We were warned. Three decades ago, Jean Raspail published a novel, The Camp of the Saints, which served as a worst-case-scenario warning about the consequences of unchecked immigration into his native France and, by extension, into all of Europe. Raspail’s book was a big seller in his home country, but his message was not heeded. Now, of course, he is being vindicated.
Today, after 9/11, Madrid, London, and the broad-daylight murder of Theo Van Gogh, Paris is burning.
How could this have been allowed to happen? What led to this influx of lions into countries full of lambs?
In The Camp of the Saints, Raspail provided his answer. Those who welcome large quantities of immigrants, he gibed, were “righteous in their loathing of anything and everything that smacked of present-day Western society, and boundless in their love of whatever might destroy it.” And so he spun his outrageous tale: one million poverty-stricken people ship out of India, bound for Europe. Along the way, other countries refuse to allow this teeming armada even the meagerest docking privileges—and who could blame them? As Raspail describes the scene aboard the immigrant convoy, “Everywhere, rivers of sperm. Streaming over bodies, oozing between breasts, and buttocks, and thighs, and lips, and fingers … a welter of dung and debauch.”
But France is persuaded that these people are a “million Christs,” whose arrival will “signal the dawn of a just, new day.” In other words, Raspail writes, what the French are lacking is a proper sense of national-racial consciousness, “the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest.” Instead, he concludes, after having been beaten down by decades of multicultural propaganda, “the white race” has become “nothing more than a million sheep.”
And so this Indian multitude—reduced to 800,000 by rampant onboard disease and violence—is allowed to land in Southern France, whereupon the Ganges Horde immediately commences rape, rack, and ruin. Then other immigrants come pouring in to the West, too: “the swarthy millions roaming the streets of New York and London, or the myriad blacks and Arabs ready to spew from the cellars of Paris.” And so the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.
Many, of course, have simply dismissed Raspail as racist. But two factors elevate his writing and his message.
First, he demonstrates a canniness about human nature and what it takes to motivate people to defend their homeland. “Man never has really loved humanity all of a piece,” he writes. It’s inherent that we like some more than others—and some not at all. Indeed, in the spirit of Edmund Burke, the wisest of political scientists, Raspail invokes the spine-stiffening power of stolidity and continuity that is unique to one’s own place. Describing one Frenchman’s centuries-old house, he lyricizes, “Each object … proclaimed the dignity of those who had lived there—their discretion, their propriety, their reserve, their taste for those solid traditions that one generation can pass on to the next, so long as it still takes pride in itself.” Such objects, and the ideas that connect them and give them value, are the touchstones of patriotism. As another Frenchman, Emile Durkheim, observed, nations survive only if they unite around common emblems of nationhood.
Another who agreed that group solidarity requires a sense of uniqueness was George Orwell. Writing in 1941, when his country was in danger of losing to Germany, Orwell rallied his fellow citizens, reminding them, “When you come back to England from any foreign country, you have immediately the sensation of breathing a different air. Even in the first few minutes dozens of small things conspire to give you this feeling. The beer is bitterer, the coins are heavier, the grass is greener.” This paean is romantic, perhaps even irrational, rhapsodizing, but Orwell had a war to win, and so he offered even more particularist patriotism: “There is something distinctive and recognizable in English civilization. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain. It is somehow bound up with solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and winding roads, green fields and red pillar-boxes. … Moreover it is continuous, it stretches into the future and the past, there is something in it that persists, as in a living creature.” After reading that apostrophe, what son or daughter of Albion wouldn’t leap to the defense of their sceptered isle against invaders or despoilers?
With comparable sentiments, Raspail summons up his poetical-historical defense of France. In the novel, an aging professor, clearly a symbol of France itself, muses aloud about long-ago Gauls who defended their homeland. “Had I been with Aetius,” he pronounces, “I think I would have reveled in killing my share of Hun.” Girding himself further as he prepares to take up arms against the looming sea of trouble, the old man reflects about what it might have been like to fight alongside Charles Martel, Godfrey of Bouillon, the Byzantines, and Don Juan of Austria, who defeated the Turks at the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571. In Raspail’s view, the ghosts of the past should speak loudly to the present with their common adjuration: repel the barbarians.
Second, if Raspail was right about what motivates people to defend their homeland, he was equally right about what it takes to de-motivate them. His novel may be a dystopic parable, but he was dead-on in his depiction of the systemic guilt-tripping that has afflicted the West. Only a few years before he published his book, Susan Sontag had wailed, “The white race is the cancer of human history.” Using such suicidal sentiments as grist for his fictional mill, Raspail sets up a confrontation between a conventional Everyman and a group of self-hating multiculturalists. Says Everyman: “There’s not one of you proud of his skin, and all that it stands for.” To which the answer comes, “Not proud, or aware of it either. … That’s the price we have to pay for the brotherhood of man. We’re happy to pay it.”
