In the first part of this series, we recalled Edward Gibbon’s magisterial history from the 18th century, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and noted the ominous parallels for America today. In the second part of this series, we will recall a more recent–and perhaps even scarier–work from the 20th century, Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints.
Gibbon and Raspail are very different figures. Gibbon, who died in 1794, was an English historian, while Raspail, now almost 90, is a French novelist. But in their work, the two men agreed on one simple point: If a country imports a new population, it will get a new politics–and a new everything else.
For today’s Democrats in America, and for the multicultural left as a whole, that, of course, is the goal. If the existing group of voters fails to live up to progressive ideals, there’s a simple solution: Get new voters. The old concern about “the consent of the governed” is thus replaced by a new imperative: “manipulation by the governors.”
Indeed, the logic of importing more left-wing voters is a common thought among contemporary Democratic politicos. As Washington Post reporter Dan Balz wrote on Saturday, Democrats see “‘demography is destiny’. . . as their ace in the hole in future presidential campaigns.” And as President Obama, after having issued an Executive Order offering amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, said on Sunday, “I am very interested in making sure that I’ve got a Democratic successor. So I’m going do everything I can, obviously, to make sure that whoever the nominee is, is successful.”
In other words, those Democrats not satisfied with recent election outcomes–the 2010 and 2014 midterms come to mind–have an easy solution: Bring in “better” voters.
Indeed, the roots of the Democrats’ demography-is-destiny strategy run deep–deep, that is, among limousine-liberal fatcats and their foundations. Earlier this month, The New York Times ran a story headlined, “The Big Money Behind the Push for an Immigration Overhaul.” The piece detailed the role of old-line funding sources, such as the Ford Foundation, joined now by the likes of newer outfits, such as George Soros’s Open Society Foundation; collectively, these left-wing foundations have pumped some $300 million into the open-borders effort. As the Times detailed,
The philanthropies helped the groups rebound after setbacks and financed the infrastructure of a network in constant motion, with marches, rallies, vigils, fasts, bus tours and voter drives. The donors maintained their support as the immigration issue became fiercely partisan on Capitol Hill and the activists intensified their protests, engaging in civil disobedience and brash confrontations with lawmakers and the police.
Yes, it might seem a little strange: Many of the richest and most privileged Americans–those who have, by definition, done extraordinarily well under the current system–have dedicated themselves to the fundamental transformation, even dissolution, of America.
This process–call it systematized self-hatred–has been going on in America for a long time, albeit at smaller scale. For example, there’s the pathetic spectacle of the Episcopal Church; for decades, most Episcopalian leaders have acted as if they never saw an anti-American, or even anti-Christian, cause that they didn’t seek to embrace.
The recent decision of the Washington National Cathedral to invite in a Muslim prayer service illustrates this bizarre phenomenon. In an interview with Breitbart News, the Episcopal cathedral’s Dean, The Very Reverend Gary Hall, dismissed concerns that pro-terrorist elements had infiltrated the prayer service. And he added, for good measure, some trendy-lefty Israel-bashing: He called former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin a “terrorist.”
Meanwhile, looking back to Gibbon’s 18th-century history, we might note that the author also chronicled the rise of Islam as it destroyed the Eastern Roman Empire, capturing Constantinople, now Istanbul. As he wrote, “Mahomet, with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, erected his throne on the ruins of Christianity.”
Perhaps in the future, some new Edward Gibbon will seek to understand fully the Decline and Fall of one branch of Christianity, the Anglican, or Episcopal, Church. The future chronicler might ask: What drove Episcopalians to hate themselves, and their tradition, so much that they welcomed in their replacements–even their mortal enemies? What brought about their collective death-wish?
In the meantime, as we wait for a future Gibbon to write non-fiction, we already have Jean Raspail, the fiction writer, to show us what happens when this death-wish comes to afflict not just a church, but a whole culture.
Four decades ago, Raspail’s dystopic novel, The Camp of the Saints, gave us a stark warning: Unchecked immigration poses a mortal threat to France, Europe, America–and all of Western Civilization.
The title of Raspail’s 1973 book comes from the Book of Revelation, in which Satanic forces are described as surrounding God’s people, only to be destroyed by fire from above. And yet in Raspail’s bleak tale, there is no divine intervention; instead, all is lost.
In the novel, a million poverty-stricken Indians climb on board cargo ships in Calcutta and set a course for Europe. This mass exodus sets off a furious debate in France. Those who welcome large quantities of immigrants, Raspail explains, are “righteous in their loathing of anything and everything that smacked of present-day Western society, and boundless in their love of whatever might destroy it.” It’s worth recalling that Raspail wrote this more than 40 years ago; how did he see the near future–2014–so clearly?
