Repository of Finkielkraut quotes

There’s no English translation of Alain Finkielkraut’s latest book, L’Identité malheureuse, damn it. So I’m gathering some of the best lines, for review purposes (hi, copyright lawyers!) here.

NERRRRRRRRRRD.

Abuse of Gallic hospitality:

“For the first time in the history of immigration, the guest is now denying his host, whoever the host may be, the right to incarnate the nation that is welcoming him.”

“Under the prism of romanticism for the other, the new social norms of diversity create a France where one’s origins have no right to be mentioned unless they are exotic, where only one identity is stricken with unreality: the national identity.”

“To forget or to excommunicate our past, this is not to open ourselves to the dimension of the future: it is to submit, without resistance, to the power of onrushing events … Abandoning the great ambition of the Enlightenment—which was to stamp our image upon the entire world—does not have to lead to the destruction of that image.”

“One group’s [the native French] roots are considered suspect, their genealogical pride repugnant; meanwhile, the others [Muslim immigrants] are invited to celebrate their history and cultivate their otherness.”

Finkielkraut warns against democracy when it’s interpreted only as a moral rather than a political process: it’s no longer OK to make distinctions between good students and bad, learned men and idiots, moral action and immoral action, everyone is the same—and yet the actual democratic process has less and less effect on the actual flow of events.

“In democratic eras, all authority becomes suspect, save the authority of public opinion. There is no power that society doesn’t protest, save precisely the power of society.”

“Freed from tradition and transcendence, democratic man thinks like everyone else while thinking he thinks for himself.”

The Left wishes it could fire the People and replace it with a People that behaves properly:

“‘The People’ have disappointed the left; they have trapped themselves in nostalgia, they have become reactionaries. … the Front National is now the premier working-class party in France. … But it’s precisely those who denounce this occurrence, those very nice bobos [moneyed hipsters], who in a practical sense avoid the problems [of mass immigration] through their choice of residence, and even more through the choice of where they send their children to school … ‘The Other, the Other’—they repeat this buzzword endlessly, but it’s in the comfort of familiarity between themselves that they cultivate exoticism.”

Kids these days: Born knowing everything—or everything they need to be consumers, anyway. Finkielstein discusses the dying habit of reading one thing at a time: a single text that takes a person out of his ego, place, and time. Educational institutions were once a sanctuary for the mind. Now the present is inescapable.


“Courted, honored, flattered by the entertainment industry, [the adolescent] is no longer defined by the fact that he’s not yet a completed being. He’s not missing anything. He has no desire to be educated: He’s already sitting on a throne. … The modern world breaks down the doors of the temple, the modern brand of liberty invites itself into playgrounds and classrooms; the present will no longer let you push it away, the mundane is never forgotten, the impulses of life invade the institution; society, with its codes, its fashions, its brands and emblems, its fetishized objects, its in-group signaling and signs of belonging, explodes inside the school.”

Kids with screens, ignoring the real people around them:

“What they’ve forgotten in their fervor for equality and liberty, is that bourgeois customs had a moral foundation. … They force you to feel, all while playing into the social comedy, concern for others. When I’m polite, I’m following a custom, of course; I’m playing a role, no doubt; I’m betraying my roots, possibly. But above all, as Hume showed, I’m letting other people know that they count in my view. I greet them, I bow to them, I acknowledge their existence by de-stressing my own. A child who’s been left to the devices of his inborn egocentricity and new technologies does the opposite: he denies the existence of the person who’s right in front of him. He snuffs out the external reality which, in other eras, he would have been forced to face.

(Schools cater to bored Internet addicts by providing textbooks that resemble the Internet: with short texts and lots of pictures. Students harass and threaten teachers who do not comply with the fashion in which they wish to consume their education.)

By contrast, could we reinstate the old idea of aidos, a sort of reverent modesty, in the schools?:


“This ethos would remind students that they aren’t simply owners of rights, that they not only possess claims that must be paid to them, but that they also have obligations to fulfill and a debt that they owe for the labors of those who came before, the advantages of civilization, and republican institutions.”

“What is a classic? It’s a book whose aura envelops you before you read it. We aren’t afraid that it will disappoint us, but that we will disappoint by not being equal to it.”

