The death in question is that of Dominique Venner, eminent French writer and historian. After he made the news, bottom of Page 49 or thereabouts, the modifier ‘extreme right-wing’ has been inevitably attached to his name.
What an awful thing to be. I don’t know the French for ‘swivel-eyed loon’ or ‘fruitcake’, but if the words exist they’re doubtless being used to describe Dr Venner. The word conservateur definitely does exist, and in French it’s strictly, as opposed to ‘mostly’ in English, pejorative. Dominique Venner certainly was that.
Now what kind of views did the historian espouse to deserve such derogatory soubriquets?
In 1956, at age 21, he participated in the sacking of the offices of the French Communist Party to protest against the massacre of the Hungarian uprising. Naughty, naughty. It used to take a veritable fruitcake to find anything wrong with communism until the Russians said it was okay. Trust a loon to speak out of turn.
In 1961 Venner was sentenced to 18 months in prison for being a member of the OAS, an army organisation that took at face value de Gaulle’s promise that Algeria was and would remain French. A stint in pokey was just punishment for failing to grasp the nature of modern politics. Just because de Gaulle said that, it didn’t mean he was going to keep his promise, and it was silly of Venner not to have realised this.
Since then Dr Venner had had a distinguished academic, journalistic and publishing career. He wrote many books, all receiving wide critical acclaim, most translated into various languages and several awarded prestigious literary prizes. He also published and edited a few influential magazines.
Dr Venner’s literary output is variations on a central theme: a desperate desire to preserve what’s left of Western civilisation. You know, the anachronism that used to be called Christendom.
For example, he saw mass immigration of cultural aliens as – are you ready for this? – something that imperilled the Western civilisation he loved and the Catholic faith he practised. His love wasn’t tinged with hatred, as even his detractors had to admit. In an editorial Dr Venner wrote for his magazine La Nouvelle Revue d’Histoire, he made this perfectly clear:
‘The Japanese, the Jews, the Hindus and other peoples possess that treasure that has permitted them to confront the perils of history without disappearing. It is our misfortune that the majority of Europeans, and especially the French, are so impregnated with universalism that this treasure is lacking.’
Replace ‘French’ with ‘British’ and I, along with my fellow swivel-eyes loons, can only say ‘hear, hear’. But then what do you expect – we’re all fruitcakes. If we aren’t careful in our attacks on universalism we may find ourselves wearing not our customary tweeds but straitjackets. Dave will see to it.
Lately, when homomarriage was pushed down the throats of the French, as it has been shoved down our throats, Dr Venner spoke out in opposition. His proceeded mostly from his Catholic faith, but one doesn’t have to be a pious Christian to see the disastrous nature of this abomination.
Lord Tebbit the other day pointed out the dynastic ramifications of same-sex wedlock. If we had a lesbian queen, he asked, and she married her lover, with the two of them later adopting a child, would the baby be heir to the throne?
Only goes to show how far behind the times this proto-loon is. Doesn’t he know that destruction of the monarchy is the next job on our agenda, after marriage has been dead and buried? The answer to Tebbit’s question, and I know I speak for my friend Dave as well, is of course the baby would be heir to the throne. And if that means Britain becomes a republic, so much the better. Did I get this right, Dave?
Dr Venner already lived in a republic, yet he fought against the debauchment of our fundamental institution with as much vigour – and unfortunately more. The other day he wrote on his blog, ‘It will require new, spectacular and symbolic actions to rouse people from their complacency… We enter into a time when words must be backed up by actions.’
The action with which Dr Venner chose to back up his words was tragic. He went to the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and blew his brains out in front of the altar, sending 1,500 tourists scampering for the exit. A few days earlier, another Catholic had also killed himself with a sawn-off shotgun outside the Eiffel Tower.
One can only regret that Dr Venner chose to express his righteous indignation in such an unrighteous way. For in protesting against what he correctly saw as a mortal sin, he committed a sin that’s much worse. He either didn’t know or didn’t heed what G.K. Chesterton said on this subject so poignantly:
‘Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.’
Perhaps that was Dr Venner’s intention, to wipe out the world that had become intolerable to him. That, however, wasn’t his prerogative but God’s. One can only pray that He will treat Dr Venner with His usual mercy.
Here on earth we should bracket Dr Venner with those Hungarian patriots he defended in his youth – they are all victims of our anomic, cannibalistic modernity. Or else martyrs to the worthiest cause of all: defence of virtue.
Dr Dominique Venner, RIP.