Alain de Benoist
Alain de Benoist in 2012
|Alma mater||University of Paris|
|Modernization and secularization of Christian Values, Repaganization of the West, Pensée unique, Nouvelle Droite, Ethnopluralism|
Alain de Benoist de Gentissart ( /
French people are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.
Nouvelle Droite, sometimes shortened to the initialism "ND", is a far-right political movement that emerged in France during the late 1960s. The movement has links to older fascist groups and some political scientists regard it as a form of fascism, although this characterisation is rejected by many of the ND's adherents.
Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation is defined in terms of ethnicity.
Principally influenced by thinkers of the German Conservative Revolution,Benoist is opposed to Christianity, the rights of man, neoliberalism, representative democracy, egalitarianism; and what he sees as embodying and promoting those values, namely the United States.
The Conservative Revolution, also known as the "neo-conservative" or "neo-nationalist" movement, was a German national conservative movement prominent during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), in the years between World War I and Nazi Germany.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, set by France's National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human civil rights document from the French Revolution.
His work has been influential with the alt-right movement in the United States, and he presented a lecture on identity at a National Policy Institute conference hosted by Richard B. Spencer; however, he has distanced himself from the movement.
The alt-right, an abbreviation of alternative right, is a loosely connected far-right, white supremacist, white nationalist, white separatist, anti-immigration and sometimes antisemitic movement based in the United States. A largely online phenomenon, the alt-right originated in the U.S. during the 2010s although it has since established a presence in various other countries. The term is ill-defined, having been used in different ways by various self-described "alt-rightists", media commentators, and academics.
The National Policy Institute (NPI) is a white supremacist think tank and lobby group based in Alexandria, Virginia. It lobbies for white supremacists and the alt-right. Its president is Richard B. Spencer, and its executive director is Evan McLaren.
Richard Bertrand Spencer is an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist. He is president of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank, as well as Washington Summit Publishers. Spencer rejects the labels white supremacist and neo-Nazi, considers himself a white nationalist, a white identitarian, and the equivalent of a "Zionist" for white people. Spencer created the term "alt-right", which he considers a movement based on "white identity". Spencer advocates white-European unity, a "peaceful ethnic cleansing" of nonwhites from America, and the creation of a "white racial empire," which he believes would resemble the Roman Empire.
Alain de Benoist de Gentissartwas born on 11 December 1943 in Saint-Symphorien (now part of Tours), Centre-Val de Loire, the son of a head of sales at Guerlain, also named Alain de Benoist (1902-1971), and Germaine Langouët (1908-1981). His father alledgelly belonged to the Belgian nobility, while his mother came from the lower-middle class of Normandy and Britanny. During WWII, De Benoist's father was a member of the resistance armed group French Forces of the Interior, and the family divided between Free France and Vichy France.
Tours is a city in the west of France. It is the administrative centre of the Indre-et-Loire department and the largest city in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. In 2012, the city of Tours had 134,978 inhabitants, and the population of the whole metropolitan area was 483,744.
Centre-Val de Loire or Centre Region is one of the 18 administrative regions of France. It straddles the middle Loire Valley in the interior of the country. The administrative capital is Orléans.
Guerlain is a French perfume, cosmetics and skincare house, which is among the oldest in the world. Many traditional Guerlain fragrances are characterized by a common olfactory accord known as the "Guerlinade". The house was founded in Paris in 1828 by the perfumer Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain. It was run by the Guerlain family until 1994, when it was bought by the French multinational company LVMH. Its flagship store is 68, Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris.
De Benoist was still in high school at Lycée Montaigne and Louis-le-Grand during the turmoils of the Algerian war (1954-1962),which shaped his political views. In 1957 at 14, he met the daughter of the antisemite journalist and conspiracy theorist Henry Coston, and began his journalist career three years later by writing for Henry Coston's magazine, Lectures Françaises. De Benoist however stayed away from Coston’s conspiracy theories on the Freemasonry and the Jews.
