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Can The Marine Corps Save France?

Here’s a really good column by Noah Millman, questioning the conventional wisdom that Marine Le Pen as president of France is unthinkable. [1] Noah says he doesn’t support Le Pen at all, but he’s bothered by the inability of the bien-pensants to grasp why she doesn’t look so bad to a lot of French voters. Note well that Noah wrote a similar column about Donald Trump back when the possibility of a Trump presidency was too shocking to take seriously. Here’s the heart of  his piece on Le Pen:

The FN’s course is unquestionably risky. But the risks of the status quo have been abundantly in evidence over the past decade, and what is to be done about them? Does anyone, at this late date, really believe that the EU is working? Either it is a failed experiment that needs to be abandoned [2], or European institutions need to be substantially rethought [3] to make a common currency area work better for the people and not just for the interests of capital. Neither can possibly happen until a major, core country forces the question. What country better than France to force that reckoning?

The same can be said about NATO. Donald Trump argued repeatedly during his campaign that the alliance was obsolete (though he has now reversed himself on this as on so much else), but America could never plausibly reform it because we naturally want it to remain a force-multiplier for American policy rather than a true instrument of collective security. It will take a major European state to force a substantive change. Again, who better than France, which always historically charted an independent course?

Moreover, on neither front is the world going to change overnight were Le Pen to win the presidency. Rather, negotiations would commence for new arrangements. Those negotiations might go well or poorly — but it is a mistake to view any one election in apocalyptic terms.

Finally, it is true that a Le Pen victory would likely be welcomed in Moscow and in Washington, and would be a terrible blow to those who see themselves as the liberal vanguard. But there are other threats to liberal democracy than populist nationalism, and the technocratic order that Macron runs to vindicate may well be one of them. Brussels rules not so much with the consent of the governed as with the conviction that it alone is capable of properly balancing the continent’s manifold interests — which is precisely what ordinary democratic politics is supposed to be for. Is it so unthinkable to prioritize the latter threat over the threat of populism?

Read the whole thing.  [1] Seriously, do. The piece puts me in mind of how I felt the week before the US presidential election. I thought either outcome would be bad for America — and I wasn’t sure which one was going to be worse.

That was a very easy question for lots of voters to answer, on both sides. I wasn’t among them. The idea of four more years of an Establishment functionary (Clinton) filled me with dread. The idea of Trump did too, for the same reasons it bothered most everybody else. I found, though, that I was “anti-anti-Trump,” in the sense that while I could not support him in good conscience, I was most exercised over the vehemence with which so many people — including #NeverTrump conservatives — attacked him. Their visceral loathing of Trump was such that it blinded them to the very real failings of the Establishment — both Republicans and Democrats — that made a figure like Trump appealing in the first place.

I feel the same way about Le Pen. Were I a French voter, I would have gone for Fillon in the first round. This time? No way in hell I would vote for Macron, an empty suit who promises more of the same thing that has brought France to this miserable position it finds itself in. But for all my deep reservations about Le Pen (which Noah catalogs), I do not consider hear as unpalatable as Donald Trump, and for the reason Noah cites here:

Le Pen is not Donald Trump. She’s not a lazy, narcissistic, ignorant con artist. She’s been at this for years and she knows her stuff.

If Macron wins, as is still expected, does anybody seriously believe that France’s decline will be arrested? That the massive immigration problem in France will be taken care of? That the country will be put on the right path? Macron was a minister in the government of outgoing president François Hollande, who has a four percent approval rating. He is the poster child for an era now ending. Marine Le Pen might not be the future, but Emmanuel Macron is most definitely the face of 1995’s view of the future.

So: why not Le Pen? Again, read Noah’s great piece [1], and read Ross Douthat’s similar column from yesterday’s Times [4] Douthat wrote that she’s not like Trump for these reasons:

There is no American equivalent to the epic disaster of the euro, a form of German imperialism with the struggling parts of Europe as its subjects. There is no American equivalent to the challenge of immigrant-assimilation [5] now facing France — no equivalent of the domestic terror threat, the rise of Islamist anti-Semitism [6], the immigrant enclaves as worlds unto themselves [7].

