- Alain de Benoist Answers Tamir Bar-On
I accept with pleasure the invitation extended to me by Arthur Versluis to answer the article by Tamir Bar-On. I must nevertheless say that normally I would not have answer edit. This text, the majority of which is simple chatter, in fact contributes nothing whatsoever to the intelligibility of the nouvelle droite (ND—New Right) and fulfills none of the requirements of academic or scientific research. As is often the case among Anglo-Saxon authors, it is a simple impressionistic compilation of disparate data, with no concern either for logical sequence or for conceptual coherence. The method, classical, to which the author has recourse, consists in referring to sources only to find confirmation of his presuppositions, systematically ruling out anything that might contradict them. This method is both that of lampooning (Bar-On does not write on the ND, but against the ND) and that of a modern form of sophistry reminiscent of the eristic dialectics of Schopenhauer, certainly not the argumentative pertinence that was defined by Chaïm Perelman. Experience has shown me that answering such articles is in general a sheer waste of time. It is therefore only out of courtesy that I will make an exception.
But first of all, two comments. Here is the first. Bar-On has been interested in the ND since the year 2000, the date when he presented his Ph.D. dissertation at McGill University in Montreal.1 He has since written two [End Page 141] books about it, of which the first has a ridiculous title.2 Approximately 100 Ph.D. dissertations and books have been written to date on the ND.3 When one is working on an author or on a contemporary school of thought, it is common practice to contact the concerned parties, to question them directly, to have them explain their thinking, to see how they respond to objections. I myself often receive researchers who are working on the ND. I do not make it my business to know whether they are favorable or hostile to it. I endeavor only to answer their questions. Nothing of the kind with Bar-On, who has never made contact with me or with any other representative of the ND.
Concerning the sources that he has consulted, one is struck by their outstandingly selective character. I have published to date 90 books, 2,000 articles, and 400 interviews. Bar-On has clearly not made the effort to become acquainted with them. In the article to which I am here responding, out of 98 references and footnotes, he mentions the titles of only four of my books, a single article, and a single interview. He makes a direct quotation from only two of these books: Mémoire vive, which is a book of memoirs published in 2012, and Vu de droite, already more than 35 years old. That is rather meager to represent the views of the ND! All the other references are to secondary sources, commentaries picked up here and there, commentaries about commentaries, and so forth. If one now takes the book Rethinking the French New Right, one notices that there too the secondary sources are greatly favored to the detriment of primary sources. The bibliography mentions only 10 of my books (along with 21 articles), and the most important books (Les idées à l'endroit, L'éclipse du sacré, L'empire intérieur, La ligne de mire, Communisme et nazisme, L'écume et les galets, Dernière année, Critiques—Théoriques, Le sfide della postmodernità, Nous et les autres, C'est-à-dire, Carl Schmitt actuel [Carl Schmitt Today (London: Arktos, 2013)], Cartouches, Des animaux et des hommes, Au bord du gouffre, Edouard Berth ou le socialisme héroïque, etc.) are not even mentioned.
No less significantly, Bar-On also ignores all the works of other ND authors and intellectuals: Jean-Claude Valla, Michel Marmin, Anne Jobert, Yves Christen, Jacques Marlaud, Pierre Le Vigan, Charles Champetier, Michel d'Urance, Thibault Isabel, Jean-François Gautier, and so on. He does not mention their books and does not even cite their [End Page 142...