Give "The Camp of the Saints" This Christmas

The visionary author who predicted, three decades ago, the self-destruction the West is currently engaged in.

If the dangerous clowns of Nigeria’s Boko Haram (“Books, Him Bad!”) are escapees from an unpublished novel of Evelyn Waugh, the builders of the Ground Zero Victory Mosque and their sickening enablers are creatures whose mischief is even blacker: They are living, breathing characters torn from the pages of The Camp of the Saints.

Really, only Jean Raspail could have come up with this scenario: Muslims fly a plane into the largest building in America, then finagle a way to buy a piece of the crash site for pennies on the dollar using shadowy money they cannot account for, then claim that America’s freedom of religion (which they reject on Islamic principle) must permit them to build on the site, then they have the infinite gall to apply for government money to build it–all the while a Christian church destroyed by the Muslims is being blocked by the very same city government, which is run by a Jewish liberal, who’s betraying his own people’s interests so that he can make inroads with his financial news services in the Middle East. The only way this story could be more lurid and implausible would be if NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg had made his fortune selling rope.

The Camp of the Saints, by the prize-winning French novelist Jean Raspail, has “awakened” countless Westerners to the dangers of mass, non-Western immigration since its publication in 1973. Translated into English, publicized in the pages of National Review (back when that magazine’s target market was adults) with a review by Jeffrey Hart, the novel is a bracing, sobering look at the suicidal liberalism that has infected Western elites. In the book, a mass exodus of refugees from India loads itself onto boats and announces it is sailing for the West. (Ironically, for us, the people aboard the ships in The Camp of the Saints are actually meant to be Hindus–who have proved, in fact, to be the most cooperative and productive of immigrant groups. Never mind: it’s merely a metaphor.)

The sailing of a million refugees for the shores of France triggers an orgy of Western self-hatred, a masochistic fetish of contrition for the “sins” of the First World on the part of lazy, spoiled leftists who dominate the media. Anyone who expresses caution at the numbers or nature of the refugees is mau-mau-ed by the critics and driven into obscurity–or covertly knifed by roving bands of self-appointed executioners. Because, you see, the real enemies of the West by this point aren’t the starving cargo of the refugee armada, but the gangs of razor-wielding Arabs and other self-selected “outsiders” who await the landing of the armada as the signal for an uprising against hated “Whitey.” The ghettos in New York, the banlieues and favelas throughout the West, are pulsing with energy, waiting to see if the symbolic blow will be allowed to fall: will the refugee armada land, or will the West blow it out of the water? Will the “weak” be permitted to use their weakness as a weapon, to exploit the chinks in the poorly catechized, post-Christian consciences of Westerners–who will feel too guilty to use force in self-defense? This question will arise in a much sharper way in the next few decades in Europe, as the remaining non-Muslim populations face the threat of takeover, and must choose between sharia and civil war.

Yes, race is used too overtly as a metaphor for the values of the West in The Camp of the Saints. At times, you can’t help cringing at how concretely the author equates whiteness with Westernness. That overly material, almost biologistic racialism, if it were more than a metaphor, would be morally reprehensible. But the author is careful at various points to point in another direction: Most of his white characters are cringing, puling post-Christian slave moralizers who seem to deserve their onrushing fate; some of his most heroic, civilized figures are Indians who cherished their Western educations, who wish to help save the West. I wish the author had laid more emphasis on such figures. But hey, I’m not the visionary author who predicted, three decades ago, precisely the sort of auto-destruction that Europe (and New York City) are currently engaged in.

If you haven’t read The Camp of the Saints, go get a copy. Indeed, get five copies–enough to give your closest dhimmi friends. If they make it all the way through (it’s a brilliant, but harrowing read) they will never look at the world the same way again. It’s that kind of book–on the same order as Darkness at Noon, The Black Book of Communism, or Man’s Search for Meaning. Anyone who can read it and remain unaffected is pretty much past persuasion.