Which means that while much of Trump’s notional agenda was an overreaction to the country’s problems, some of Le Pen’s controversial positions are straightforwardly correct.

She is right that France as a whole, recent immigrants as well as natives, would benefit from a sustained mass-immigration halt.

She is right that the European Union has given too much unaccountable power to Brussels and Berlin and favored financial interests over ordinary citizens.

And while many of her economic prescriptions are half-baked, her overarching critique of the euro is correct: Her country and her continent would be better off without it.

The French will presumably vote against her nonetheless. They will choose Macron, a callow creature of a failed consensus, over the possibility that the repulsive party’s standard-bearer might be right.

That decision will be understandable. But it’s the kind of choice that has a way of getting offered again and again, until the public finally makes a different one.

 

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39 Comments To "Can The Marine Corps Save France?"

#1 Comment By Uncle Billy On May 1, 2017 @ 9:47 am

Macron is an empty suit, but his supporters seem to be telling everyone that while their guy is not very good, Le Pen is worse. Macron minimizes the grave situation France is in, and he gives the French an opportunity to pretend that their problems are not as serious as they really are. In effect, he is as big of a con artist as Donald Trump, but in a different way.

Le Pen cannot solve all of France’s problems, but she at least is honest enough to identify the problems. Macron is not.

#2 Comment By Elijah On May 1, 2017 @ 9:52 am

“I found, though, that I was “anti-anti-Trump,” in the sense that while I could not support him in good conscience, I was most exercised over the vehemence with which so many people — including #NeverTrump conservatives — attacked him.”

Man, does that ever ring true for me as well.

To say that I don’t understand French media is an understatement, but I wonder how accurate the polling is, given how the media/establishment is so in-the-tank for Macron.

#3 Comment By John Gruskos On May 1, 2017 @ 10:00 am

In some ways, Fillon was to the right of Le Pen. Both favor immigration restriction and a non-interventionist foreign policy, but Fillon also favored a public role for Christianity in France. Also, there is a conservative case for the EU. The EU transfers resources from the decadent west to the healthy Visegrad nations, and provides a platform sensible for Visegrad politicians to reach a western audience with their message of common sense national conservatism – both important preconditions for a revitalized Europe.

For all of these reasons Viktor Orban, the gold standard of national conservative statesmanship, supported Fillon in the first round.

Unfortunately, Fillon proved his insincerity when he endorsed Macron. Hopefully his supporters continue to support the excellent platform he betrayed. Hopefully they enthusiastically support Le Pen.

#4 Comment By Noah172 On May 1, 2017 @ 10:28 am

I’m liking MLP more than I like Trump right now, though I don’t regret my support of the latter, and still think some good (maybe more than some) can come from his administration (from a populist-nationalist perspective). On this side of the Atlantic, if populist-nationalism is what you wanted, it was Trump or bust.

Latest polls have MLP cracking 40%. They were accurate for the first round, which makes me sad in that she remains very likely to lose, but consoled that she will perform respectably (more than double her father’s 2002 2nd round %). How will the French elites label as “extremist” a political perspective earning 40-45% of the national vote? They will, of course, because they are shameless and think they can get away with anything, but many millions of French won’t buy it.

#5 Comment By collin On May 1, 2017 @ 10:43 am

Looking at Le Pen run, I would like to see a successful nationalism run government.

1) Look at the latest examples. Putin’s Russia is slow recovery from a large recession in 2015, Brexit has no real negotiating position and Trump administration is struggling setting an agenda. Really what does Trump want to accomplish?
2) Can we remember Trump won with voters with higher incomes while losing with lower income voters? (Yes he won with lower income white voters.) All polls are showing Le Pen is not winning with higher income voters.
3) If we think the Euro was a problem and Le Pen is against it, this could cause even a slow jog bank panic. Just think your savings could drop 20% in one week. This is extremely serious concern here. And France has more jobs and goods tied up with Foreign trade than the US.
4) I still have not heard Le Pen plan for Muslim citizens here. They are not immigrants.

