Richard Millet - View from the U.S.
A French associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Bruno Chaouat, has written an article published in Le Monde, about the character of writer Richard Millet (see earlier post), who has shaken the politically correct world of the French media with his remarks about multiculturalism as the cause of Anders Breivik's rampage.
According to Chaouat, Millet's major problem in his analysis of the current political scene is his obsession with America. Here are substantial excerpts from the article:
Viewed from the United States, the "Affaire Millet" is rather amusing. As a reader and admirer of Richard Millet for several years, I was not surprised by his Eloge littéraire d'Anders Breivik (Literary eulogy for Anders Breivik). If I admire the somber and cruel beauty of his fiction, his pamphlets leave me skeptical and seem over-rated and predictable. In the matter that concerns us what surprises me above all is the blindness of the critics: writers and journalists have been quick to denounce Richard Millet's racism and Islamophobia. OK. But no one has identified the writer's enemy. The veritable ghost haunting Millet is not the blacks or the Arabs (any attentive reader knows he has a great admiration for Arab culture). His fixation is America.
But if, to the extreme Left, America is violent, guilty of slave trading, and imperialist, according to Millet it is responsible for the effeminacy, the miscegenation, the virtualization of experience, and the decline of the European mind. Ten years ago Philippe Roger (L'Ennemi américain, Le Seuil publisher, 2002) had shown the degree to which French writers and intellectuals, since the 18th century, project their identitarian anxiety on America. In 1930, Georges Duhamel imputed to America, through a tour de force that defied all logic, both racism and miscegenation. Unjust with the blacks, much more racist than France, America announced for Duhamel the frightening future of Europe, even of the world, namely, the harmful mixing of races…
Note: At this point, and for the rest of his article, Professor Chaouat, like other Frenchmen who have come to America and learned to reject the negative image of the country crafted by the French intellectuals, goes a bit too far in praising our virtues. These virtues used to be a reality, but no longer are, and yet if he sees a major difference, it is because he is seeing America with different eyes and different reference points than the rest of us.
Unable to escape the electoral debates, I can affirm that Millet is wrong to see in America the prima causa of what he deplores for France and the "old Christian nations". Millet claims to be ostracized as a white man, a Christian and a heterosexual. Now, among the main issues of the next presidential election are homosexual marriage and abortion. Can one imagine these issues, from the realm of politico-theology, at the center of a French election?
Let's remember that the president of the United States takes an oath of office on the Bible more often than many others, making the United States a country where legal separation of Church and State is a whim that the founding fathers could allow themselves, so confident were they in the influence and continuity of Christianity in public life. Two thirds of the Supreme Court judges are Catholic, Christians not only by the accident of birth and baptism, but Christians by conviction.
Note: The religious convictions of the members of the Supreme Court do not necessarily influence their decisions. Theoretically they are not supposed to. A justice decides on the constitutionality of a law independent of his/her religious convictions. But our court has become a "progressive" activist court, where issues crucial to the well-being of the country, such as affirmative action, Socialized medicine, women's rights, etc… are decided upon by nine justices, only three of whom can be said to be traditionalists: Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. Chief Justice John Roberts is highly unreliable. Our court has many problems, despite whatever religious convictions the judges espouse.
I disagree with Professor Chaouat's next statement:
America's Christian tradition is so sure of itself that it has no fear of the Islamization of society, whereas Islamism in Europe is rushing headlong into the abyss left open by the death of God. As for effeminacy, except for the type called "metrosexual", prevalent in large Western cities, the American, jealous of his guns, is far from being emasculated. Having read Richard Millet, I know he does not disdain expert shooters.
Note: I would say that America's Christian tradition does not understand the true nature of Islam. If it did, it would fear greatly for the future of the country and call out for restrictions on Muslim immigration to the U.S.
Finally, Richard Millet justifiably complains about the threat of being criminalized and the muzzling of free speech in France. I therefore suggest to this French publisher, the first to have promoted an American winner of the Goncourt Prize, to move to the United States, where freedom of press is not an empty word and where the "politically incorrect" are not exposed to censorship for their opinions.
Note: I thank Bruno Chaouat for his kind words. It's a pleasure to hear a Frenchman speak kindly of the United States. Unfortunately, he is speaking about a much older America, not today's taboo-saturated, black-crime-riddled, feminist-dominated society where a male teacher could easily lose his job overnight for saying something deemed uncomplimentary by women. The Lawrence Summers affair is one example, probably not a good one since Summers did not suffer any financial loss, and went on to join Obama's government.
And I assume Chaouat is familiar with the soaring crime rate in the Minneapolis-Saint-Paul region and the sugar-coated language used by the media in its descriptions of the "alleged" perpetrators.
Below, Richard Millet.
Update: A quick Google of crime in the TwinCities region led to a number of articles. But I did find this webpage very interesting in that it seems to lend credibility to the professor's views. What paper in France would actually show photos of the criminals?