Nativist, anti-immigration, anti-feminist, nationalist. Where does Zemmour stand on key issues?
To understand Zemmour’s views, here is a list of his past and present positions on issues.
Zemmour is indeed used to citing statistics and talking about history. And increasingly, TV and other news outlets are trying to verify what he says. But Zemmour does not take a positive view. He sees the fight against fake news as a pretext to “legitimize an appropriation of media by the dominant ideology.” When something does not fit his political narrative, he denounces the bias of people who fact-check. On the other hand, he says, “the French look at streets and the subway, especially at the workplace and in the classroom, and see evidence […] of the Great replacement(see).”
This is one of Zemmour’s long-standing crusades. “I am against all forms of affirmative action,” he recently declared. “So,” he added, “I am against equal rights.” Zemmour believes the government should not encourage the participation of underrepresented minorities. “In France,” he said, “meritocracy has always worked.” “What is the promise of France since 1789?” he wondered. “Meritocracy,” he replied, “hard work, knowledge, personal effort are the measure of merit.” “Elites should lead societies, not be representative of them,” he added. Moreover, “recent immigrant families have very low socio-cultural levels.”
“France is assimilation,” Zemmour says. And it is the opposite of Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism “that is destroying France”. Assimilation “is the constitution of a people from elements that come from elsewhere,” he adds. “With multiculturalism,” he says, “the Other is the Other, it is no longer France,” but its negation. The French assimilation, formally established in the 1920s, requires that people of other nationalities merge with a French identity in all aspects of daily life. In the 1980s, the term “integration” replaced it. Newcomers could retain some of their identity. In The French Suicide (2014), Zemmour argues that “assimilation achieved integration” as it happened in the Roman Empire. But he is far from being optimistic. “The first problems that foretold the fall of the Roman Empire,” he wrote “were the barbarians’ refusal to change their surnames and the decision to keep their weapons.” Hence his idea to ban “foreign names” in France.
For Zemmour, the banlieues are the failure of multiculturalism. He calls the suburbs by various names: “the lost quarters of the Republic” and “the zones of no-right” (France has not yet spoken its last word, 2021); “Islamized quarters” living in another France. These are places the government must reclaim, he says. In these places, Islam and the (white) French are fighting a civil war. And here, he says, women are constantly attacked. So, he goes on, women should give up speaking about equality and deal with Islam instead (see feminism).
According to Zemmour, there are two bourgeoisie in France. There is the patriotic and conservative bourgeoisie, which he represents. And there is the post-1968 bourgeoisie, which is internationalist and libertarian. The latter has used the “Marxist philosophy about the working class to displace the old bourgeoisie” (The French Suicide, 2014). The post-1968 bourgeoisie, he says in his recent book France Has Not Said Its Last Word, “spends its life atoning for its wealth, colonization, or even Vichy (see) […] and believes in man, especially if he is not white and rich.” Zemmour believes he is the one who can establish the alliance between the patriotic bourgeoisie and the popular classes. This, he says, is the only way to defeat Macron and the “progressive bourgeoisie.”
Zemmour believes the history of France begins with the baptism of Clovis. Yet the then-king of the Franks was Germanic-speaking. But this hardly plays a role in the mythological narrative of the French nation.
This is a theme that has two sides for Zemmour. On one side, he defends French colonialism. He defends the idea that you should take France’s point of view, in order to become French. And you should renounce the point of view of your ancestors. It’s an idea he takes to extremes. He declared to be on General Bugeaud’s side when he arrived in Algeria and started massacring Muslims and even some Jews. “Well,” he said, “I support General Bugeaud” because that “is what it means to be French!”On the other side, he thinks France is the victim of the “Islam colonization”. In French Destiny, he gets around to criticizing De Gaulle for colonialism. De Gaulle would have given up Algeria and oil. Then he rehabilitates De Gaulle because he “wanted to prevent the demographic invasion by Islam.” This colonization, the “great substitution” (see), is taking place in the banlieues (see). In these neighborhoods, ”most cafés are reserved for men under an unwritten but strictly enforced law, and veiled women are becoming more numerous” (France has not said its last word, 2021).
Zemmour greatly admires the founder of the Fifth Republic in a peculiar way. For him, General De Gaulle was a continuation of Vichy, the Second World War Nazi collaborationist regime. However, Zemmour doesn’t think of Vichy’s regime as a Nazi puppet state. Pétain and De Gaulle had a common goal, he thinks. Both aimed to save the honor of France. De Gaulle also made some mistakes. Zemmour wrote in French Destiny that “the man who had embodied the honor and greatness of France since June 18, 1940, had traded the ancestral and virile values of the French army for the prosperity of economic development and consumerist materialism.” But, in 1968, he was punished by the “hedonistic and spiritualistic revolt of a spoiled generation that had been spared the war but refused to fall in love with the rate of growth.”