#6 Comment By Ben H On May 1, 2017 @ 10:52 am

Even if she were to win, the early stage Trump presidency offers some lessons as to why it would be difficult for her to accomplish substantive change (and her platform is more radical than Trump’s modest centrist reforms):

1. other institutions would not go along or be neutral but would actively fight against change
2. the people who occupy other high office will not be on board so would thwart Marine’s more radical agenda by their inaction or action in the most dumb-pr way possible (people who share the reform agenda are inexperienced or outsiders, un-hirable because they will be attacked by insiders)
3. we complain about the ruling class because it is a class of men that are rotten and wicked and simply replacing the top guy will not make the class go away
4. other levels of government have to go along with the change
5. the media in the western world, controlled by above-thee globalists or foreigners (to the West), sets the agenda still

We’re not really at the point of ‘revolution’ yet, the point where regimes change not just government leaders. No one can see beyond now to what might come next, except if it’s an Islamic caliphate!

Marine and Trump are signs that change is necessary but as you can see none is coming and the de facto rulers of the world are in fact getting more radical, more extreme in their “destroy-society-now!” positions. As these attempts at reasonable and moderate change fail, talented people will realize that the rigged-against-them system is broken. As globalists increasingly eschew the rule of law in their ongoing efforts to block change (or to destroy existing institutions), law will come into increasing contempt. People who want change will no longer bother to try to change laws that won’t be followed, but will aim for more comprehensive solutions.

#7 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On May 1, 2017 @ 10:55 am

Marine Pen is routinely described by the media as “far-right” yet they never say which of her positions is “far-right”.

It should be noted that her positions are actually quite moderate compared to that of the current Israeli government which includes figures like Avigdor Lieberman who have openly called for the “population transfer” of Arab citizens of Israel. Yet these Israeli characters is never described as “far-right” but “ultra-nationalist!”

#8 Comment By John Gruskos On May 1, 2017 @ 11:05 am

“I would like to see a successful nationalism run government.”

Switzerland, Hungary, Poland.

#9 Comment By Noah172 On May 1, 2017 @ 11:29 am

John Gruskos wrote:

Unfortunately, Fillon proved his insincerity when he endorsed Macron

While Melenchon has declined to endorse anyone, and has criticized the banker Macron. Shows he has more sincerity than “mainstream” Fillon.

We’ll see how much integrity the anti-EU, anti-NATO, anti-banker left has next Sunday.

#10 Comment By Charles Cosimano On May 1, 2017 @ 11:51 am

“The idea of Trump did too, for the same reasons it bothered most everybody else.”

A bit of a Pauline Kael moment there Rod? The voters who supported Trump could not have cared less about the things that bothered you.

#11 Comment By Du Bartas On May 1, 2017 @ 12:14 pm

Let’s not forget that after the presidential elections, there comes the legislative elections for seats in the National Assembly in June. Regardless who is president, be it Le Pen or Macron, the legislative elections are going to be won by the center-right (the left and center-left are toast after 5 years of Hollande, plus neither Macron nor Melenchon have national-level party machines to match the Socialists). The center-right “Republicains” will likely win the National Assembly elections, and thus the majority to form a government and designate the prime minister (Baroin? Wauquiez?). However, I wonder to what extent the alliance between right-wing rival Nicolas Dupont-Aignan & the Front national pose a risk for les Républicains in the legislative elections.

#12 Comment By Josh K On May 1, 2017 @ 12:37 pm

Don’t forget Le Pen is a radical secularist. She has been happily defending her proposed ban on kippot and kosher meat.

[8]

#13 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 1, 2017 @ 12:50 pm

But there are other threats to liberal democracy than populist nationalism, and the technocratic order that Macron runs to vindicate may well be one of them.

Yup. Liberalism has always been the slightly more enlightened wing of capitalism, with a bit more noblesse oblige for the working class, but always with an eye on the bottom line. If globalism makes money for the smart set, the working class can shoot up on the drug du jour.

The voters who supported Trump could not have cared less about the things that bothered you.

The voters who cast their ballots for (not necessarily supported) Trump, like the voters who cast their ballots for Hillary, had at least one hundred different reasons for doing so.

Macron, like Trump, is an example of how first-past-the-post or top-two-in-the-primary electoral systems misrepresent the electorate. If France had an order-of-preference ballot, Macron would likely not be elected, and Le Pen might not either. In a parliamentary system, some sort of coalition of the two furthest left candidates and Le Pen, with the necessary horse trading of their respective positions, probably would have best represented a substantial majority.