Finkielkraut works, throughout L’Identité malheureuse, on the idea that the Holocaust and the end of colonialism made Europeans terrified of their own history. The mantra “never again!” has caused people to become stuck in expecting racism and facism to come only from the same direction it struck from last time. Since they’re looking for white people to misbehave, they gloss ideologically over the evidence that immigrants may now be generating racial hatred all on their own:

“These aren’t idiots or bad people, but men and women of good intentions, who need to think that villainy has a central address, that racism has a single face, that events all fall into a single paradigm … does the Just remain just when it’s divorced from reality?”

“Mais taisez-vous!”: After a series of interruptions and ad hominems, professional smugnaut Adbel Raouf Dafri finally makes the philosopher lose his cool:


Comments

  1. Jeffrey Coleman

    Oh FFS, I wrote a comment, then signed in to preview it, and now it's gone.

    Anyway, I'd never heard of this guy until seeing your post here, I'll look into him, and I'm looking forward to the quotes and review.

    Looking through his Wikipedia page, this caught my attention: "Finkielkraut first came to public attention when he and Pascal Bruckner co-authored a number of short but controversial essays intended to question the idea that a new emancipation was underway"

    Coincidentally, I first learned of Pascal Bruckner a few weeks ago, and plan on reading some of his books soon. I have this one out from the library: The Tyranny of Guilt. Looks quite interesting.

    All the best, Ann.

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      Ann Sterzinger

      Gah, I hate Blogger. I didn't know any better when I signed up for it. Thank you! It's a beautiful book and I wish I had the funds to buy the translation rights. The review will publish late this evening.

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  2. Christine

    The French consulate is opening a bookstore in their New York building, so I hope I will be able to buy L'Identite malheureuse there. Thanks for your translations of his quotes and the recent article on Takimag.

  3. Anonymous

    "What they've forgotten in their fervor for equality and liberty, is that bourgeois customs had a moral foundation."

    Such a quaint perspective. Morals beget customs beget society.

  4. Diogenes

    Finkielkraut works, throughout L'Identité malheureuse, on the idea that the Holocaust and the end of colonialism made Europeans terrified of their own history.

    The suicide of the West is exactly that. Nothing in evolutionary theory says that a race, or the culture that stems from it, can't commit suicide. In fact, under the current moral framework that makes racism the ultimate sin, there is no other solution. Everyone who wrings his hands about the sin of racism is a participant in this suicide, not just an observer.

    What's funny to me is that the moral foundation of the West is something that Christians are always in a hurry to take credit for. And yet, mention this aspect, and suddenly it's not Christianity at all that's responsible. No no! It's all the fault of "liberals", or "cultural Marxists", or the "elites", or [insert your favorite bogeyman here]. But then, squeeze the hypocrisy out of Christianity and there'd be nothing left.

  5. Anonymous

    "Nothing in evolutionary theory says that a race, or the culture that stems from it, can't commit suicide."

    In fact evolutionary theory does say that "a race or the culture" cannot commit suicide: you have perhaps heard of the group selection fallacy. Races and cultures are not units; they are aggregates, and they do not "commit suicide".

    I know it is pleasant to think of Western decadence in this way, but it isn't real.

    Europeans are not "terrified of their own history" – or that isn't why they have low birth rates and tolerate non-whites in their land, at least. World War II did not create a subcontinent of renters obsessed with house music, liquor, and fellatio.

    You have to dig deeper for the real cause. But not much deeper, if you're willing to abandon this romantic notion of 'suicide' by 'moral fright'.

    1. Diogenes

      Individuals can and do commit suicide, and so do groups of individuals. This is simply a fact. If you think evolutionary theory contradicts it, then either the theory is wrong, or you don't understand the theory.

      "Suicide" in this context, though somewhat metaphorical, is shorthand for collectively embarking on a course of action that is likely to lead to death. The really interesting thing is that this is occurring to the white race despite the fact that it would seem to be easily avoidable. It appears to be a "free" choice, if you believe in the fiction of free will. Any course of action leading away from racial death has been rejected as "immoral". As I've said, we have the moral framework provided by Christianity to thank for that.

  6. Anonymous

    "Suicide" in this context, though somewhat metaphorical,"

    Though it is metaphor, it is rather the fallacy of composition – which is the flawed notion of group selection. QED.

