Les Déplorables: The French right is discovering that there are more and more things you can’t say

Les Déplorables: The French right is discovering that there are more and more things you can’t say, by Christopher Caldwell.

A country is heading for trouble when its most popular writers worry that their words will land them in jail. France is that way now.

Two years ago, TV commentator and journalist Éric Zemmour published Le Suicide français, an erudite, embittered, and nostalgic essay about the unraveling, starting in the 1970s, of the political system set up under the leadership of World War II hero Charles de Gaulle. The book sold 500,000 copies. Since then, it seems, Zemmour has spent half his time collecting prizes and the other half defending himself in court.

In September, he was let off by a French tribunal for a 2014 remark he made on the radio station RTL. “The Normans, the Huns, the Arabs, the great invasions that followed the fall of Rome have their modern equivalents in the gangs of Chechens, Roma, Kosovars, Africans, and North Africans who mug, rob, and rape.” The French court decided his words were not so extremist that Zemmour needed to be punished, but France’s media authority … issued a warning … Over the summer, Zemmour was fined by a Belgian court for making similar statements.

Sovereignty in France is lost. The new struggle is just for identity and preserving culture:

Zemmour’s new book opens with a 50-page essay that places his preoccupations in a darker context. The battle over French self-rule has been lost, he believes. “Sovereignty is still a question, but it is no longer the central one. The question of identity has replaced it as a historical imperative.” ..

As Zemmour sees it, there are many answers to the question What does it mean to be French? But the word “Muslim” does not belong in any of them. …

Zemmour sees no important difference between Islam and Islamism. Wearing the veil and machine-gunning café patrons are two means to the same end: taking possession of the undefended public space that is France. In the same way, there is a strong link “between delinquency and terrorism, between drug traffickers and jihadists.” The movement of refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean over the past year, 70 percent of them young men, is an invasion. Zemmour has had enough of President François Hollande’s rhapsodies about the compatibility of Islam and the modern West. “Islam is incompatible with secularism, incompatible with democracy, and incompatible with republican government,” Zemmour writes. “Islam is incompatible with France.” …

The French, Zemmour reckons, are not only permitting the Islamization of their country—they are abetting and paying for it. Execute people in their music halls and they will light candles and carry signs reading “You can’t make me hate.” Zemmour believes the reason Muslims did not join the protests against gay marriage that brought into the street millions of French traditionalists of other faiths is this: “They could not help but rejoice, secretly or unconsciously, at such a striking sign of decadence in their oldest enemy.”

“Racist”, cry the globalists — but don’t they always?

Those hostile to Zemmour’s work have sought to bury it under accusations of racism. While Zemmour, who is of North African Jewish background, is fascinated by religious affiliation, race per se appears not to interest him in the slightest. …

After Hollande was elected president in 2012, photos of the celebration in the Place de la Bastille showed more Palestinian flags than French ones. …

The young conservative Geoffroy Didier of Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, Les Républicains, was interviewed by the newsmagazine Le Point last spring. He had proposed a ban on wearing burkas and building mosques with minarets. In his view, it was too late to do anything else about immigration and Islam, and that was the fault of the entire political establishment. “The left is to blame for pretending it didn’t see this coming,” Didier explained. “The right is to blame for pretending it did.”