The Courage To Open Fire

March 26, 2024
Guest Perspective by William Briggs

Like the works of David Irving, you will never find Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints on one of those Banned Books displays so beloved of the women (and it always seems to be women) who run bookstores and libraries. And the reason is simple: these books have been banned.

In polite society, that is. Among the bien pensant. So dangerous is Camp of the Saints that the holder of the English-language copyright actively suppresses the book, lest it find its way into the hands of, well, you. Hard copies are hard to find. But you can, with minimal searching, get bootlegs online.

Because this book has received many excellent reviews, noted below and which I insist that you read, I’ll review its plot as briefly as possible.

Aided and abetted by the French Church, rulers, elite and the intelligentsia, an armada of “migrants” is about to invade France. Alas, the magic of the French soil does not convert them to Frenchmen; they instead remain foreigners and they turn the country into the hellholes from which they had escaped.

The French elite feel (not think) that this fate is what the native French deserve. Yet the elite somehow believe their saintly acts of welcoming the entire world will be repaid and the utopia of Equality will be instituted. In the end, and to their great surprise, their reward is to have their throats slit.

Here is the key for us, from the review by Charles Haywood:

As the “Last Chance Armada,” so dubbed by sympathetic talking heads, approaches France, the government does nothing but wring its hands, while offering worthless words about the ancient grandeur of the nation. Much of the book is a build-up to the crucial speech by the prime minister, right before the invaders land, to tell the nation what to do. He writes a speech in which he orders resistance by force; but as he gives the speech, his will cracks, and he simply tells everyone to follow his own conscience, which means nothing can or will be done to resist the invasion. Almost nobody in France, not just the elites, has the will to resist; they are all hollow men, unworthy of their ancestors, and by implication unworthy of keeping what their ancestors won and built. “For the West is empty, even if it has not yet really become aware of it. An extraordinarily inventive civilization, surely the only one capable of meeting the challenges of the third millennium, the West has no soul left.” The invaders run aground in southern France on Easter Sunday (Raspail is not particularly subtle), or at least the 800,000 who have not died on the way do, and sweep ashore.

In another review, this by Nathan Pinkoski in First Things entitled “Spiritual Death of the West“, we read of the French elite:

It was not Raspail but Jean-Paul Sartre who first envisioned the Global South invading the Global North. In his 1961 preface to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, written as Charles de Gaulle was preparing to lower France’s flags in Algeria, Sartre argued that decolonization was not enough to settle the score. France and the French deserved punitive subjugation. “Our soil must be occupied by a formerly colonized people and we must starve of hunger,” he wrote.

Switch now to the southern border of the once United States last week. Here is a video of a horde of “migrants” near El Paso. The Texas National Guard, armed, stands off the horde, but only for a moment. There are only a handful of soldiers, and an army of “migrants”. The “migrants” push the Guard aside, and rush the border.

Not a shot is fired.

There were shots fired in the Summer of Floyd riots. Which, following Sartre, our elites encouraged and abetted. Stay inside!, they warned, because the coronadoom will kill you dead if you fail to obey social distancing. Unless you were rioting, Experts insisted, which conferred immunity.

The shots fired in 2020 were from members of Black Larcenous Marauders and other criminals in a murderous “mostly peaceful” sprees, which were welcomed and cheered. No looters were shot.

Yet there was one other notable incident of shots being fired. By young Kyle Rittenhouse, who, doing what officials refused, rid the world of some “antifa”.

And there was, even, a shot fired in Camp of the Saints. As Pinkoski retells it:

Indeed, the first shots fired are white-on-white violence. As the novel begins, the armada of migrants arrives on the French shore. A retired professor in his seaside cottage looks on. He is accosted by a young white miscreant who mouths a version of Sartre’s declaration. The other villagers have fled, but the professor, a representative of high culture who is determined to defend his home and his way of life, stands his ground. The youth vows to lead a band of migrants to pillage the professor’s home. The professor collects his rifle, never before used in anger, and shoots him.

The professor and Rittenhouse have in common the same thing, the thing lacking everywhere else: the courage to open fire.

The phrase is from C. Northcote Parkinson (of Parkinson’s Law fame), from his neglected classic The Evolution of Political Thought.

Parkinson shows how political systems inevitably evolve, starting well with some form on truly elite rule, and devolving into (as Aristotle agrees) the worst state, that of democracy. Democracies end badly, usually in dictatorship or (in a more current phrase) leftist singularities and civil war.

With my emphasis:

Civil War of this kind seems likely to produce dictatorship in any case; nor do dictatorships of different origin differ from each other as much as might be supposed. For the dictator, in the last resort, is not so much a master of intrigue and cruelty as a man with sufficient moral courage to open fire

Governments which collapse when mobbed are usually lacking not weapons but courage. At some point in a situation of growing disorder someone must give the order to fire or charge. In a capital city — with the certainty that half the casualties will be innocent bystanders — this requires a fair amount of courage, it is easiest for a foreigner, a Prince Rupert, a Napoleon, a General Dyer; and easier still if the troops are also foreign — Scottish mercenaries in Paris, Swiss mercenaries in Rome or German mercenaries in Algiers.

Everybody remembers the “whiff of grapeshot” used by Napoleon to end the madness in France. None of our rulers, that we know of anyway, have that kind of courage.

As long as we’re drawing from fiction, and because there is a slew of commentators on the soft right who say it is our Christian “duty” to let everyone in who wants in, even if it swamps the lifeboat and kills everybody, it’s well to recall the 1951 movie When Worlds Collide.

Briefly, the earth is about to be destroyed by a star-planet combination that will sweep past the earth, the star consuming our home, though the star’s planet will survive. An eccentric wealthy man funds a rocket ship that will carry a handful of carefully selected people to the new plant. The compound where the rocket is built is fenced off and secured by men with guns supplied by the wealthy man.

There is no angst about Diversity or Equality in picking the crew, but there is great concern about the number, because weight equals fuel, which is sorely limited. Only a few can go. And there is no doubt: the earth will be destroyed. This is it. The end.

Some get to go and live, the rest have to stay and die. A lottery, which all agree to, is used to make the choice.

As the ship is sealed, the compound is besieged. And those inside who lost the lottery, about to be left behind, awaken to their coming fate. One man shouts, “And why should our lives be decided by a raffle! It could have been fixed!” Another says, “It should have been done by voting!” They rush the ship, hoping by violence to secure passage.

But some men guarding the ship have the courage to open fire.

And mankind is saved.