Yet just as Raspail was right about the beliefs of many fellow Westerners—our breed is bad, we deserve to be birth-controlled and aborted out of existence—he was also right about the grand strategy of many in the Third World, for whom “the winning of the North,” through immigration-invasion, has been the ultimate goal. So while Raspail did not know the specifics of Vicente Fox’s slow-motion demographic crusade to recapture much of America for Mexico, he apprehended the general truth, decades before Fox first articulated his reconquista.
The irony of France’s situation today —as immigrants and the children of immigrants commit exactly the kind of mayhem that Raspail warned against—is that far more than most peoples, the French have a strong sense of nationhood, from their overall striving for la gloire to their picky campaign to purge non-French words from their vocabulary. And unlike, say, the British, the French have no advanced tradition of civil liberties that prevents a tough approach in the assimilation of foreigners. Yet on the other extreme, unlike, say, the Germans, they have no totalitarian history to live down. So in theory, there’s no reason why the French couldn’t use statist coercion to turn North African Muslims into good and loyal Frenchmen.
But now we know, in reality, that Paris has failed. And why is that?
Most obviously, the French have a lot of people to Gallicize; almost 10 percent of the population are Muslims, not the gentler Hindus of Raspail’s imagining. Moreover, many of these Third Worlders have imbibed the radical ideology of Frantz Fanon, the French West Indian who became a partisan for radical causes, culminating in his 1961 book, Les Damnés de la Terre (The Wretched of the Earth). Fanon’s influence has always been greatest in the Francophone world, and so his hymns to the “cleansing power of violence” have been northstars of Euro-leftist philosophy.
Piled on top of Fanon is the legacy of 1968, which hit France even harder than the United States A critical mass of the French intelligentsia has permanently embraced the worst of ’60s ideology, which holds that all authority is terrorism, that the cure of nationalism is internationalism, and that the West, in particular, is guilty as charged—of all charges. These were the people that Raspail most feared and at whom The Camp of the Saints was most targeted.
In the decades since, the premiers of Paris cultivated an image of hard-nosed realpolitik, in which the coolly calculating descendants of Descartes would use facts and logic to resolve the Ethnic Question. And so in 2004, the government imposed a ban on headscarves—worn mostly, of course, by Muslim women—in state schools and in other public institutions. The new law was intended to accelerate the French-ification of the non-native population, and it might have worked, if it had come 10 or 20 years earlier. Instead, mostly unemployed Muslim youths, with no citizenship in their home country, and no loyalty to their new country, have staged their own Lord of the Flies along the Seine. No wonder the French are so cynical about everything, especially their government; they have paid their taxes, suffered through the political speeches, and now they discover that l’etat has failed in its most elemental Hobbesian function, which is the maintenance of order in the streets.
But even before the recent riots, the aging Raspail—he was born in 1925—was bluntly pessimistic about France’s fate. Last year he published a piece in Le Figaro, declaring
[T]hose of French stock—bludgeoned by the throbbing tom-tom of human rights, of ‘the welcome to the outsider,’ of the ‘sharing’ dear to our bishops etc., framed by a whole repressive arsenal of laws known as ‘anti-racist,’ conditioned from early childhood with cultural and behavioral ‘crossbreeding,’ with the requirements of ‘plural France’ and with all the by-products of old Christian charity—will no longer have any alternative but to degrade their own children, or merge, without offspring, into new-mould French ‘citizen’ of 2050.
Because I am convinced that the fate of France is sealed, because ‘My house is their house’ (Mitterand), inside ‘Europe whose roots are as much Muslim as Christian’ (Chirac), because the situation is moving irreversibly towards the final swing in 2050 which will see French stock amounting to only half the population of the country, the remainder comprising Africans, Moors and Asians of all sorts from the inexhaustible reserve of the Third World, predominantly Islamic, understood to be fundamentalist Jihadists, this dance is only the beginning. … France is not the only concern. All of Europe marches to its death.
Of course, it might not be only Europe. America faces threats, too. And just on Monday came news that Australian authorities had arrested 17 men allegedly involved in a terror-bombing conspiracy. One of these “Australians” is Abu Bakr, a “spiritual leader” born in Algeria, who until the arrests was best known for extolling Osama bin Laden as a “great man.”
This should serve as a reminder to us all: while a few in the West have been sounding the alarm against foreign invasion for many years now, many in the East have been sounding a clarion call of their own—that they’re coming to conquer us.
James P. Pinkerton is a columnist for Newsday and a fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. He served in the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.