Growing up, Michel Onfray – self-declared hedonist, Epicurean and atheist – spent four years in a Catholic boarding school. Those years were a “hellish period” he says, the roots of his atheism and refusal of both religion and authority.
He has a PhD in philosophy from the Caen University and is a difficult man to categorize: politically he is closest to anarchism, a strong critic of the “caviar Socialists”, the European Union and export of democracy to the Middle East.
A few weeks ago – upon seeing an image showing Emmanuel Macron with two rapper-looking youth – he wrote an open letter lambasting the French government. His lectures have subsequently been banned from public radio and a television interview invitation has been withdrawn.
He says contemporary French politics is defined by the imminent death of the Judeo-Christian civilization.
“We are living the final stages of this civilization. The politicians of our time don’t make history, but it is history that shapes them. This is why their personalities are permeated by nihilism.”
He says we can do nothing to save our dying civilization and the only thing we can do is to keep our dignity. “All we have left is majesty and elegance, these Roman virtues. But whatever we do, we are done with: the ash cloud is coming.”
Onfray says the opposite of populism is not progressivism but populicide – those bent on destroying nations. He says France has a “fake left” and is also very critical of the European Union.
“The right and the liberal left both subscribe to the same pro-Europe vision that supposes the existence of the Maastricht Empire – an empire that is aggressive against the weak (the people) but bows before the strong (the capital).”