Trump’s Philosopher?

Alain 2 copyI noted here a month ago about how some French intellectuals have been saying “enough!” to the multiculturalism and other degradations that have caused Europe to embark on collective suicide, but today’s New York Times has a fascinating story about Alain Finkielkraut, a prominent and best-selling philosopher who is giving France the kind of straight talk that would make him the suitable philosopher for Donald Trump. Like most public intellectuals in France, he comes from the left. Why can’t any American leftists (with one or two noble exceptions, such as Paul Berman) speak as clearly as the Times account conveys:

The national audience for Mr. Finkielkraut’s themes, returned to obsessively and buttressed by a seamless web of references, is now larger than ever in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2015.

Before and after the attacks, those themes have not varied: Much of Islam is radically incompatible with French culture and society; Muslim immigrants represent a threat; French schools are crumbling under a mistaken multicultural outreach; the inherited corpus of French culture is in danger; and anti-Semitism is on the rise again, this time by way of Islam.

Many of the 2015 attackers were French. “Hatred of France is present in France,” Mr. Finkielkraut said in a recent interview. “What the attacks proved is that we have a redoubtable and determined enemy.”

He has caught a national mood, bridging unease over relations with the country’s Muslim minority with a nascent renewal of national pride after the November attacks. Its expression by Mr. Finkielkraut has been delivered, over many years, with all the fervor of the immigrants’ son who has succeeded. But in Mr. Finkielkraut’s pessimistic vision this fusion is dark-robed.

His last substantial book, “The Unhappy Identity,” was a best seller in France — a compact lament over declining standards in schools, the pernicious effects of multiculturalism, the oppression of women under Islam and France’s self-alienation from its own heritage.

The book’s protest over neighborhoods where “the French feel they have become strangers on their own turf” under the weight of Muslim immigration led critics to put him in the camp of the far-right National Front — a charge he rejects.

“France is on its way to disintegration,” Mr. Finkielkraut said in the interview in his Left Bank apartment, every book-lined inch underscoring his distrust of the Internet. The prosperous, pleasant and largely white-populated streets outside are far from the troubled multiracial suburbs that are his preoccupation.