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The Submission of America’s Elites

Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission provides a glimpse of the first post-secular society, imagining a future France that gives in to the rising influence of Islam. History is often prologue, however, and though Houellebecq’s work is satire, his skewering of French elites recalls his countryman Alexis de Tocqueville, who a century and a half ago observed that nobles of the ancien régime “possessed annoying privileges, enjoyed rights that people found irksome but they safeguarded the public order, dispensed justice, had the law upheld, came to the help of the weak and directed public business.” But when “the nobility ceased to conduct these affairs, the weight of its privileges seemed more burdensome and its very existence was, in the end, no longer understandable.”  read

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