The Lycée Montaigne is a famous French public secondary school. It is located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, near the Jardin du Luxembourg, and was founded in the 1880s.
The Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a prestigious secondary school located in Paris. Founded in 1563 by the Jesuits as the Collège de Clermont, it was renamed in King Louis XIV of France's honor after he extended his direct patronage to it in 1682. It offers both a sixth-form college curriculum, and a post-secondary-level curriculum, preparing students for entrance to the elite Grandes écoles for research, such as the École normale supérieure (Paris), for engineering, such as the École Polytechnique, or for business, such as HEC Paris. Students at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand are called magnoludoviciens.
The Algerian War, also known as the Algerian War of Independence or the Algerian Revolution was fought between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria gaining its independence from France. An important decolonization war, it was a complex conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare, maquis fighting, and the use of torture. The conflict also became a civil war between the different communities and within the communities. The war took place mainly on the territory of Algeria, with repercussions in metropolitan France.
At 17 in 1961, he met François d'Orcival, with whom he became the editor of an underground newspaper for the pro-colonial paramilitary organisation OAS, titled France Information.The same year, he joined the student society Federation of Nationalist Students (FEN) and became in 1962 the secretary of the organization's magazine, Cahiers universitaires, in which he wrote the main articles along with D'Orcival.
Amaury de Chaunac-Lanzac, known as François d'Orcival is a French conservative journalist and essayist. He is the president of the editorial committee at Valeurs Actuelles and sits on the Board of Directors of the publisher Valmonde.
The Organisation Armée Secrète or OAS was a short-lived right-wing French dissident paramilitary organization during the Algerian War (1954–62). The OAS carried out terrorist attacks, including bombings and assassinations, in an attempt to prevent Algeria's independence from French colonial rule. Its motto was L’Algérie est française et le restera.
The Federation of Nationalist Students was a French far-right student society active between 1960 and 1967, founded by François d'Orcival and others, soon joined by Alain de Benoist as a lead journalist.
De Benoist met Dominique Venner in 1962.The following year, he took part in the creation of Europe-Action , a nationalist magazine created by Venner in which De Benoist worked as a journalist. He published at that times his first essays: Salan devant l'opinion ("Salan faces the (public) opinion", 1963) and Le courage est leur patrie ("Braveness is their motherland", 1965), defending French Algeria and the OAS.
Between 1963 and 1965, De Benoist was a member of the Rationalist Union and likely began to read Louis Rougier's criticism of Christianity—who was also an adherent of the organization—during this period. Rougier's thesis deeply influenced De Benoist's own anti-Christianity.The latter continued his journalistic career and became in 1964 the editor-in-chief of the weekly publication Europe-Action Hebdomaire, holding the same position at L'Observateur Européen from 1964 to 1968.
After a visit to South Africa at the invitation of Hendrik Verwoerd's National Party government, De Benoist co-wrote with Gilles Fournier the 1965 essay Vérité pour l'Afrique du Sud ("Truth for South Africa"), in which they endorsed apartheid as the "last outpost of the West" at a time of "decolonisation and international negrification".The following year, he co-wrote with D'Orcival another essay, Rhodésie, pays des lions fidèles ("Rhodesia, country of the faithful lions", 1966), in defense Rhodesia, a breakaway country in southern Africa ruled by a white-minority government. The then prime minister of the unrecognised state, Ian Smith, prefaced the book. Returning from a trip to the United States, De Benoist deplored the suppression of racial segregation and wrote as a prediction that the system would survive outside the law, thus in a more violent way.
In two essays published in 1966, Les Indo-Européens ("The Indo-Europeans") and Qu'est-ce que le nationalisme? ("What is nationalism?"), De Benoist contributed to define a new European nationalism where the European civilization—or the "white race"—would be considered above its constituting ethnic groups, all united in a common empire and civilization including Russia. This theory was embodied in the program of the European Rally for Liberty (REL)—in which De Benoist was a member of the national council—during the 1967 legislative election, and later by the GRECE in 1968.