#14 Comment By German_reader On May 1, 2017 @ 1:01 pm

@John Gruskos
” The EU transfers resources from the decadent west to the healthy Visegrad nations, and provides a platform sensible for Visegrad politicians to reach a western audience with their message of common sense national conservatism ”

The EU also wants to transfer “refugees” to the East. Just a few days ago I read that Germany would like to have a quota system introduced for relocation of migrants (who are filling up Italy, at much higher levels than in the first months of 2016) within Europe: for every refugee a country takes above its quota, it would get 60 000 Euros; if it takes less refugees than required by its quota, it would have to pay 60 000 Euros for every one. Obviously I hope the Eastern Europeans won’t be bribed into accepting this.

And btw, I have to say I very much disagree with all that stuff about “German imperialism” by Douthat cited above. There’s some truth to it of course, but what’s always missing from these statements, is that the average citizen in Germany doesn’t benefit from it, quite the opposite in fact (German coporations may be a different matter of course). The Euro probably is distinctly bad for everyone involved.

#15 Comment By Ben H On May 1, 2017 @ 1:33 pm

The official line on this Macron guy is that he’s an “outsider,” despite being so well known even outside France that many of us outside that country know of him from his high government service in what is actually the current government.

So if Macron wins, expect to see this tactic repeated, with party insiders and experienced national politicians being referred to as somehow ‘outsiders.’ Remember that the same people who will do this are currently, joyfully presenting Chelsea Clinton to us as a font of wisdom (they have no self respect and will report literally anything they are commanded).

Even National Review is doing this btw. Expect ‘tasteful nude’ shots of David French etc. as a special for subscribers soon, they will do anything to keep the lights on there (this bit is 70% satire).

#16 Comment By Susan Citizen On May 1, 2017 @ 3:08 pm

“If Macron wins, as is still expected, does anybody seriously believe that France’s decline will be arrested?”

I’m an American living in Spain but was visiting a friend in Paris this weekend. I put just this question to her. She is an atheist, a feminist and extremely liberal, in the American use of the term. Unsurprisingly she is very anti Le Pen and voted for Macron but she struggled to give me any reason that Macron will be able to solve the multitude of problems now facing France. He is simply “not Le Pen”. Important issues will once again be ignored, conventional platitudes trotted out and the problems will continue to everyone’s detriment. Incomprehension and hate will increase on all sides because we are too cowed and afraid to be honest. I have very little hope of reasonable solutions to our many problems but there is no hope at all without trust and honesty. God help us!

[NFR: I wonder how many Hillary Clinton voters cast their ballots for her simply because she was Not Trump. Most of the Trump voters I know voted for him mostly because he was Not Hillary, not because they expected him to solve anything. If I were French, I would either abstain or vote Le Pen, but if I voted Le Pen, it would be as a sign of despair. — RD]

#17 Comment By Richard M On May 1, 2017 @ 3:24 pm

A bit of a Pauline Kael moment there Rod? The voters who supported Trump could not have cared less about the things that bothered you.

Last I checked, Rod lives in a deep red state (and not in an urban metropole of it) that went heavily for Trump. He seems to understand and appreciate why people voted for Trump, and even to sympathize.

The difference is he better appreciated the reasons for caution than many of them did.

At any rate, whatever her faults, she at least seems well briefed and sincere. Unlike Trump.

#18 Comment By Robert G On May 1, 2017 @ 3:48 pm

Armchair internet columnists writing these glib columns on how the EU zone has failed infuriate me. the EU has its problems but it has lead to a peaceful and prosperous Europe. It was also remarkable how well it handled the fall of communism and even integrated some countries in the earlier communist block. Does it have problems, yes. But an unstructured breakup would be catastrophic for Europe and the world. A flame thrower like Le Pen who has no idea in her head other than “France for the French” (whatever that means) has neither the wits nor the smarts to pull this off. Add to that her questionable comments on Muslim and the Jewish people.

People above are calling Macron an empty suit. Based on what exactly? He is by all accounts an intelligent and accomplished economist. He is not very ideological and is not nuts. He is exactly what France needs. Let the French elect their President. They have a good deal more brains than U.S. voters who elected Mr. Trump.

