One can understand Bruckner’s reluctance to endorse the apocalyptic sensibility. He is right to regard with a skeptical eye the ever-renewed temptation to play Cassandra and is largely, if not entirely, correct in his diagnosis of the psychology involved in its utterance. And yet the sense of foreboding, the dread of civilizational foreclosure that is preparing, continues to haunt Bruckner so insistently that his anti-apocalypticism seems more like a confirmation than a denial. The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks. One emerges from a reading of Bruckner with the potent sense that the rhetoric of disaster is not a mere falling back on the ancient tradition of the world running down, of “the latter time of all seeds is less in power,” as a standard trope of classical literature has it.
Quite the contrary. We have succumbed once again, as our forefathers did in the 1930s, to the habit of disregard and the naïve belief in harmonious resolutions. Before it is too late, we must now, says Bruckner, leave behind the “cocon rassurant de la coutume,” (“the reassuring cocoon of custom”). “Si nous ne comprenons pas, c’est que nous sommes sourds et aveugles!” (“If we do not understand, it’s because we’re deaf and blind!”). According to Bruckner, the Western mind is infected by bad conscience for its history of colonialism, which neutralizes any concerted effort to resist the inundation and retribution that is coming. Make no mistake about this, he warns, the Islamic invasion is underway, while the West, “avec une inconscience suicidaire…s’agenouille devant les fous de Dieu…” (“with a suicidal thoughtlessness…kneels down before the madmen of God…”).
On the whole, Bruckner and his compatriots get it right. They see much more clearly than the punditocracy, the editors and anchormen, and the liberal-left intelligentsia who muddy our thinking with their analgesic prescriptions for the sense of unease that many of us feel. Of course, this somber theme has been explored by non-Gallic writers as well—one thinks, for example, of James Burnham’s Suicide of the West, Robert Bork’s Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Walter Laqueur’s The Last Days of Europe, and most recently Jamie Glazov’s United in Hate, Bruce Bawer’s Surrender, Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Theodore Dalrymple’s The New Vichy Syndrome, Melanie Phillips’ The World Turned Upside Down and Thomas Sowell’s Dismantling America, among others. But the French confrerie is of a piece, so to speak, identified as a school of thought and presenting a unified front against the menace of multicultural dissolution. It is like listening to an orchestra rather than to individual instruments. This is why the Nouveaux Philosophes should be read and pondered.
In our historical juncture, they urge us, with the Middle East erupting, with international terrorist movements seeking to wreak planetary havoc by any and every means at their disposal, with a plainly deranged, unstable and theocratic regime in Iran careening towards the acquisition of nuclear technology and sophisticated delivery systems like the Shahab 3D, Shahab 4, Kavoshgar and Sajjil-2 ballistic missiles that can reach any country in Europe including Britain, with vast numbers of Third World poor streaming to the West and gradually altering the demographic equation, with the growing strength of Islam not only in Europe, where it is decisively out-reproducing the host populations, but in America as well, and with Jews being set up as scapegoats everywhere—in the newsrooms, the universities, the labor unions, the professions, the Churches, the United Nations, the political elites, the court of public opinion—we need to respond with understanding, moral fortitude and the willingness to resist no matter what the cost. Otherwise, as much as the realization may make us squirm, it really will be Apocalypse Soon.
The message of the New Philosophers may be tersely summarized. Read the newspapers skeptically. Throw darts at the talking heads. Distrust our appeasing politicos. Know that the contemporary left, if it is not aggressively countered, will open the gates to the barbarians and bring ruin upon us all. We must no longer heed the voices that would sedate us into a false sense of security or absolve us of the sin of being who we are by acceding to the demands of our adversaries. We should also keep in mind that the Islamic antagonist is very explicit in bringing his millennial expectations to pass, with surahs like Koran 42:17,18 as warrant: “The Hour of Doom may be fast approaching…Indeed, those who doubt the Hour are in grossest error.”
There is, to be sure, a certain continuity at work in French thought regarding the emergence of radical Islam and the Western failure to deal with it. As far back as 1956, acclaimed author and government official André Malraux had his finger on the pulse of the future. Malraux warned that the great problem of our time was the rise of Islam, that the Western world seemed unprepared to oppose it, and that Muslims preferred “the future of their race to the benefits we intend to bring them.” The New Philosophers have taken up and expanded his message, arguing that this is no time for ethically insipid musings, but for outrage, energy, insight and courage. For we are now embroiled in one of the great crises of our civilizational existence.
Pages: 1 2