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This article uses Submission’s political plot as a trigger to analyze the political and spiritual situation in France. Following the traditionalist theories of René Guénon, Houellebecq’s main focus is the decay of the republican left, and of secular modernity in general. Like Guénon himself, Submission finds Islam to be a response. Using articles and interviews of Houellebecq since 2015, this chapter claims that he in fact believes in a possible national Catholic renaissance and, against all odds, believes in a reversal of the plot of Submission. That means that Muslims would accept being recognized as a minority religion in France only under a dominant national Catholic state. Houellebecq’s dystopian alternatives are a democratic liberal state clashing violently against Islam rather than surrendering to it, and an authoritarian national Catholic state as the only type of state equipped with the tools to accommodate and subvert Islam by making it recognized second-class religion, rather than waging a civil war against it.

In: Michel Houellebecq, the Cassandra of Freedom


This article argues that parallel to and accompanying the populist backlash tormenting Western democratic societies, a new discourse has emerged to compete with liberal pluralism, progressive multiculturalism, and the ideology of universal human rights. It is a discourse running contrary to the positions expected of the exclusionist right. Rather than originating in a vulgar national-populist reaction against liberal democracy and minority rights, this competing perspective comes from an almost paradoxical synthesis of prefascist ideas developed in the early 20th century and current pro-diversity and anticolonialist theories.

In attempting to understand this perplexing ideological conjuncture, it can help to follow the ideological evolution of the French writer and ideologue of the French and European new right, Alain de Benoist. The ideas he developed in the 1980s and 1990s, and expanded in recent years, have contributed to synthesizing an ideological trend that is becoming central in the current debate on the populist backlash in Western democratic societies – right-wing postcolonialism. While de Benoist was not alone in this, he was one of the first to introduce and weaponize the discourse of the Weimar Conservative Revolution as a theory of emancipation for both Western repressed identities as for Third-World ones.

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In: Comparative Political Theory
On 7 January 2015, the day of the murderous attack on the offices of the Paris satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the cover of the current issue showed a drunken Michel Houellebecq in a wizard’s cap making two prophecies: “In 2016 I will lose my teeth. In 2022 I will observe Ramadan.” Houellebecq had previously described Islam as “the stupidest of religions.” But on that day, as terrorists sought to bring the justice of Islam to blasphemers for whom Michel Houellebecq was insufficiently anti-Islamic, Houellebecq’s novel Submission, depicting the democratic conquest of France by the Muslim Brotherhood, was published by Flammarion. In this collection, an international cast of authorities on politics and literature discuss the meaning and unprecedented impact of Michel Houellebecq’s Submission.
In: Michel Houellebecq, the Cassandra of Freedom