#19 Comment By Son of Jowett On May 1, 2017 @ 8:34 pm

“He [Macron] is the poster child for an era now ending. “

It ended with Gordon Brown, if not with Tony Blair. In the US it ended definitively with the defeat of Bill Clinton’s wife.

Macron’s already a throwback.

#20 Comment By James Kabala On May 1, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

Janwaar Bibi: I don’t want this to get sidetracked into a debate about Israel, but all you have to do is Google and you can see Lieberman’s being described as “far right” by Wikipedia, Newsweek, Salon, Reuters, The Guardian, and more. (And both Haaretz and Al Jazeera!)

#21 Comment By John On May 1, 2017 @ 9:59 pm

This may sound odd but I feel a little jealous. The French actually have a real election with candidates offering really different positions, and they actually vote for them.

Now if I was a French citizen I probably Would have voted for the far leftist in the first round and Macron in the second. I am not a fan of either of them but the luxury of sitting that election out was gone as soon as LePen became a serious contender.

She is right about immigration, and promises to keep the social programs but I wouldn’t be able to disassociate her from our father’s neofascist views.

Still, there would be no LePen if it wasn’t for people like Macron. And there wouldn’t be a Trump if not for the Clintons and the Bushes.

Either way though, the French had at least four candidates to pick from and they all had an equal chance to win.

Who did we have to turn to when the Democrats and Republicans gave us Trump and Clinton? Johnson, Stein, and that independent from Utah? They never had a chance.

#22 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 1, 2017 @ 11:37 pm

I wonder how many Hillary Clinton voters cast their ballots for her simply because she was Not Trump.

Most of us — and with a good deal of revulsion. Once Hillary lost, there was a liberal element verbally bashing anyone who voted for Trump as complete fools, but before Hillary lost there was a significant element chanting “Hell no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary.” All Bernie’s speeches and all Bernie’s pleas could squelch that sentiment.

So if Macron wins, expect to see this tactic repeated, with party insiders and experienced national politicians being referred to as somehow ‘outsiders.’

Well, that worked pretty well for Trump. Its as old a story line as the William Henry Harrison campaign, a Virginia aristocrat running on a log cabin theme.

#23 Comment By Hound of Ulster On May 2, 2017 @ 2:11 am

Macron is going to win, but Le Pen will probably only lose by about 5-10% points.

I have yet to hear of WHAT will replace the EU if the nationalist Right gets it’s wish and nukes the European experiment. No answers on that one…other than going back to the ‘good old days’ of European mass conflict 🙁

#24 Comment By Traveler On May 2, 2017 @ 10:30 am

I have yet to hear of WHAT will replace the EU if the nationalist “Right gets it’s wish and nukes the European experiment. No answers on that one…other than going back to the ‘good old days’ of European mass conflict ?”

Well perhaps the EU might have functioned better by limiting outside immigration and letting the Schengen Experiment among Europeans themselves settle into some kind of workable groove. But it’s really hard to say when one is given examples of Brits objecting to Poles coming in and grabbing all their jobs, for instance. So Other is still Other no matter which continent Other comes from, it would seem.

All this to say that perhaps Europeans as an ensemble of various indigenous peoples who inhabit that particular continent weren’t given enough time to adjust to each other as fellow Europeans when they quickly enough all had to then contend with massive waves of immigration from Africa. It seems as though perhaps Brussels got ahead of itself and forgot that for an entire continent to adjust takes quite a bit longer than one solitary nation. Idk.

#25 Comment By Traveler On May 2, 2017 @ 10:38 am

“Even National Review is doing this btw. Expect ‘tasteful nude’ shots of David French etc. as a special for subscribers soon, they will do anything to keep the lights on there (this bit is 70% satire).”

I don’t think they’ll need to; they’ve recently acquired the intelligent and talented writer Michael Brendan Dougherty as a staffer. Things are looking up!