A few weeks ago Zemmour met Michel Onfray, a leftist philosopher. On that occasion, the two intellectuals agreed on many points. They agreed on the decline of France and the West before Islam. They shared the same view about the failure of progressive culture. They criticized the Vatican Council II and globalization. They attacked the school that has become “a politically correct and anti-French propaganda machine.” A decline that requires a response. Or rather a reactionary response.
Zemmour thinks there is a kind of parallel hierarchy that secretly holds decision-making power over society and all political decisions in French democracy. President Macron is part of the “Deep State”. Trump docet.
“Europe is useless”, he declared a few weeks ago. And yet Zemmour has said he does not want France to leave the European Union. Once a proponent of leaving the euro, Zemmour now does not want it. Marine Le Pen made that mistake in 2017 and it likely cost her the election. Zemmour has a model of Europe. He attended the right-wing summit in Budapest called by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Zemmour believes that Orban is “not an authoritarian leader.” Rather, he is a leader who is “not intimidated by minorities, by the media, or by justices.” He is “exactly what we would need in France”.
One of Zemmour’s great enemies. “Feminism,” he says in French Destiny, “is the useful idiot of capitalism.” It is “an ideology of death since it denies life in order to impose its obsession with egalitarian indifference.” What he sets forth in his various books is a “tainted” view of history, society, and politics. Thus, “in a traditional society, a man’s sexual appetite goes hand in hand with power; women are the target and prey of every gifted man who aspires to climb the ladder of society”. And “women acknowledge him, vote for him, worship him.” It’s a kind of machismo accompanied by regret about the new role of women in society. He praises “a time when masculinity was not denigrated, ostracized, slandered, even demonized and punished.” He regrets “a time when a seducer, a man who loved women, was not considered a potential rapist” and “women’s beauty was no evidence of their alienation from patriarchy” (France Has Not Said Its Last Word, 2021).
Zemmour says there are only two categories of men who escape feminism’s “criminalization of desire”: “gays and immigrants from Muslim countries.” Indeed, “the old alliance between feminists and homosexuals has extended to anti-racist movements” (French Destiny). The feminization of the white heterosexual male is taking place because “since women have failed to become men like the others, men must become women like the others.” But in reality, the gays are also the instrument with which “the extreme left and the market ally themselves.” Over the years, “the gay lobby has organized and enriched itself,” he says, focusing on “the strategy of victimizing its most ardent flag-wavers” and “getting to the point of rewriting the history of the World War II and inventing the persecution by Vichy that would have sent homosexuals to concentration camps” (The French Suicide). Gay men, he continues, “want to be Jews like the others,” but it is “a web of fabrications […] that the gay lobby has very effectively imposed on an unsophisticated and fearful media-political society.” Instead, the gay lobby has managed to carefully prepare its case to marry off same-sex couples. But, Zemmour said, if we justify gay marriage on the grounds of love, “why not demand marriage between a father and his daughter, between a brother and a sister, between three or four people who love each other?” or “why reject polygamy?”.
This is another core theme of Zemmour. He believes that the state should lead the fight against “gender theory” and “decolonial” ideology. Therefore, he argues, the state should take control of the university and abolish the “gender theory” departments. These ideas, he adds, are successful. But mostly it depends on “European Union funding” to force universities to adopt decolonial ideology and gender theory. Ideas that are mainly a subjugation “for LGBTQ activists who have no business in school.” A few days ago, the French education minister sent a ministerial circular to schools asking for greater consideration of the inclusion of transgender children in school. Zemmour said on TV, that “he does not know this jargon, for me, there are only girls and boys.”
It is one of the great dichotomies that divide French and Western society. On one side are the proponents of globalization, openness, universalism, cosmopolitanism, free trade, Europe, and xenophilia. On the other side, the advocates of the nation, closure, national preference, patriotism, protectionism, national sovereignty, and xenophobia. An opposition that, according to Zemmour in French Destiny, goes back to Voltaire and Rousseau. Needless to say, with whom Zemmour identifies.