Meanwhile, the immigration flotilla steams westward; Raspail describes the scene aboard the immigrant convoy: “Everywhere, rivers of sperm. Streaming over bodies, oozing between breasts, and buttocks, and thighs, and lips, and fingers . . . a welter of dung and debauch.”
Yet in France, the self-abasing national authorities see the newcomers differently–as a redemptive force from the Third World. Deliriously declaring this horde to be a “million Christs,” the government hails their arrival as signaling “the dawn of a just, new day.”
In Raspail’s novel, one of the characters, an old professor steeped in European history, observes that French elites indeed lack the needed patriotic consciousness–that is, “the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest.” Such pride of a people is natural, even desirable, but, as Raspail explains, it has been beaten down by decades of guilt-tripping; today, he sighs, the French are “nothing more than . . . sheep.”
And so this Indian multitude–reduced to 800,000 by rampant onboard disease and violence–is allowed to land in Southern France, whereupon the Ganges horde immediately unleashes rape and ruin. Then other immigrants come pouring into the West as well: “the swarthy millions roaming the streets of New York and London, or the myriad blacks and Arabs ready to spew from the cellars of Paris.” Soon squatters have moved in with the Queen of England and the Mayor of New York City. The West is done for.
For the most part, contemporary critics ignored the book, although as one reviewer conceded at the time, Raspail “was neither a prophet nor a visionary novelist, but simply a relentless historian of our future.”
And while some critics have labeled Raspail as a racist, he makes it plain that nationality can subsume ethnicity. In a 2011 interview, he observed that France is, in fact, a nation of many nations:
It is true that France is the product of a great and beneficial brewing background of Gallo-Roman sauce, Franks, Burgundians, Vikings, Visigoths, etc. Then Alsatians, Basques, Catalans , Jews of Alsace and Lorraine, Bretons, of Provence, etc., then Italians, Spaniards, Poles, Portuguese.
The point, though, is that all these disparate peoples came together to become French. At least, they had done so in the past. But the recent anti-Semitic violence and disturbance in France underscores the reality that continuous immigration from the Muslim world is clearly changing French politics–and France itself. If present demographic trends continue, one can look ahead to the day that France is no longer a European country; instead, it will be the new northern boundary of the Maghreb–Muslim North Africa.
Yes, the same thing could happen here in the US. It’s not the soil that gives America its character; it’s the people who live here. To be sure, demography is destiny.
Meanwhile, Raspail’s novel shows the author to be an old-fashioned nationalist; he warmly describes, and vindicates, an instinctive defense of home and homeland. “Man never has really loved humanity all of a piece,” he writes; that is, it’s inherent that we like some peoples and cultures more than others. That’s just human nature.
Describing the professor’s centuries-old house, Raspail writes, “Each object . . . proclaimed the dignity of those who had lived there–their discretion, their propriety, their reserve, their taste for those solid traditions that one generation can pass on to the next, so long as it still takes pride in itself.” Such possessions, and the ideas that connect them and give them value, are the vivid talismans of patriotism. Indeed, as another Frenchman, Emile Durkheim, once observed, nations survive only if they unite around common emblems of nationhood.
What Raspail has done, then, is summon up history in a lyrical defense of France. In the novel, the old professor–clearly, an allegorical symbol for the nation itself–muses aloud about long-ago Gauls who defended their homeland. “Had I been with Aetius,” he muses, thinking back to the Battle of Chalons in 451 AD, when the Franks beat back Attila’s hordes, “I think I would have reveled in killing my share of Hun.”
Girding himself further as he prepares to take up arms, the old man reflects on what it might have been like to fight alongside other past heroes of the realm, including Charles Martel, the Christian knight who defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD. In Raspail’s view, the heroic legends of the past should speak loudly to the present with their common message: Repel the barbarians.
Moreover, if Raspail is right about what motivates people to defend their homeland, he is equally right about what it takes to demotivate them. He is dead-on in his depiction of the systemic guilt-tripping that has crippled the defense of the West.
As another character exclaims to the open-borders advocates, “You want to destroy our world, our whole way of life. . . . There’s not one of you proud of his skin, and all that it stands for.” To which the multiculturalists answer: “Not proud . . . That’s the price we have to pay for the brotherhood of man. We’re happy to pay it.”
Indeed they do pay: They are all destroyed.
So now fast forward 40 years, to 2014: Europe is under demographic siege, and so is America. Raspail’s nightmare scenario is coming to pass on both continents Indeed, the current scenes along the US-Mexican border seem like a sequel to The Camp of the Saints.
In America today, the multicultural left–including, of course, the Obama administration–has made its position clear: It looks forward to the political and demographic dissolution of the United States.
So now, duly warned, every American patriot will have to decide for himself or herself: Is America worth fighting for, or not?