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Houellebecq’s SOUMISSION: Would Nietzche Say Islam Can Redeem Europe?


Michel Houellebecq (pronounced "Welbeck")

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, the popular French novelist Michel Houellebecq is in the headlines because his latest book Soumission is being interpreted as an attack on Islam. But the truth is far more subversive and this acclaimed French writer has something far deeper to tell us about the emptiness at the heart of the modern West.

I’ve eagerly devoured all of Houellebecq’s books since Particules élémentaires (1997), which I discovered and devoured during a bumpy flight whose discomforts I barely noticed. Houellebecq (the pen name of Michel Thomas) provided a book with a fluid French style, ingeniously contrived erotic scenes (Houellebecq may be the greatest writer of elegant pornography since John Updike) and a plot seemingly designed to annoy the Left.

The book (translated into English as Atomized) tells us about the life of famous biologist Michel Djersinski, who mysteriously disappears in the twenty-first century after having plotted the path to a new level of human consciousness. Djersinski’s world is almost a parody of the post-bourgeois, post-Christian society the contemporary West is turning into. Family life and personal relations have dissolved beyond anything that was imaginable before the second half of the twentieth century.

The most controversial aspect of the novel may be its contemptuous treatment of the radical student movement of the 1960s. In the book, the world created by student radicals is both a harbinger of social dissolution and the breeding ground for serial killers who go about killing members of the upper class. Since Houellebecq himself looks disheveled, wears his hair long and unkempt, and publicly rages against Christianity as well as Islam, he seems able to explore such themes without being destroyed. Indeed, in 2010 Houellebecq received the prestigious Prix Goncourt for his novel La carte et le territoire.

Houellebecq wraps his repugnance for the Left in fantastic scenarios set in future time periods. Therefore, his contempt for PC has the cover of “fiction.” Not surprisingly, the subject of one of Houellebecq’s most widely read essays is one of his favorite authors, H.P. Lovecraft, a man of the very far Right. But Lovecraft also put a degree of separation between his views and the reader by embedding them in fantasy literature, allowing Lovecraft to be read even now as an artist rather than a “right-wing extremist.”

Whereas Lovecraft, although married to a Russian Jewish milliner, was remarkably open about his anti-Semitism, Houellebecq protests loudly to newspapers that “I am always with the Jews.” Although he despises monotheistic religion, he also praises the Bible as “beautiful because the Jews have a huge literary talent.” Is this genuine or is it Houellebecq’s effort not to push the envelope too far? I won’t ask Kevin MacDonald for a response.

In Houellebecq’s latest novel, Soumission, we encounter some of the usual fixtures of Houellebecq’s earlier novels. This includes titillating sexual scenes, in this case between the protagonist, Francois, and his Jewish lady friend Miriam, who is twenty years younger and who takes off for Israel with her parents in the wake of Muslim violence against Jews. We also find more send-ups of PC-obsessed academics and plenty of characters who can’t quite bring themselves to settle down and create families.

As in other novels, Houellebecq conjures a near future that resembles an extension of already existing trends. In Soumission, he creates the Muslim Fraternity Party under its outwardly-genial leader Ben Abbes. The Party takes power in 2022 after Francois Hollande, the current leftist French president, is eliminated in the first round of the présidentielle.

In Houellebecq’s fictional world, Hollande has somehow managed to hold on to his office for more than one term and he has achieved this feat in a political situation much like ours. The right-center Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, which is now headed by Nicolas Sarkozy, is generally just a variation of its left-center Socialist opposition. According to the character Francois, a university professor, almost nothing important separates these blocs in 2022. Given the “mediocrity of the political choices,” one has to wonder why anyone would bother to vote for either party. And yet Francois observes that the “altérnance démocratique” of the Establishment parties are so proud of themselves that they will unleash war to impose this arrangement on other countries that don’t share their enthusiasm.

When confronted by the possibility that the National Front might win the presidential election, the two Establishment parties choose to support Ben Abbes and his Muslim brotherhood. This is not in the least implausible. After all, Marine Le Pen and the FN leadership were not allowed to march in the demonstration held in support of Charlie Hebdo, while the march was thrown open to Muslims and the French Left. It’s an example of what John Derbyshire has called the “Establishment Pincer”—seen most recently in Greece.

Besides, in our own world, the neoconservative American media

John Derbyshire On “The Left And Human Nature”

[John Derbyshire is ill this week, which gives us an opportunity to post this talk, delivered to the H.L. Mencken Club Conference, November 1, 2014. The audio of the original is here—slight adaptations have been made for print purposes.]

