenetic as the hunt for the last surviving fascists from 1945. Antifascism-without-fascism now coexists with an antisexism-without-sexism, other than residual.

What are the consequences of this state of affairs?

For inhabitants of the sociological universe of the extreme Left, any explanation of the criminal behaviour of the supposed “victim” can only entail accusations levelled against the “oppressors”. In this way, jihadist terrorism is presented as a consequence of the “islamophobia” attributed to the “oppressors”, who must be “whites”, Christians, Jews, or atheists. In the same way, sexual violence committed by muslim immigrants would be explained by their sexual misery, for which the only responsibility lay with “white” societies, which being intrinsically “racist”, are expected to stigmatise, exclude, segregate, and discriminate against them.

The affair of the sexual attacks in Cologne casts light on the recent metamorphosis in Leftist neofeminism, and on the trivialisation of this emergent cultural racism that is anti-White, nourished by the bad consciences of Europeans who mark themselves down as  ex-colonial masters, imperialists, or racists. Antiracists, above all the neofeminists, forget their frenetic antisexism only in one type of situation: when they sense the risk of “stigmatising” muslim immigrants, who in their eyes represent the highest type of the victim. Reading from the new antiracist holy book, they intone that “islamophobia” is the only real “racism” existing today, and the only one to be unconditionally condemned. To the sobs of the white man can therefore now  be added those of the white feminist, who seeks to pardon herself for being one. That’s why so many neofeminist activists have kept silent on the sexual aggressions committed on the night of 31st December 2015 in Cologne (and in other European towns), principally by immigrants from Morocco and Algeria, but also by “migrants” arriving from Iraq or Syria.

❝ The party of the militant abolitionists is satisfied, and the government appears to be governing when it puts a perfectly useless new law to the vote.❞

The denunciation of the new mortal sin that is “islamophobia”, when it’s written into the culture of excuse, produces a spectacular inversion of moral indignation: it consists in  playing down mass sexual violence by referring to the origin or religious identity of the perpetrators, while also denouncing the “discrimination” of which they would have been the victims, or the “opportunistic, racist use” to which the extreme Right puts these attacks against European women. A sad record for neofeminism: militant misandry is suspended only when the violent men are not of European origin and therefore represent the type of the excluded — victims in fact of their status as immigrants of muslim confession.  Behind this one-sided, pro-immigrant antiracism, behind also this strange, militant sycophancy towards Islam, can be detected the rise of an anti-White racism that refuses to recognise itself as such.

The fight against prostitution and the antiracist campaigns, are they part of the same movement?

The socialist campaign against the “system of prostitution” partakes of a sort of political manipulation already well oiled, based on the demonisation of an enemy straw-man. It’s all about inventing a terrible enemy, then calling for a general mobilisation against it to the accompaniment of repressive measures. The party of the militant abolitionists is satisfied, and the government appears to be governing when it puts a perfectly useless new law to the vote. You can bet that the abolitionism of the state will be as ineffective as the antiracism of the state that preceded it, of which the principal goal was to banish the National Front from the political stage. Assume that its perverse effects will be no less numerous. State antiracism as established by the Left, in trivialising normative projects such as “living together with our differences”, has produced two great perverse and contradictory effects: on the one hand, the setting in concrete of those differences, and on the other hand, the illusion that the salvation of France lies in the crucible, in miscegenation (as the pooling of differences), in a generalised mixing-up of everything. It has as a result favoured the appearance of the society of many communities and many conflicts in which we now live, where political and social questions are immersed in an ethnic or racial context. Islamo-terrorism is developing here, as in its natural habitat.

Are we living under a new totalitarianism?

The word “totalitarianism” is too strong a label to place on the pitiful mélange of impotence, weakness, and demagoguery that bears the name of “government”. France is captive to an invasive bureaucracy, weighed upon by pressure groups, and undermined by myriad conflicts. You could call it “totalitarianism lite“, the machine of state being reduced to a street-sweeper picking up the rubbish of all the modern utopias. This balmy despotism with a virtuous and “progressivist” face recognises itself above all in its normative and normalising rage to purify, in which the principle is an egalitarianism informed by the desire for a final levelling, and coloured by a theory of ecology based on hygiene. Its ideologues dream of a world without class, without inequalities, without conflicts, without borders, without differences between the sexes, without ethnic or racial differentiation, without whores, alcohol, tobacco, finance, sugar, fat, salt…. And of course, without Finkielkraut³. His bête noire and driving passion is this absolute insistence on everything (judged good) for everyone, involving a breakneck stampede towards ever more equality of conditions, or equal access to everything unconditionally: from marriage equality to IVF4 and surrogacy5 (children for all !), taking in universal base income on the way. The hard reality that disturbs their dreams has become unbearable. This stupidity reincarnated as ideology consists in denying it or in wishing to rehabilitate it. The destination identified by this optimism of the headless duck is “ageing well”. This is how  France, under anaesthetic, passes out of History.

❝ The machine of state is reduced to a street-sweeper picking up the rubbish of all the modern utopias.❞

How can there be a desirable future in a France that wants to transform itself into a gigantic soup kitchen? We needn’t despair, however. France has pulled itself up after many a débâcle. What has always saved her from disaster is the courage of the few.


¹Affaire BaupinDenis Baupin, the deputy speaker of the French National Assembly, who resigned in May 2016, after being accused of sexual harassment. He is married to French Housing Minister, Emmanuelle Cosse.

²Affaire CahuzacJérôme Cahuzac, a junior government minister, resigned in 2013 due to allegations of tax fraud.

³Finkielkraut : Alain Finkielkraut, a prominent French philosopher and writer, doyen of the social conservative grouping dubbed “néo-reactionnaire“. Member of the Académie Française.

4PMA : La procréation médicalement assistée.

5GPALa gestation pour autrui.