The repeting electoral failures of far-right movements—from that of presidential candidate Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour in 1965, who De Benoist had supported via the "T.V. Committees", to the debacle of the REL in March 1967,—led De Benoist to question his political involvement and focus on a meta-political strategy. According to him, he decided in the fall of 1967 “to make a permanent and complete break with political action” and to launch a review.
Along with militants of the REL and FEN, De Benoist founded in 1968 the GRECE, an ethnonationalist think-tank, of which he soon became the leader and its "most authoritative spokesman".In the 1970s, De Benoist adapted his geopolitical view-points, from a pro-colonial attitude towards third-Worldism; from the defense of the "last outposts of the West" towards anti-americanism; and from a biological to a cultural definition of "difference", developed in his ethnopluralist theories.
His works, along with others published by the think tank, led what media called the "Nouvelle Droite" to fame in the late 1970s.De Benoist became critic for mainstream right-wing magazines, namely Valeurs Actuelles (from 1970 to 1982) and Le Figaro Magazine (from 1977 to 1992), and received in 1978 the Prix de l'essai from the Académie française for his book Vu de droite: Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines, sold 30,000 copies.
While he had abandoned political parties and elections from 1968 onward to focus on meta-politics,De Benoist was nonetheless a candidate in a far-right micro-party (Party of New Forces) during the 1979 European elections. In the 1984 election to the European Parliament, he announced his intention to vote for the French Communist Party, and justified his choice by defining the party as the most credible anti-capitalist, anti-liberal, and anti-American political force then active in France.
In 1979 and 1993, two press campaigns launched in French liberal media claiming that De Benoist was a "closet Fascist" or a "Nazi" damaged his reputation and influence in France. They accused him of hiding his racist and anti-egalitarian beliefs in a seemingly acceptable way, by replacing the hierarchy of races with "ethno-pluralism".In the early 1990s, although he still frequently comments on politics, De Benoist chose to focus on his intellectual activity and avoid media attention.
Since the 2000s onward however, public interest for his works have re-emerged:he has made several media appearances in France Culture, Europe 1, Telemadrid, Radio Courtoisie or Il Giornale, and his writings have been published in several academic journals like the New Left Telos, the white nationalist Mankind Quarterly , the paleoconservative Chronicles , the nationalist Occidental Quarterly and the radical traditionnalist Tyr .
In a 2002 republication of Vu de droite, De Benoist reiterated what he wrote in 1977: the “greatest” danger in the world today was the “progressive disappearance of diversity from the world," including biodiversity of animals, cultures and peoples.De Benoist is now the editor of two journals: Nouvelle École (since 1968), and Krisis (since 1988).
Although the extent of the relationship is debated by scholars, De Benoist and the Nouvelle Droite have influenced the ideological and political structure of the European Identitarian Movement.Part of the alt-right also claims to have been inspired by De Benoist's writings.
From being close to pro-colonial movements and biology-inspired racialism at the beginning of his writings in the 1960s, he gradually moved towards a defense of the Third-World against American imperialism and a more cultural definition of "difference", theorized in his concept of ethno-pluralism. De Benoist is also an ardent critic of globalisation, unrestricted mass immigration, liberalism, postmodern society and what he calls the “ideology of sameness.”Scholars question if this evolution in De Benoist's concepts should be considered a sincere ideological detachment from a far-right activist youth, or rather a meta-political strategy to reshape unegalitarian ideas into acceptable differentialist terms.
Political scientist Jean-Yves Camus describes the key idea of De Benoist's writings in these terms: "through the use of meta-politics, to think the ways and means that are necessary in order for European civilization, based on the cultural values shared on the continent until the advent of globalization, to thrive and be perpetuated."Though he embodies the core values of the GRECE and the Nouvelle Droite, De Benoist’s works are not always identical to those of other thinkers of the movements. He for instance disavowed Guillaume Faye's “strongly racist” ideas regarding Muslims after the publication of The Colonization of Europe: Speaking Truth about Immigration and Islam in 2000.