I was told that I was to be on a panel discussion, but I never quite know what that means. Should I prepare something, or wing it, or just wait for other people to say something? So I just prepared a few remarks in a discussion kind of way just to approach the conference topic: the Left and Human Nature.

The introduction is from last week’s news. I am an avid reader of news sites because I do a little podcast every weekend called Radio Derb, which of course should be Radio “Daw-b” but it’s kind of established now. So every morning I get up and I read through a whole bunch of news websites to see what’s been happening, and not just current affairs-type news, but also news from the human sciences, from mathematics (in which I have an interest), and so on.

This is from one of the human sciences websites; actually, it’s from the website last week [October 31, 2014]. The headline is: Child’s Later Life Intelligence Not Influenced by Parenting. Text:

Many parents believe that interaction with their children, whether it is reading them a story at bedtime or having family meals each evening, will have some influence on their intelligence later in life. But a new study suggests this is not the case, and their later-life intelligence may be more dependent on genetics.The research team, led by Kevin Beaver, a criminology professor at Florida State University, published their findings in the journal Intelligence...

That is the opening of the story. Now, this is not new. Any of you who follow the human sciences will remember, almost 25 years ago now, Judith Rich Harris caused something of a stir with her book, “The Nurture Assumption.” Mrs. Harris, who has been a semi-invalid for much of her adult life, had a job collating and organizing research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals about child development. After being elbow-deep in this material for several years, she started to notice that there was something missing. She would read her 200th article on how aggressive parents produce aggressive children (if you slap your kids around, they grow up and slap their kids around, and you made them do it), and she started thinking, “Maybe there is some innate disposition to aggression which is inheritable.” Your kids are not aggressive because you made them aggressive by example, but you passed on that disposition to them by rules of ordinary biology.

She then wrote The Nurture Assumption about child raising, which came to the conclusion that all of the literature that she had been reviewing all those years left out something important. The finished human adult is about 50% formed by genetics, 45% by nonshared environment, which seems to be mostly peer groups, and 0-5% by parenting. Her most controversial statement is at the end of the book: if you took an ordinary American suburban street and took out all the kids from the families and randomly reassigned them to other families, their adult outcome would be pretty much unchanged. It caused a lot of fuss.

But Judith Rich Harris noted that what she was saying conformed pretty well to folk psychology. It you put the word “folk’” in front of something, it degrades it intellectually—but, in fact, we as human beings

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The Would-Be Dhimmis Of Duke: Why Did They Cave?


Duke Chapel: Not Yet A Minaret

The historic American nation won a victory at an unlikely place—a university campus. Of course, it didn’t take long for the Main Stream Media to blame it on “threats.” The truth is it came from the kind of political and cultural self-preservation reflex that America desperately needs.

Less than one week after the Islamic terrorist attacks in France, Duke University happily announced that the Duke Muslim Students Association would broadcast the call-to-prayer from the Duke Chapel bell tower [Muslim Students at Duke to Begin Weekly Call-to-Prayer, Duke Today, January 13, 2015]. But after only two days, the school reversed itself, a victory for Americans who don’t want their communities resembling the Third World more than they already do. [Duke Announces Change to Friday’s Call-to-Prayer, Duke Today, January 15, 2015]

After the reversal, there were claims that “threats” were responsible for the decision. But like so many campus rape and noose hoaxes, the “threats” were probably imaginary. A close look reveals that there is something suspicious about the timing of the claims.

On the afternoon of Thursday January 15th, Duke’s “vice president for public affairs and government relations” Michael Schoenfeld (email him) announced, apparently with a straight face, “that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.” This announcement was repeated by WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio, at 3:58 p.m. The initial report mentioned no threats. [Muslim Duke Student: ‘I Hope We Can Be Visible, January 15, 2015]

Yet according to a report in the Washington Post, Schoenfeld was mentioning a “serious and credible” threat by “Thursday night.” The director of Duke’s “Islamic Studies Center,” one Omid Safi, was repeating this claim by “Thursday night.” [Duke University reverses decision, cancels weekly Muslim call to prayer, by Susan Svrluga and Michelle Boorstein, January 15, 2015]

The timing is a smoking gun. If threats were the real reason for the reversal, that would have been reported first.

The Charlotte News Observer noted this discrepancy without comment. As reporter Jane Stancill put it:

At the time [of the initial announcement], they [Duke officials] said the effort to unify was not having the intended effect. They later cited threats and serious concerns about safety.

[Duke religious leaders disagreed on Muslim call-to-prayer decision, January 23, 2015]

So why the time lag?

The answer may be the university simply decided it needed an excuse so it could pin the decision on something other than public outrage. The university provided no description of any actual threat, nor has the MSM reported an actual threat. According to an article from the Associated Press, Duke vice president Schoenfeld said there were “concerns about safety and security, but he declined to elaborate on whether any specific threats had been received” [Duke cancels Muslim call to prayer; cites opposition, safety, by Jonathan Drew, January 16, 2015].

