Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Catholic Social Thought and Distributism in Houellebecq's "Submission"

I recently read the much-discussed new(ish) novel by Michel Houellebecq, "Submission."  There have been loads of reviews; here's just one, from The University Bookman.  I cannot say that it's a cheery or uplifting read but it's certainly sharp, sobering, and provocative.  (There is some great writing.  I loved this line:  "I knew next to nothing about the south-west, really, only that it was a region where they ate duck confit, and duck confit struck me as incompatible with civil war.  Though, of course, I could be wrong.")  In any event . . .  in a later chapter describing the changes that take place and the policies that are adopted by the new "national unity government," led by Mohammed Ben Abbes, a charismatic member of the Muslim Brotherhood, there're several pages devoted to Chesteron, Belloc, and distributism.  It turns out that Abbes had been profoundly influenced by this movement, and so sets about to "end state subsidies for big business" and "adopt policies that favoured craftsmen and small business owners.  These measures were an instant hit . . .[,]"

Here's another line, which tells the reader quite a bit about the main character:  "[E]ven the word humanism made me want to vomit, but that might have been the canapes.  I'd overdone it on the canapes."


Garnett, Rick | Permalink