De Benoist's influences include Antonio Gramsci,Ernst Jünger, Jean Baudrillard, Georges Dumézil, Ernest Renan, José Ortega y Gasset, Vilfredo Pareto, Guy Debord, Arnold Gehlen, Stéphane Lupasco, Helmut Schelsky, Konrad Lorenz, the German Conservative Revolutionary movement, the non-conformists of the 1930s, Johann Gottfried Herder, and communitarian philosophers such as Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor.
While he has complained that nations like the United States suffer from "homogenization," he has also distanced himself from some of Jean-Marie Le-Pen's views on immigration.He opposed Le Pen (even though many people influenced by de Benoist support him), racism and antisemitism. De Benoist favors "ethnopluralism", in which organic, ethnic cultures and nations must live and develop independently; and has opposed Arab immigration to France, while supporting ties with Islamic culture.
De Benoist rejects the nation state and nationalism, claiming that the French Republic has destroyed regional identities in the project of “one and indivisible” France.He is a proponent of the idea of integral federalism that would transcend the nation state, giving way to regional identities and a common continental one at once. This would be distinct from what he sees as the consumerism and materialism of American society, as well as the bureaucracy and repression of the Soviet Union. He also opposes reconstructivism.
Critical of modern liberal-democracy,he opposes political violence, saying he is building "a school of thought, not a political movement." De Benoist is opposed to the American liberal idea of a melting pot.
De Benoist is a critic of the United States; He has been quoted as saying "Some people do not resign themselves to the thought of having to wear one day the Red Army cap. In fact, it is a terrible prospect. However, we cannot bear the thought of one day having to spend the rest of our life living on a diet of hamburgers in Broolyn's surroundings".In 1991, he complained that European supporters of the first Gulf War were "collaborators of the American order."
He also opposes Christianity as inherently intolerant, theocratic and bent on persecution.
His critics, such as Thomas Sheehan, argue that de Benoist has developed a novel restatement of fascism.Roger Griffin, using an ideal type definition of fascism which includes "populist ultra-nationalism" and "palingenesis" (heroic rebirth), argues that the Nouvelle Droite draws on such fascist ideologues as Armin Mohler in a way that allows Nouvelle Droite ideologues such as de Benoist to claim a "metapolitical" stance, but which nonetheless has residual fascist ideological elements. Benoist's critics also claim his views recall Nazi attempts to replace German Christianity with its own paganism. They note that Benoist's rejection of the French Revolution's legacy and the allegedly "abstract" Rights of Man ties him to the same Counter-Enlightenment right-wing tradition as counter-revolutionary Legitimists, fascists, Vichyites and integral nationalists.
A neo-pagan,Benoist married Doris Christians in 1971 and has two children. He is a member of the high IQ society Mensa and owns the largest private library in France, with an estimate of 150,000 to 250,000 books.
Guillaume Faye was a French journalist, writer, and advocate of identitarianism as part of the French New Right. Continuing the tradition of Martin Heidegger, Raymond Ruyer, and Giorgio Locchi, Faye was instrumental in positioning Islam as the nemesis of the Western world. His various articles and books suggest an incoherence of ideology in post-war Europe and a quest for a nemesis necessary for the templative fascism to win support. Earlier in his career, anti-Semitism permeated his work; later on, Islam took this role. Faye has also inspired emulations in translation, such as the American Jason Reza Jorjani, former editor of the New Right publisher Arktos Media, who propagated a version of spiritualistic identitarianism, similar to conceptions found in Faye's book Archeofuturism (1998), in his own book World State of Emergency (2017).
Pierre-André Taguieff is a philosopher and director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in an Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris laboratory, the Centre for Political Research (CEVIPOF). He is also a member of the Cercle de l'Oratoire think tank.
The Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne, also known by its French acronym GRECE, is an ethno-nationalist think tank, founded in 1968 to promote ideas of the Nouvelle Droite. The journalist and writer Alain de Benoist has been since the foundation of the GRECE its leader and "most authoritative spokesman". Other prominent members were Guillaume Faye and, until 1974, Jean-Yves Le Gallou.
Ethnopluralism or ethno-pluralism is a Nouvelle Droite concept which relies on preserving and mutually respecting individual ethno-cultural regions. A key component being the right to difference and strong support for cultural diversity. Proponents describe it as an alternative to multiculturalism and globalization claiming that it strives to keep the world's different cultures alive by embracing their uniqueness and avoiding a one world doctrine in which every region is culturally identical. According to the concept of ethnopluralism significant foreign cultural elements in one region ought to be culturally assimilated leading to a cultural homogenization in the given region, the idea being many different cultures in different geographical areas. The idea is closely associated with movements such as the Nouvelle Droite, the Identitarian Movement and French academic and philosopher Alain de Benoist.
The Carrefour de l'Horloge, formerly Club de l'Horloge (1974-2015), is a French far-right national liberal think tank founded in 1974 and presided by Henry de Lesquen. The Carrefour de l'Horloge promotes an "economic liberalism strongly tainted with nationalism."
Henry Bertrand Marie Armand de Lesquen du Plessis-Casso is a French a far-right politician and blogger.
François Duprat (1940–1978) was a writer, a founding member of the Front National party and part of the leadership until his assassination in 1978.
The far-right tradition in France finds its origins in the Third Republic with Boulangism and the Dreyfus Affair. The modern "far right" or radical right grew out of two separate events of 1889: the splitting off in the Socialist International of those who chose the nation and the culmination of the "Boulanger Affair", which championed the demands of the former Minister of War General Georges Boulanger. The Dreyfus Affair provided one of the political division lines of France. Nationalism, which had been before the Dreyfus Affair a left-wing and Republican ideology, turned after that to be a main trait of the right-wing and, moreover, of the far right. A new right emerged, and nationalism was reappropriated by the far right who turned it into a form of ethnic nationalism, itself blended with anti-Semitism, xenophobia, anti-Protestantism and anti-Masonry. The Action française, first founded as a review, was the matrix of a new type of counter-revolutionary right-wing, and continues to exist today. During the interwar period, the Action française (AF) and its youth militia, the Camelots du Roi, were very active. Far right leagues organized riots.
Parti des forces nouvelles (PFN) or Party of New Forces was a French far-right political party formed in November 1974 from the Comité faire front, a group of anti-Jean-Marie Le Pen dissidents who had split from the National Front (FN).
Dominique Venner was a French historian, journalist and essayist. Venner was a member of the Organisation armée secrète and later became a white nationalist before withdrawing from politics to focus on a career as a historian. He specialized in military and political history. At the time of his death, he was the editor of the La Nouvelle Revue d'Histoire, a bimonthly history magazine. On 21 May 2013, Venner committed suicide inside the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.
Ordre Nouveau was a far-right movement created on December 15, 1969. The first president was the lawyer Jean-François Galvaire . After the departure of Jean-François Galvaire, in May 1970, the new political bureau comprised Emmanuel Allot, Jacques Charasse, François Duprat, Louis Ecorcheville, Gabriel Jeantet, Claude Joubert, Paul Léandri, Hugues Leclère, Jean-Claude Nourry and Alain Robert. In June 1972, Ordre Nouveau joined with Jean-Marie Le Pen's movement in the Front National. José Bruneau de La Salle joined the political bureau, while Jean-Claude Nourry, Patrice Janeau and Michel Bodin left the movement. On October 5, 1972 the Front National was formed.
Jean Costes, better known by his pen name Jacques Bordiot, was a French journalist and writer who focused mainly on anti-masonic conspiracy theories.
Giorgio Locchi was an Italian journalist and writer. He was among the founders of GRECE.
Maurice Rollet was a French poet, activist and medical doctor. He sometimes used the pseudonym François Le Cap.