It’s hard to avoid the possibility that the school fell back on the vague explanation of unverified “threats” to explain its retreat.

Of course, now the myth

Immigration, Outsourcing And Now Fast-Tracking TPP–When Will GOP Stand Up For Americans?

Last November, Republicans grew their strength in Congress to levels […]

The Fulford File | From ANIMAL FARM To AMERICAN SNIPER—Cultural Marxist Capitalists Leave Billions On The Table, But There’s Hope For American Culture Yet

A Tweet about the rejection of George Orwell's Animal Farm by Alfred Knopf, a major New York publisher in the 1940s:

The text of that says

Stupid and pointless fable in which the animals take over a farm and run it, and their society takes about the course of the Soviet Union as seen by Westbrook Pegler. It all goes to show that a parallel carried out to the last detail is boring and obvious. Even Pegler gets off a few smart lines now and then but this is damn dull. Very very NFK. [Not For Knopf]

The point of this is that Knopf, a major publishing house which had at least one actual Communist editor, Angus Cameron—when a New York Times obituary is headlined "forced out during McCarthy era" (November 23, 2002), that generally means "Communist"—is rejecting Animal Farm because it reflects "Soviet Union as seen by Westbrook Pegler".

If you've forgotten, or never learned, about Westbrook Pegler, he was the 1940s equivalent of Glenn Beck, an anti-Communist, anti-New Deal syndicated columnist who worked for William Randolph Hearst. And in those days the pro-Communist Left (sometimes they would call themselves anti-anti-Communist) was very powerful.

Slate thought it worthwhile to attack Pegler posthumously in 2004, [Dangerous Minds | William F. Buckley soft-pedals the legacy of journalist Westbrook Pegler in The New Yorker, By Diane McWhorter, March 4, 2004] and it was weird to see how when Sarah Palin quoted something innocuous Pegler said (about growing “good people in our small towns”) Leftists went and dug up hateful quotes Pegler said to attack her with.

The point here: Knopf knew, institutionally, that it was supposed to reject books that challenged the Narrative.

Thus in 1995, Jacob Weisberg, reviewing Editor Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation in New York magazine, complained that Random House had failed in its duty protect the Narrative:

Not so long ago, the literature of egregious bigotry was treated like pornography. You had to send for it by mail—from backwoods presses that advertised in the classified sections of conservative magazines—or frequent the political equivalent of dirty bookstores. Today, you just walk into any Barnes & Noble. The Free Press set the precedent last fall with Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein`s The Bell Curve, which argued that blacks are genetically less intelligent that whites. Now comes Random House with Peter Brimelow`s Alien Nation., another expression of intellectualized white rage that attempts to do for immigrants, and Hispanics in particular, what Murray did for blacks. Odds are it will enrage sensible folk, convince no one, and earn a small fortune. [Links added—the original was on paper.]

Wait: “earn a small fortune”? Don't publishers like a small fortune?

You wouldn't believe how many copies of Animal Farm the people

Indian Diversity Superstars And The Cancer Of Dishonesty At The Heart Of American Medical Research

indiandoctorSee also by Thomas O. Meehan: Patels From Hell: Importing Fraud From The Indian Subcontinent and Why Does America Tolerate Indian Immigrant Medical Fraud?

This week, Duke University and Dr. Anil Potti(pictured right) will go on trial for falsifying research in an experimental cancer treatment. The suit was brought by the estate of Juliet Jacobs, a cancer patient who died after participating in a clinical trial [Potti’s junk science trial delayed because of illness, by Jason deBruyn, Triangle Business Journal, January 26, 2015] But the real story is not the trial, but how the American medical establishment willfully ignored an Indian immigrant doctor falsifying his research, leading to worthless data, hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted, and the possibility that cancer patients received mistaken treatment. And there’s no way of knowing how much more of this fraud is out there.

The case of Dr. Anil Potti is merely the latest example in an endless chronicle of Indian immigrant professional shenanigans. Dr. Potti was born in May 1972 in Hyderabad and graduated from Christian Medical College, Vellore India in 1995. Because we all know that medicine is something the Americans won’t do, he finished his internship in Internal Medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in 1999. In 2006 he completed training in hematology and oncology at Duke University [Anil Potti Licensee Information, Education, Certifications, & Area of Practice, North Carolina Medical Board, April 15, 2014].

Dr. Potti and his colleague Dr. Joseph Nevins developed a prediction model that aimed to allow cancer treatment based on the genetics contained within a sample from a tumor. They attempted to monetize this alleged accomplishment by starting a company named CancerGuide and raising $10.5 million.