    If anything is occurring on a large scale, you may be sure it is not easily avoidable. I know it seems that way, seen from the reverse telescope of one's own desiderata, but civilization is an enormous ship subject to very wide, and as a rule improbable, course correction.

    A consequence of disbelief in free will, you will find, is unlearning the habit of employing the language of discrete agency when referring to composites, i.e. "races and cultures" – which do not "commit suicide", but succumb to various pressures natural and artificial, etc.

    Consider the author of this blog. She describes herself as an 'antinatalist'. So is she "committing suicide" for the West, or what? No. Like the rest of us – I assume you yourself have no progeny – she is a product of the declining fortunes of a technological culture which both promotes and cancels hyper-individualism. Or let me say, the hyper-individualism fostered by American society is self-cancelling, being "unfit". You can't get much more unfit than being anti-natalist, after all. Here is a brand of white delusion rivaling the worst mental excesses of Christianity!

    Anyhow:
    There is no 'suicide'. There isn't even an extinction-event. White people are not dying out. A broad swathe of whites – you, me, and the author – are dying out, but that's all. And so what? I say let the Mexicans and the Hindus have it all. Do piss porn and masochistic blogs like this really deserve a second generation?

    I think you're a smart dude, and I believe that one day, very soon, you will become tired of fretting about deluded whiteskins too narcissistic to breed – while the rest of the world suffers no such qualms, of course.

    1. Diogenes

      I've made no claim requiring group selection. That's a red herring you've introduced. However, the fact remains that white people, collectively, have embarked on a course of action that reasonably can be seen as self-destructive of their race and culture. In fact, they have done so repeatedly, and voluntarily, and Christianity and its secular derivatives has had much to do with it. This is suicidal, in the sense that a race dies when it ceases to exist as a race. When race dies, the culture also dies, unless you believe that a society of, "Mexicans or Hindus" will be just as capable of carrying on white culture as whites are, which of course is nonsense.

      White people are in fact diminishing rapidly as a share of world population. Whether you or I think this is good, bad, or indifferent is beside the point. My aim was only to make note of the phenomenon and call attention to the cause.

      Our host can speak for herself, but based on what I know about Catholics from personal interactions, they tend to be deeply screwed up on matters of sex. This isn't surprising, because within Christianity is an abhorrence of the flesh that promotes such anti-natalism. St. Paul himself, you may remember, suggested that celibacy was the best way to live, and recommended it to all Christians who could manage it. Likewise, the patriarch Origen even physically castrated himself, the better to serve rabbi Jesus. Could she be doing it for spiritual reasons? I have no way of knowing. Perhaps she'd like to weigh in and answer your indictments.

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    3. Diogenes

      That's a common response, a cliche really. Yet, by most any objective measure, "the world" is better now than at any time in the past, particularly here. Your own mother didn't fret about the world, or at least it didn't stop her, and neither did her mother, all the way back millions of years to the life's beginning. This is still more proof of the point that it's Christianity's contempt for the natural world that's at the root of the Western malaise. In Christianity, Nature is the dominion of Satan, the source of all temptation away from things Holy. First John lays it out explicitly:

      We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
      -1 John 5:19

      Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
      -1 John 2:15-16

      Modern Christians and post-Christians still buy into this; it's been secularized and is part of the culture. Natural emotions and desires, such as the desire to be a mother, or the desire to protect one's racial kin (the arch sin of racism), are temptations that must be rejected. The real wonder is how such a poisonous, life-hating religion ever caught on at all. But whites are the anti-natural race, the technological race responsible for almost the entirety of the technological system, and so in that way Christianity is the perfect religion for them. One can understand its appeal.

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      Ann Sterzinger

      Diogenes: You may have a point, emotionally speaking, but the story is complicated by the fact that I've never heard anyone make a decent logical refutation of what's called Benatar's asymmetry:

      http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/benatars-asymmetry/

      It's been refuted—it does make people rather angry, after all—but never without resorting to ad hominems (against the argument or arguer), appeal to consequences, hand-waving, pants-shitting, and general tantrum-throwing.