Stéphane François is a French political scientist and a specialist of radical right-wing movements, conspiracy theories, political ecology and countercultures.
The European Rally for Liberty, also translated as European Assembly for Liberty, was a far-right euro-nationalist party active in France between 1966 and 1968, and the political showcase of the Nationalist Movement of Progress, created nine months earlier. The movement and the party were created by the euro-nationalist magazine Europe-Action, escorted by militants from the Federation of Nationalist Students.
Europe-Action was a far-right white nationalist and euro-nationalist magazine and movement, founded by Dominique Venner in 1963 and active until 1966. Distancing itself from pre-WWII fascist ideas such as anti-intellectualism, anti-parliamentarianism and traditional French nationalism, Europe-Action promoted a pan-European nationalism based on the "Occident"—or the "white peoples"— and a social Darwinism escorted by racialism, labeled "biological realism". These theories, along with the meta-political strategy of Venner, influenced young Europe-Action journalist Alain de Benoist and are deemed conducive to the creation of the GRECE and the Nouvelle Droite in 1968.
De Benoist’s continued anti-egalitarianism, rejection of the Rights of Man and representative democracy, as well as valorization of pagan elite rule [...]
In contrast, on this side of the Atlantic, a liberal is primarily a spokesman of individualism, a supporter of free trade, and an opponent of the state (and also a supporter of America).
Taguieff, quoting Qu'est-ce que le nationalisme? (1966) to highlight the fact "European civilization" is equal to "European race" in De Benoist's writings of the period: 'La race constitue la seule unite réelle qui [...] englobe les variations individuelles. L'étude objective de l'Histoire montre que seule la race européenne (race blanche, caucasoïde) a continué à progresser depuis son apparition sur la voie montante de l'évolution du vivant, au contraire de races stagnantes dans leur développement, donc en regression virtuelle [...] La race européenne n'a pas de supériorité absolue. Elle est seulement la plus apte a progresser dans le sens de l'évolution [...] Les facteurs raciaux étant statistiquement héréditaires, chaque race possède sa psychologie propre. Toute psychologie est génératrice de valeurs' (pp. 8-9)
Since the early 1990s, the French New Right has been influential beyond France, especially in Italy, Germany, and Belgium, and has inspired Alexander Dugin in Russia. Part of the American radical Right and “Alt Right” also claims to have been inspired by de Benoist’s writings. Although this is questionable, de Benoist and Dominique Venner are also seen as the forefathers of the “identitarian” movement in Europe.
Certains ne se résignent pas à la pensée d’avoir un jour à porter la casquette de l’Armée rouge. De fait, c’est une perspective affreuse. Nous ne pouvons pas, pour autant, supporter l’idée d’avoir un jour à passer ce qui nous reste à vivre en mangeant des hamburgers du côté de Brooklyn.
Pages 66–67: To summarize: De Benoist's fascism is at odds with Evola's metaphysics but agrees with his social and political philosophy.... [F]or de Benoist, the organic State is an ideal that men can set for themselves and perhaps, with force, establish.
In the age that is heavily laced with the Biblical message, many modern pagan thinkers, for their criticism of biblical monotheism, have been attacked and stigmatized either as unrepentant atheists or as spiritual standard-bearers of fascism. Particularly Nietzsche, Heidegger, and more recently Alain de Benoist came under attack for allegedly espousing the philosophy which, for their contemporary detractors, recalled the earlier national socialist attempts to "dechristianize" and "repaganize" Germany. See notably the works by Alfred Rosenberg, Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts(München: Hoheneichen Verlag, 1933). Also worth noting is the name of Wilhelm Hauer, Deutscher Gottschau (Stuttgart: Karl Gutbrod, 1934), who significantly popularized Indo-European mythology among national socialists: on pages 240–54 Hauer discusses the difference between Judeo-Christian Semitic beliefs and European paganism.
Il a la plus grande bibliothèque privée de France qui compte plus de cent cinquante mille ouvrages.