The Great Replacement
The conspiracy theory of the Great Replacement has taken hold everywhere. From the United States to Italy. But it originated in France. Zemmour is the public figure most instrumental in spreading it to the public. But it is an idea of the writer Renaud Camus. Camus thinks that “massive” immigration and higher fertility of the population of non-European origin will in time cause the disappearance of the European “white race”. This will end with the imposition of cultures and an “imperialist” religion — Islam — alien to the continent. This replacement would occur in three phases: the transformation, the dissolution of French identity, and its destruction around 2030. This is a racist theory but enriched with conspiratorial elements. Camus adds that the great replacement would take place with the complicity of the ruling globalist elites. This “contemporary totalitarianism,” as he calls it, “voluntarily organizes this massive immigration to create a new human being devoid of national, ethnic, and cultural characteristics”. “This new human being can therefore be relocated and exchanged according to the needs of the globalist economy”, Camus stated. In Mélancolie française (2010), Eric Zemmour identifies this substitution aimed at erasing French identity in the proliferation of the names of newborns by “American” globalization — “Kevin” — and “Islamic” imperialism — Mohamed.
Halal stores sell food made according to Islamic rules. But for Zemmour, they are the symbol of “Islamic colonization.” Through them, Islam conquers “scattered but numerous territories”. This will lead to “the birth of a French Dar el-Islam” (The French Suicide).
For Zemmour, himself a Jew of Berber origin, “Jewish elites, […] mostly leftist, have lured their co-religionists into a double trap, one identitarian and one globalist, one tribal and one cosmopolitan”. “This”, he says, “would have separated them from their fellow French citizens and made them privileged victims” (French Destiny). Jewish elites have also split off from working-class Jews, as is the case throughout France, Europe, and the United States. But Jews living in France and the West in general “will be increasingly forced to choose between the Jewish religion and the Jewish people.”
The Enemy of Zemmour. The writer goes one step further than Le Pen. The leader of the far-right considers political Islamism to be the enemy of France. Zemmour considers the Islamic religion as a whole “incompatible with France.” He also declared that “Islam is dormant Islamism and Islamism is active Islam.” Islam, he says, is taking over the suburbs “where men insult women and spit on them when they put on a skirt.” A “civil war,” he says.
One of Zemmour’s favorite targets in his fight against “political correctness.” Zemmour wants to abolish the Pleven Law, which condemns incitement to racial hatred. He also wants to suppress the Gayssot Law, which is designed to repress any act of racism, anti-Semitism, or xenophobia. He believes they violate freedom of speech. Zemmour has already been convicted twice for incitement to racial hatred.
He also calls it the “dominant Doxa”, the prevailing opinion. Or rather, anything that deviates from his view of history and society.
According to Zemmour, this is the solution to all French problems. Social policies and jobs must favor French nationality holders. France should deny welfare to people who do not have French citizenship. Basically, Zemmour says he “prefers the French to foreigners.”
According to Zemmour, the hatred of France is the result of feminism (see), anti-racism, the gay lobby (see), the left-wing and right-wing bourgeoisie. They all teach how to hate France. He says: “Every day our country indulges in bitter hatred of its history, in the systematic criminalization of its heroes” (France has not said its last word, 2021). The teaching of history should have a special place in school. A “patriotic” history.
This is one of the cornerstones of Zemmour’s historical, cultural, and political narrative. The French writer believes that Marshal Pétain and the Vichy government saved France. He focuses in particular on Pétain’s role in saving “the French Jews.” He believes that the extradition of foreign Jews to the Nazis was the price to be paid for saving the French. Zemmour defends an old theory: the so-called thèse du glaive et du bouclier (“the thesis of the sword and the shield”). According to this theory, De Gaulle and Pétain are not so different. They employed two strategies to defend France against the Nazi enemy. Pétain acted as the “shield” so that De Gaulle’s resistance (the “sword”) could organize and defeat the Nazis. This was a very successful theory of post-war French historiography. It was mainly aimed at suppressing French responsibility for the Holocaust. But in 1972, the American historian Robert Paxton published The France of Vichy. In his book, he denounced the idea that Vichy had defended the French. This was a turning point for Zemmour. Paxton would have reinvented the story of Vichy to fit the American international order. However, Zemmour downplays the deportation of Jews by the Vichy government. France had no guilt to atone for, the French writer argues. Vichy only served to defend the “French nation,” which is the most important thing for Zemmour. The foreign victims of the Nazis are “side effects” for the salvation of France éternelle.
Convicted of inciting racial hatred (see Loi Pleven), Zemmour is known for his racist remarks. A few years ago he said that “gangs of Chechens, Roma, Kosovars, North Africans, Africans, break into houses, rape or rob.” But he is also known for spreading theories of “anti-white racism.” For Zemmour, the anti-racist movement is “an anti-white racist movement”, controlled by the “universalist and republican left”.
Regroupement familial (family reunification)
Foreign citizens with a valid residence permit can have their family members join them. But for Zemmour, family reunification is something else. Islam uses it to realize the great replacement (see) and conquer France. He proposes the end of family reunification (and immigration in general). And he also supports re-immigration.