[Editor’s note: The following is a translation by Ibn Warraq and Robert Kerr of Michel Onfray’s L’Art d’Etre Francais (The Art of Being French, Bouquins, 2021), published here for the first time. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 6 is here.]
Those who are afraid of Islam – that’s the etymology of Islamophobic (because, among the other vilenesses with which it is replete, it is intrinsically anti-Semitic) – are therefore the very ones who are responsible for anti-Semitism. This ideological pirouette turns out to be a bland and flat rehash of the Sartrean thesis according to which the anti-Semite invents the Jew, but this is sheer stupidity! It is enough to read the Qur’an, the sacred word of God himself, to see that anti-Semitism is one of the very foundations of Islam. But since Emmanuel Todd states that the Muslims have no interest in the Qur’an, everything becomes possible. Anti-Semites can therefore be excused, because the only culprit is the Islamophobe … who refutes anti-Semitic Islam!
Last but certainly not least, Emmanuel Todd sees in the explosion of mixed marriages in France the proof of… racism! Anyone else would think the contrary, but not our sociologist! Why is that? The juggler’s answer is that such marriages encourage assimilation, and assimilation in turn implies the negation of diversity in the name of a neo-republicanism that is called all sorts of names and accused of all sorts of evils – neo-Vichyism, nationalism, neo-fascism, and of course the extreme right is also invoked… A white man who marries a black woman, or vice versa, becomes a fellow traveler of Maréchal Pétain. One has to appreciate the scientific rigor of such a sociological analysis.
Finally, Emmanuel Todd coins some ideas that are not lacking in pungency: according to him, there are indeed “several universalisms”, including “a universalism restricted to men”! Therefore, the universalism of the Enlightenment, which is addressed to both men and women without distinction of color, religion, wealth or condition, is one of many, and is just as commendable as Muslim universalism that excludes women, Jews, Christians, miscreants, atheists and agnostics.
What to do?
Emmanuel Todd answers simply: communitarianism. “In the end, it is a matter of realism and necessity of freely, joyfully admitting, that there is now, in French culture, a Muslim province.” He is not so much inviting the Muslims (who do not exist, lest we forget…) to become French (which would be fascism and racism…) as he is inviting the French to become Islamic. Islam already has a word for this: dhimmitude, which is another name for submission.
The Islamo-leftist rhetoric equates the present day Muslims to the Jews during the Interwar period of the 20th century. Emmanuel Todd is no exception. This is also the thesis of a book by the journalist Edwy Plenel entitled Pour les musulmans.
What does this book say?
In this book, strangely enough, we do not find the words Qur’an, Mohammed, hadith, sharia, or even Prophet! There is even no reference to a quranic surah or verse, two other words that do not appear in the book either. Jihad and jihadism are also nowhere to be found. A rather strange opus…
What is this book about? Colonialism as the original sin of our culture and about the inequality of civilizations, the loss of nationality and intolerant secularism, the wearing of the veil and the refusal to assimilate, the praise of communitarianism and the denial of the very possibility of speaking of Judeo-Christian civilization, of Jews and the Dreyfus affair, of Émile Zola and state racism, and of the opium of the people. It is a journalist’s book that obeys the rules of the profession.
What are they? I can think of six: essentializing [scil. oversimplification], godwining, if I may use this neologism which I will explain, verbigerate, exaggeration, denial and amalgamation. This sketch of a discourse on the journalistic method allows us to see how this profession has largely overflowed beyond its world to proliferate just about everywhere – notably in philosophy, which Gilles Deleuze had perfectly analyzed during the emergence of the New Philosophers…
First: essentializing [oversimplification]. Although Edwy Pleyel defends himself against it and denounces this way of doing things, but it nevertheless his own methodology! The proof? We don’t even need to read his entire book: the title is enough: For the Muslims. For what does “the” in the formula “The Muslims” mean? There is no need for further clarification other than that they are one and the same entity. Or are there contemporary Muslims of the Prophet or Muslims of the French suburbs, erudite Muslims and uneducated Muslims, pacifist Muslims and terrorist Muslims, literate Muslims and frustrated Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims, North African Muslims and Asian Muslims, Muslims in Muslim countries and Muslims in Christian countries, bellicose Muslims and tolerant Muslims, fundamentalist and enlightened Muslims, white Muslims and black Muslims, born Muslims and converted Muslims, Muslims who have read the Koran several times and know it by heart and Muslims who have never read a line, practising Muslims and beer-drinking Muslims, homophobic Muslims and homosexual Muslims? It doesn’t matter. All these people constitute “the Muslims” who can be talked about as if they were one and the same!
Edwy Plenel castigates “the xenophobic essentialization [which] justifies identity-based essentialization” (p. 57) in the name of an Islamophile essentialization. He doesn’t like it when we talk about Muslims as if they were a single homogeneous community if we want to criticize them, but he himself talks about Muslims as if they were a homogeneous community in order to praise them as the damned of the Earth.
So would the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who runs his oil-rich monarchy as a dictator with no regard for democracy, with total disregard for human rights (and who deserves the wrath of all the organizations that oversee respect for these rights) – because he is a Muslim, also qualify as belonging to the damned of the earth? He and all his family, and even all of his entourage? Likewise the tyrants of Qatar? Or the rulers of Iran? Who can possibly believe such a thing?
 Vichy France is the common name of the French State (État français) headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. The regime was authoritarian, xenophobic, antisemitic and traditionalist in nature. Officially independent, it adopted a policy of collaboration with Nazi Germany, which occupied its northern and western portions before occupying the remainder of Metropolitan France in November 1942.
 Dhimmitude is the status of non-Muslims under Muslim rule, term coined by the Egyptian-born British writer Bat Ye’or in the 1980s and 1990s. It is a portmanteau word constructed from the Arabic dhimmi ‘non-Muslim’ and the French (serv)itude ‘subjection’. It is a permanent status of subjection in which Jews and Christians have been held under Islamic rule since the eighth century, and that forces them to accept discrimination.
 O.E.D. To go on repeating the same word or phrase in a meaningless fashion, as a symptom of mental disease.