“When a country — a society, a civilization — gets to the point of legalizing euthanasia, it loses in my eyes all right to respect. It becomes henceforth not only legitimate, but desirable, to destroy it; so that something else — another country, another society, another civilization — might have a chance to arise.”
Michel Houellbecq, “How France Lost Her Dignity,” Le Figaro (April 5, 2021)
I believe many readers will appreciate Houellbecq’s column, which can be read in translation here, since he writes hard truths about euthanasia, national decadence, and the inexorable wrath of Gnon. He also tells us things we need to hear about fatuous claims to individual human dignity and the sycophantic me-tooism of our “religious leaders.”
Traditionalists need to think hard about the second sentence in my epigraph from Houellbecq’s column. No country, society, civilization is perfect, and our affection for the whole should never depend on our approval of all of its parts, but it gets to the point when a dotard tree is too cankered, riddled and rotten to stand. Its moldering husk takes up space that Gnon requires for something healthier than a hollow haunt of owls, insects and toads. It gets to the point when men who are not themselves owls, insects or toads must take up an axe and address the dotard with words Thomas Carlyle used on a similar occasion.
“Did you think the life of man was a grimacing dance of apes? To be led always by the squeak of your paltry fiddle? Ye miserable, this universe is not an upholstery puppet-play, but a terrible God’s Fact; and you, I think—had not you better be gone!”*
*) Later Day Pamphlets (1850)