    5. Diogenes

      The argument expressed in your link seems to me a needlessly complicated way of saying that life is suffering, or as they used to say, sunt lacrimae rerum, and with that I don't disagree. But to get from there, the is, to the ought – that it then follows that one ought not to create suffering – is problematic for the usual reasons. Trying to derive ought from is is a notorious philosophical stumbling block that all of that verbiage seems designed to conceal.

      Further, life is by no means as simple as the author makes it out to be. Some suffering can be good ("What doesn't kill me makes me stronger"), and some pleasure can be bad (e.g., chronic drunkeness). There is also some sleight of hand going on in trying to make the terms "good" and "bad" interchangeable with "desirable" and "undesirable", or "pleasure" and "pain", or "moral" and "immoral". Lots of problems here that it would probably be tedious to go into in detail, so I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

      Of course, noting that life is full of suffering isn't confined to Christianity or its cultural emanations. Buddhism has this too, and Hinduism, and also Taoism. But it seems to me that people who take this way of thinking to its logical conclusion would perforce commit suicide. And yet, on balance, they don't. So, are they just hypocrites, or is this a tacit admission that life contains more pleasure than pain, more good than evil? And if that is true, then the whole antinatalist position falls apart, doesn't it?

      What concerns me though, and here the Christian and post-Christian West is unique, is Christianity's absolute mania for repressing, diverting, and frustrating the natural, replacing it with the artificial. To obtain a natural outcome, one need do nothing but "let nature take its course", yet Christianity invariably heads in the opposite direction. Consider:

      The fear of death is only natural. But Christianity counsels a good Christian not to fear it, and even to embrace it.

      Pride, strength, and the joys of sexual pleasure ("lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life") are natural things to enjoy, but Christianity tells its adherents to shun them.

      To find sickness and disease repulsive is only natural. Yet Christianity urges its followers to embrace and heal the sick, whereas the natural thing to do is to shun and reject them.

      It's natural to hate those who try to kill or injure you, yet Christianity urges compassion and forgiveness for aggression.

      To sum up, Christianity is the anti-natural religion, just what you'd expect of whites, the most anti-natural of races. The technological system they've invented, which they might not have done if they had retained a pagan respect for Nature, aims at replacing the natural with the artificial. One consequence of this moral residue of Christianity is the belief that it's good that natural societies be broken down and artifically reconstructed across racial lines, and so non-whites are imported by the millions into the white heartlands of the world. In fact, the end game here appears to be to extinguish the white race itself through miscegenation. This in pursuit of equality, another poisonous Christian value. The strong must be pulled down so that the weak won't feel bad. Property must be shared out equally, a situation that could never obtain in nature.

  7. Anonymous

    "I've made no claim requiring group selection. That's a red herring you've introduced."

    No: it is an analogy. My point is that there is no natural group which enjoys a level of organization at which "collective suicide" is actually possible. It is, as you admitted in a moment of frankness, a metaphor.

    "the fact remains that white people, collectively, have embarked on a course of action"

    And to restate: there is no group, "white people", which can collectively embark on a course of action; this is a confusion of speech, meaning that individuals and coherent groups choose a course of action, while large abstract groups, such as "white people", cannot. If American whites, for example, had been offered a plebiscite on Hispanic immigration, the current demographic picture of the United States might be very different. This is because no choice was involved, as far as immigration.

    " that reasonably can be seen as self-destructive of their race and culture. In fact, they have done so repeatedly, and voluntarily"

    True enough, though I question 'voluntarily'. What some loony city-folks believe and do shouldn't be mistaken for the pacifism with which others whites have had to accept their dispossession and replacement.

    "in the sense that a race dies when it ceases to exist as a race. "

    Race is merely a statistical grouping. Honestly. It isn't Group A vs. Group B in nature. I wish it were. It's more like the Robbers Cave experiment but intragroup rather than intergroup (both groups in that study were white anyway).

    Think of it this way: the Democratic Party is an "action group", meaning it is composed of individuals committed at various levels of ideology to achieving variable but similar social ends. Whereas taco-enthusiasts are a "theoretical group", meaning it is composed of individuals who happen to share a trait or two, without any ability or reason to organize politically or otherwise.

  8. Anonymous

    "When race dies, the culture also dies, unless you believe that a society of, "Mexicans or Hindus" will be just as capable of carrying on white culture as whites are, which of course is nonsense."

