With my review currently up in Taki’s Magazine of Loren Stein’s terrific translation in English of Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, I think it’s timely to repost my version of Houellebecq’s scenario for how the the second place Muslim finisher in the French Presidential election of 2022 would form a grand coalition to defeat the first place National Front.
In Houellebecq’s telling, by offering to let the Socialists and Sarkozyites have the important ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance, while the Muslim Brotherhood contented itself merely with Education, the wise and moderate Mohammed Ben Abbes disarms French Establishment concerns about the Islamists being imprudent. On January 8, 2015, the day after the Charlie Hebdo slaughter, I posted “How Plausible Is Houellebecq’s Submission?”
I don’t see Muslims getting their hands on education policy right away. White people care a lot about their children’s educations. On the other hand, Muslim politicians in France getting their hands on immigration policy would be the more likely camel’s nose in the tent, as it were. After all, immigration policy is increasingly seen in the respectable world as a subject for moral grandstanding, while education is an area for nuance. …
Houellebecq, as he pointed out to an interviewer, largely left immigration policy out of Submission.
To make this more historically plausible, however, I’d stretch this political process out into a two stage process taking place over five years across two presidential elections, and combine Submission with Jean Raspail’s 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints (and Bertolt Brecht’s 1953 poem The Solution).
In 2022, Marine Le Pen easily wins the first round with, say, 40% of the vote. The mediagenic Muslim party candidate, who finishes fourth with 9%, announces that he will advise his followers to not vote in the final election, unless the coalition of Establishment parties give him control of one area of policy — but not of education as in the author’s scenario, but of immigration and citizenship as a moral rebuke to the anti-immigrant hatefulness of the National Front.
The establishment / Islamist coalition ekes out a 51-49 win over the National Front, helped along by some mob violence and election tampering. A secular centrist Frenchman becomes president. Marine Le Pen retires as head of the National Front in favor of her even more popular and charismatic daughter, who instantly becomes the frontrunner for 2027. The Internet is full of observations that Likud lost eight straight general elections before becoming the dominant party in Israel.
In desperation to stop the next onslaught of the FN in 2027, the combined establishment parties accede to the suggestion of their most brilliant young politician, Mohammed Ben Abbes, that to prevent the people from electing a new government in 2027, the government must elect a new people.
A media campaign of white guilt over French colonialism and the Crusades is ginned up. A ship loaded with illegal immigrants founders spectacularly in the Mediterranean on television.
Looking back from the fall of 2015, I’d say that’s not a bad guess, but the reality turned out that the precipitating media moment for The Campo of the Saints was not a lot of people drowning, but one child drowning. As Stalin supposedly said, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
A new law is rammed through offering, in effect, open borders for four years to all countries victimized by French imperialism and the Crusades (in the fine print, populous Egypt is included for having suffered the indignity of the French building the Suez Canal). A one year residency requirement for voting is introduced. A senile Pope Francis issues an encyclical denouncing immigration restriction as the great Satan of the 21st Century. A few false flag operations whip up a frenzy of hatred against the FN.
The Camp of the Saints of course proves a vast disaster for France, which only intensifies establishment anger at dissidents for pointing this out. Muslim and/or African car-be-ques appear to be headed out of control, but Ben Abbes demonstrates an impressive ability to turn them off at his command. In desperation, the Socialists and Sarkozyites turn to Ben Abbes as the one man who can permanently end the FN menace, while also calming the street violence spilling from the banlieues to the arrondissements. Of course, after Ben Abbes takes out the FN, the French insiders reason, he can easily be squeezed out himself.
And so on January 30, 2027, a few months before the scheduled election, the sitting president resigns in favor of the temporary expedient of Ben Abbes as President.
Several weeks later the Louvre burns down. A retarded white soccer hooligan is arrested nearby holding a can of gasoline.
FN leaders are rounded up. A North Korean computer hack reveals to the world the names, addresses, and license plate numbers of FN voters, some of whom suffer rough justice for their hereditary guilt stretching back to the Crusades.
NATO leaders invoke Article 5 as applying to NATO member (since 2009) France and applying to an attack from inside the country by nativists. President George P. Bush, at the suggestion of U.S. national security advisor Prince Bandar, deploys the 82nd Airborne to the NATO base at Avord in central France to back the Ben Abbes government in maintaining law and order. Secretary of State Chelsea Clinton announces, “Lafayette, we are here!” as the U.S. sets up drone patrols over rural France.
In a magnanimous gesture praised in world capitals, President Ben Abbes announces he is not delaying the scheduled election. Although in preventive detention, after the first hour of vote counting in the primary round in April 2027, Mademoiselle Le Pen appears to be headed toward a smashing majority, making her President without a runoff. But a computer outage takes vote counting off the air for the rest of the evening and when the count resumes in the wee hours, it’s found that she only won 48% and must face two weeks later Ben Abbes, who is then anointed the defender of all that is right and holy in the multicultural modern era.
And thus we can pick up again with the story line in Submission.
Having finally read Submission, however, I can now see the genius of Houellebecq’s less plausible, more quietist version in which Islamist rule is accepted by the French people as a sort of Streamlined Catholicism. Houellebecq threads the needle of not offending too badly either Islamists, of the kind that murdered the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, or of the French leftist cultural gatekeepers, while creating an insidiously subversive fable.