The American Conservative, 10/3/2019
Eric Zemmour, an Algerian-born French Jew, is a best-selling author and the most popular figure on the French Right. He delivered the keynote address at Marion Maréchal’s big Convention Of The Right in Paris last weekend (TAC’s Scott McConnell reported on it here). Zemmour is an extremely controversial figure in France. A French-speaking reader writes to say that after delivering his speech on Saturday
Zemmour is now facing multiple lawsuits from anti-racist groups, has been roundly condemned in a petition by a French journalists’ association and has had media appearances and contracts cancelled. If nothing else, [the speech] should inform you as to the mood in France, at least among a rather large faction of the right.
The reader translated the speech into English for this blog, though he asks that I not identify him, as it could hurt him professionally to be associated with Zemmour in any way. I am publishing the speech below not because I endorse it, but as an important political document for American readers to understand what’s happening in France now.
Below, the speech by Eric Zemmour, delivered in Paris on September 28:
“Hello. Ah, I see there are quite a few of you! I… I didn’t expect that. I had been warned but didn’t believe it. All these people who come when you talk about a convention of the right, a union of the right, of bringing together all forces of the right, of a popular and – who knows? – even populist gathering, of an alliance between the Rassemblement National [ex-National Front] and the Républicains [center right], of a gathering bringing together populists and the dissidents of France Insoumise [far left]. So many impossible, forbidden words. I’ve been told that people love their illusions but I didn’t think it was to this point.
But, really, where do you think you are? In the United States? In Hungary? In Poland? In Italy? In Austria? Do you really believe you’re going to avoid Marine [Le Pen]-Macron in the second round [of voting in the 2022 presidential election] and the reelection of Macron? You’re not serious, not reasonable, you can’t really believe it, can you? I know that Joseph de Maistre said that the French people were the easiest to deceive, the hardest to set right, the best at deceiving others, but even so! It’s settled, it’s done, you came for nothing. Move along, nothing to see here! You know that you’re in France, don’t you, and that the French right is the world’s most stupid. We’re the country of human rights and the world’s most stupid right. They go together.
No, you really aren’t very reasonable. And I’ve read over the theme of this Convention: “How to find an alternative to progressivism?” But how and why would you seek an alternative to progressivism? Don’t you hear that the word progress in this pleasant term? Have you given a thought to our peasant ancestors dying from hunger or to Louis XIV as he was tortured by Molière’s doctors?
No, you are not serious, not reasonable. There’s nothing more important to our era than progress, it’s our great religion. Better than Jesus Christ or Moses. And do you realize it’s been two centuries? How can you refuse the outstretched hand of progress? How can you not praise the magnificent industrial revolution that paved the way for the slaughter of Verdun? How can you not praise the science that gave us the atomic bomb? How can you not go into raptures over the sublime French Revolution, which gave us the Terror, and the bright future of communism, which gave us the gulag? Come on, really, how can you not be progressive?
It must be admitted we long hesitated. And there was ample reason. Alongside these massacres, so very progressive, there were also antibiotics, penicillin, social security and cortisone shots for your voice.
But in the last few decades, the least hesitation has become impossible. Progressivism can no longer be debated. The reign of the free individual has brought down ancient prejudices and the old barriers between humans. The patriarchy is dead and women are freed from thousands of years of oppression. The slaves have been released from their shackles, Caroline de Haas [feminist activist] and Rokhaya Diallo [anti-racist activist] are queens of the world. It’s a far cry from Bonaparte and Victor Hugo.
Happy globalization has freed hundreds of millions of Chinese and Africans from misery. Too bad if it has plunged tens of thousands of Westerners into poverty and unemployment. Everyone gets their turn. After all, white workers profited from colonization and unequal trade. It’s only justice that they pay for it now.
The beauties of the most recent progress leave me each day more astounded. How can you resist the charm of this wind of freedom now blowing across France and the West? How can you not approve all these laws that punish thought and speech since one is much freer when one thinks correctly and silences bad thoughts?
How can you not be happier when you see these very hairy men finally admit their true nature as women, when you see these women who no longer need the disgusting contact of men to make babies, when you see these mothers who no longer need to give birth to be mothers? As the wonderful Agnès Buzyn [French government Minister of Solidarity and Health] puts it, “a woman can be a father”.
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