    Sure. I'm just wondering why you threw that into quotes. Are Mexicans and Hindus not real peoples?

    "White people are in fact diminishing rapidly as a share of world population. […] My aim was only to make note of the phenomenon and call attention to the cause."

    But that is not what you did. You made an assertion – whites are "committing suicide" – which I am showing to be illogical, and which you admitted to be a metaphor. Of course white numbers are falling: but the cause is not in romantic metaphors like "suicide" or even "decadence". Indeed, suicide is not even a cause, but an end.

    "This isn't surprising, because within Christianity is an abhorrence of the flesh that promotes such anti-natalism."

    Honestly, I was being generous to your anti-Christian worldview. Of course I am aware that Paul wrote somewhere that celibacy is best for those who can pull it off (lolz), but the truth is, there are not many more examples in the history of the Church of "antinatalist" dogma – naturally, as the Church requires adherents to survive, one of those fundamental hypocrisies of the whole thing, you know. To me, antinatalism is as creepy as anything Christian zealots ever believed. Or rather, I view them both as examples of the European's tendency to unwholesome and self-defeating ideology. You will agree with that, if nothing else.

    "Could she be doing it for spiritual reasons? I have no way of knowing. Perhaps she'd like to weigh in and answer your indictments."

    Well, reasons don't really matter. We don't choose what we are, however many ists and ologies we tack on to our proclivities. Perhaps she's barren and making a virtue of sad necessity. But whatever: it's only whiteskins who think and act this way.

    1. Diogenes

      My point is that there is no natural group which enjoys a level of organization at which "collective suicide" is actually possible.

      It's not only possible, it's happening.

      If American whites, for example, had been offered a plebiscite on Hispanic immigration, the current demographic picture of the United States might be very different. This is because no choice was involved, as far as immigration.

      There certainly is a choice. But whites have chosen a form of government that doesn't operate by plebiscites. They've chosen to cooperate in their own displacement, choosing to be citizen participants of an anti-racist police state formally dedicated to abolishing them as a race. They've chosen not to revolt, or even segregate themselves, primarily, as I've said, for "moral" reasons traceable directly to Christianity. In theory, they could change their minds tomorrow. But I think we both know they won't.

      I'm just wondering why you threw that into quotes.

      I was using your example, dummy. 😉 Please try and follow along.

      … the Church requires adherents to survive …

      For the Church to prosper, all that's needed is for adherents to donate to it all their property. After that, they've served their purpose and can die immediately, for all it cares. Then it's on to proselytizing and converting the next batch of suckers. Growth is by accretion instead of cell division. Cf. Montanism.

      We don't choose what we are, however many ists and ologies we tack on to our proclivities.

      Choice has a meaning. People choose all the time, and the accumulation of choices results in who we are. Whether we view these choices as causally determined or not is a separate issue.

  9. Anonymous

    "Choice has a meaning. People choose all the time, and the accumulation of choices results in who we are. Whether we view these choices as causally determined or not is a separate issue."

    Brother, I know what you mean, but we disagree: and that's all I can say right now., being drunk as a skunk,

    WHITE PPOWER

  10. Ghost of Thomas Duncan

    As a black man, I just got to give props to white civilization. I hope it lasts forever. Without white civilization, we wouldn't even BE here in America, fer fucks sake. So thank you YTs very damn much for dragging our black asses out of the jungle. Never in a million years could we have left Africa without your civilization taking us along.

    Also, thank you for providing us access to white wimmens. All dat high quality white table pussy me and my homies be gettin sho 'nuf beats these rusty old black wimmens ALL to hail. Us black men be lovin' to beat on wimmens, too, and them white bitches bruise up so damn good, you can see ever' place you hit 'em. That quite different from black wimmens. You can beat on one a our stinky, gorilla-lookin' bitches all night long and nobody could see any difference the next day. A course, the natural thing to do would be to keep yo' bitches to yo'selves, but all y'all are way too civilized to do something like that, and believe you me the bruthas appreciate it.

    Thanks also for all da technology, YT. How the fuck a brutha gonna spread him some ebola without the miracle of modern jet transport? Nigga ain't never gonna get to America in time to spread dat shit without it. So thanks again YT, for given us the fruits of your labor. Dat be so civilized!

    Yassuh, we be impressed!

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