Despite dismissing presidential hopeful Éric Zemmour’s idea of a ‘Great Replacement’ as “too radical,” one of France’s eminent philosophers and public intellectuals has argued that it takes a “fanatical denial of reality” to discount the “obvious” demographic replacement presently taking place across the European continent.
In his statements, which came last month during a televised discussion on France’s Europe 1 channel, Alain Finkielkraut—one of the 40-lifetime members of the 400-year-old, super-elite Académie française—called on intellectuals and media figures to refrain from vilifying critics of the so-called ‘Great Replacement,’ insisting that data has firmly established that demographic substitution is, in fact, taking place in France and across Europe.
Finkielkraut, who is Jewish, urged others who participate in emotionally charged debates concerning demographic replacement to exercise great caution when doing so, adding that “demonizing [the phenomenon] as racist is absurd and once again testifies to a fanatical denial of reality.”
The 72-year-old author—who’s written extensively on topics like French colonialism, immigrant assimilation in the French education system, Jewish identity, and anti-Semitism —also warned against deliberate attempts to stifle the free flow of ideas on the topic, arguing that such attempts only serve to divert attention away from the very real problem itself.
“I think the demographic change in Europe is extremely dramatic. The historical peoples in certain municipalities and regions are becoming a minority. Most French people now do not live in the suburbs, but beyond the suburbs, since they are often no longer culturally recognizable, because all the butchers are, for example, Halal. All of this has to be taken into account, actually, instead of simpler thinking.”
He then slammed the politicians, media figures, and others who gloss over the grim reality, simply writing it off as nothing more than “the racist conspiracy theory of the Great Replacement.”
“It is not,” Finkielkraut argued. “A very serious demographer, Michèle Tribalat was speaking about demographic replacement in the French department of Seine-Saint-Denis—and while I think this expression should be used with great caution, demonizing it is absurd and once again testifies to the fanatical denial of reality.”
The so-called ‘Great Replacement’ remains a particularly divisive topic, even—and perhaps especially—among those on the Right. Earlier this month, French MEP Jérôme Rivière resigned from Marine Le Pen’s National Rally only to join her arch-rival Èric Zemmour’s newly formed Reconquête party, telling Le Parisien that the move had been driven by Le Pen’s refusal to “acknowledge obvious things such as the Great Replacement.”
During the interview, Rivière—who served as the former head of the National Rally delegation in the European Parliament and as Le Pen’s foreign press spokesman—lambasted his old boss’s presidential campaign, calling her platform as “unambitious” and claiming that she “understood she wouldn’t be able to be president.”
Zemmour—who like Finkielkraut is a Jewish author, philosopher, and thinker—is without a doubt the most vocal critic of demographic replacement in France, and quite possibly in the whole of Europe as well.
Nearly a year ago, in May, Zemmour clearly communicated what many across the Western world have been thinking and feeling for years, saying: “I think the anguish felt over the end of France as it was, the anguish of the Great Replacement, has become a global feeling. The fear of no longer being France, the fear of the famous Great Replacement. A lot of people are starting to think that Islam is going to replace us. It has become a massive feeling, a mass of 70 to 80 percent of France.”
Finkielkraut, despite agreeing that demographic replacement is taking place in France and across Europe, finds Zemmour’s position on the issue to be unpalatable. In October, during a televised discussion on CNews where Zemmour and the ‘Great Replacement’ were brought up, Finkelkraut said: “I think [Zemmour’s] findings may be too radical, and, by the way, Zemmour himself has backed down a bit, as instead of the Great Replacement he has been talking about the risk of Islamization in France, and now his image, his concept and his metaphor is the ‘Balkanization’, which is an entirely different matter.”
Finkielkraut’s statements came roughly a month before a poll conducted by The Institut Français D’opinion Publique (IFOP) which revealed that 50% of the French public believe in the ‘Great Replacement,’ the online news magazine L’Obs reported.
Figures from the survey also showed that nearly 70% of Frenchmen and women believe “Islam is a threat to the identity of France.”
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.