As a man of the Right, Dominique Venner was iconic and heroic. More than once, he risked his life for his race, civilization, and tradition. As a young man, he fought as a paratrooper in France's colonial war in Algeria; years later, he plotted to overthrow the government that had abandoned Algérie française; after serving a prison sentence, he took up the task of understanding European history, not just as a partisan but as a traditionalist. Even if some might take issue with his choice of committing suicide in Notre Dame cathedral, we can only be inspired by his life's example, he resolution, and his commitment to the land of his fathers.
I, myself, struggle to understand his motives, as well as the paradox inherent in his final words:
We should also remember, as brilliantly formulated by Heidegger in Being and Time, that the essence of man is in his existence and not in “another world.” It is here and now that our destiny is played out until the last second. And this final second is as important as the rest of a lifetime. That is why you must be yourself until the last moment. It is by deciding, truly willing one’s destiny, that one conquers nothingness. And there is no escape from this requirement, because we only have this life, in which it is our duty to be fully ourselves — or to be nothing.
The here and now is the site of our struggle against our enemies, as well as our own inclinations towards decadence. In killing himself, one could say that Venner retreated into another world—or enacted, in his person, Europe's suicide.
But, as my friend Roman Bernard explained to me in conversation, Venner was, in his way, shaming us into action, shocking fellow nationalists out of despondency.
It is up to us to heed his appel aux bras.
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Venner is not well known in the United States, and his books are untranslated. The following are good places to start for Americans and English-speakers. I suggest that readers list other resources in the comments section.