Home/Rod Dreher/The Value of Submission

The Value of Submission

The Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld considers Michel Houllebecq’s new novel, Submission, which is now out in English (Soumission is the French title). Excerpts:

Soumission is the title of a new book by the formidable French writer Michel Houllebecq. Judging by everything I had read and heard, I thought it was a description of all the terrible things that would happen in France under a Muslim Government.

It is not. Mainly it is a devastating—devastating, I say—critique of modern French, and in many ways Western, society. For a millennium, people used to worship the Christian God. Next came patriotism as represented, in France, by the great poet Charles Péguy. By now, though, both of these ideals are stone-dead. The outcome is a society that recognizes no higher law. Nothing that is sacred and stands above the desires and caprices of individual people. One in which “emancipated” women, competing with men and in many ways behaving like them, have nothing to offer them except a good bl**job or a nice a*s. In which, in other words, women are as bad, or as good, as prostitutes.

This is a world in which the family is supposed to be based on “love,” but in which a very large percentage of all marriages end in divorce. In which there are very few children—throughout the book, Houllebecq does not mention even one. In which adults leave the care of their aged parents to uneducated foreign workers with whom, in many cases, they cannot even communicate. A society which claims to be free, yet in which it is impossible for anyone to be a more than a few days away from home without being flooded by all kinds of letters from the authorities.

Van Creveld narrates the plot of the book, and says that a particular character submits to Islam, and has no regrets:

In view of what Western society has become, is there any reason why anyone should?

Over to you, Jones.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

leave a comment

Latest Articles