CancerGuide even formed a partnership with Duke University to pursue “dramatic advances in the management of cancer treatment.” [Duke, Durham’s CancerGuide in alliance, by James Gallagher, Triangle Business Journal, April 6, 2010]

However, The Cancer Letter, a weekly publication for specialists, reported that Potti had overstated his credentials by claiming to have been a Rhodes Scholar. Potti was suspended and the cancer studies he was conducting were halted. More importantly, researchers around the country started questioning the research Potti’s team was producing. [Duke Scientist Suspended Over Rhodes Scholarship Claim, by Natasha Singer, New York Times, July 20, 2010]

The eventual result: much of Potti’s work was completely retracted. Anything based on

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REDSTATE Conservatives Turn On Renee Ellmers On Abortion… But Why Not On Immigration?

Immigration patriots already knew that North Carolina GOP congressthing Renee Ellmers was a traitor. Now the pro-lifers at RedState know it too. But will they continue to prioritize attacks on immigration patriots rather than a GOP Establishment that despises them? is focused on immigration and the National Question—whether the U.S. can survive as a nation-state, the political expression of a particular people. It does not take a position on abortion, and we know our writers and readers are on both (all) sides of the issue. But we are vitally interested in any clash between GOP leaders and the party’s base, because it is the GOP leaders who have systematically frustrated the base’s desire for patriotic immigration reform.

And Ellmers turned on the pro-life Republican base faster than the French government turned on free speech after the Islamic terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo. On the very eve of the annual March for Life, an event that brought half a million pro-life protesters to the Capitol, Ellmers waged an insurgent campaign within the Republican caucus to defeat a bill that would have banned late term abortions. [Abortion bill dropped amid concerns of female GOP lawmakers , by Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post, January 21, 2015] Thus, at the hands of a Southern Republican, the pro-choice movement can celebrate a victory and the already disorganized Republican caucus looks even more hapless [Planned Parenthood seizes on House GOP’s abortion bill retreat, by Sarah Ferris, The Hill, January 22, 2015]

The base is outraged. Jim Duncan, chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, was apparently already looking at a primary challenge to Ellmers but his incipient rebellion now has serious momentum behind it. Roll Call is reporting that her abortion vote may mean Ellmers will face a “bruising primary from the conservative wing of her party in 2016 [Renee Ellmers May Face Primary Challenge, by Emily Cahn, January 23, 2015].

The Respectable Rightists of RedState are especially outraged. Erick Erickson spat that Ellmers is a “damnable liar” who “must be ruined politically” for claiming “she’d vote for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act after she ensured it would not pass.” He proclaimed that “the pro-life movement must stop being the whores of the GOP” and mused, “Maybe it is time for a third party to give the GOP competition” [The Pro-Life Movement Must Stop Being Whores of the Republican Party, RedState, January 22, 2015].

Thomas Crown, a former Director of RedState vowed: “I will never vote Republican again. Not for any reason… today, the Party stands for indifference in the face of a man-made cataclysm of flesh and blood, and for apathy toward good and cooperation with evil.” [The Friend of My Enemy is My Enemy, by Thomas Crown, RedState, January 22, 2015]

RedState Commissar Leon Wolf wrote:

41153-bruce6pm-640x360[1]Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC ) was swept into office in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party support and based on the fact that she had the good fortune to have a Democrat incumbent who let himself get videotaped assaulting some college kids. The video in question went nationally viral and Ellmers’ election became something of a cause celebre in conservative circles. When she narrowly pulled off the victory, people expected great things from her.

However, since her election, she has been one of the worst members of the GOP caucus…Ellmers is either lying to her constituents about being pro-life or she has become a poltroon on this issue now that the GOP has taken control of the house and she figures she can increase her district’s share of the federal feeding trough... It would be better to have a Democrat in this seat than a cancer in the Republican caucus.”

[Renee Ellmers is Worse Than a Democrat, January 21, 2015]

And RedState regular Aaron Gardner triggered progressives around the country by demanding of Ellmers, “Tell me why you are worthy of this life you have been given, Representative.” [Is Renee Ellmers Worthy of Life?, January 23, 2015]

Nevertheless, it’s hard to take these kinds of militant statements seriously when we review RedState’s recent record on immigration. After all, Erickson has made some excellent comments in the past about the baleful impact of consultants on the Republican Party, but has apparently retreated on the issue now that the Republicans might have the potential to do something about it.

Significantly, RedState purged Daniel Horowitz for his excellent immigration updates and issued an abrupt volte face on the immigration issue. Leon Wolf openly