[NFR: And they just poached TAC’s Robert VerBruggen. Grrrr! — RD]

#26 Comment By roberto On May 2, 2017 @ 10:38 am

Something very important has changed in French presidential elections and politics. Two days ago, Nicolas Dupont-D’Aignan, leader of “Débout la France”, a small (5%) party of gaullists against UE, has announced his alliance with Marine Le Pen, who if elected will give him the premiership. Marie France Garaud, a historic political figure of gaullism, has publicly sponsored MLP.
Probably it will not be enough to win, but the political isolation, the “conventio ad excludendum” of FN has ended. I think that in a not too distant future, FN will end to be replaced by a new political party, rassembling ex FN and the large share of “Les Rèpublicains” who are “souverainistes” and oppose mass immigration; and maybe even a little bit of the “mélenchonistes”. Because now, the political program and the sociological constituency of the FN is 100% gaullist (“gaulliste sociale”, to be exact)

#27 Comment By VikingLS On May 2, 2017 @ 9:30 pm

“I have yet to hear of WHAT will replace the EU if the nationalist Right gets it’s wish and nukes the European experiment. No answers on that one…other than going back to the ‘good old days’ of European mass conflict”

I’m a bit skeptical that the only thing preventing Europeans from going to war with each other is the EU. There aren’t many armed conflicts anywhere in the world right now that are openly between actual nation states.

#28 Comment By VikingLS On May 2, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

P.S. Not “many” is not the same as not “any”.

#29 Comment By jb On May 2, 2017 @ 9:36 pm

“Le Pen is not Donald Trump. She’s not a lazy, narcissistic, ignorant con artist. She’s been at this for years and she knows her stuff.”
Nice how he respects Le Pen but disrespects and slanders our president. Lazy? I would like to see Noah keep up with Trumps presidential campaign and current schedule and see if he still thinks he is lazy. I don’t agree with all of Trump’s policies or every tweet. But this was a cheap shot.

#30 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On May 3, 2017 @ 12:12 pm

“I have yet to hear of WHAT will replace the EU if the nationalist Right gets it’s wish and nukes the European experiment. No answers on that one…other than going back to the ‘good old days’ of European mass conflict”

Hound of Ulster,

Do you have the slightest bit of evidence that the existence of the European Union has prevented conflict in Europe? Inter-state wars are rare everywhere in the world since 1945: most wars since then have been civil wars. That includes in places like South America, Africa and (mostly) Asia which don’t have equivalents of the European Union.

As far as civil wars go, the only major conflict happening in Europe right now is the civil war in the Ukraine, which was precisely precipitated by the existence of the EU and its overtures to the Ukraine. Without the EU there literally would not be a civil war in the Ukraine right now.

Janwaar Bibi: I don’t want this to get sidetracked into a debate about Israel, but all you have to do is Google and you can see Lieberman’s being described as “far right” by Wikipedia, Newsweek, Salon, Reuters, The Guardian, and more. (And both Haaretz and Al Jazeera!)

Lieberman is actually ‘right wing’ in some senses (economics, specifically) that Le Pen is not. The Israeli political spectrum is more complex even that most other countries’, and it includes three distinct dimensions (I’m cribbing this from my political statistician friend who is of Israeli origin). The three dimensions are economics, ethnic nationalism / Palestinian issues, and religion. Lieberman is right wing on economics and is an ethnonationalist, while also being very secular.

#31 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On May 3, 2017 @ 12:35 pm

Armchair internet columnists writing these glib columns on how the EU zone has failed infuriate me. the EU has its problems but it has lead to a peaceful and prosperous Europe. It was also remarkable how well it handled the fall of communism and even integrated some countries in the earlier communist block. Does it have problems, yes. But an unstructured breakup would be catastrophic for Europe and the world. A flame thrower like Le Pen who has no idea in her head other than “France for the French” (whatever that means) has neither the wits nor the smarts to pull this off. Add to that her questionable comments on Muslim and the Jewish people.

People above are calling Macron an empty suit. Based on what exactly? He is by all accounts an intelligent and accomplished economist. He is not very ideological and is not nuts. He is exactly what France needs. Let the French elect their President. They have a good deal more brains than U.S. voters who elected Mr. Trump.

Robert G,

OK unfortunately every major claim you make here is wrong.

1) The EU is actually very popular among the ‘armchair internet’ crowd, and among those people in America who tend to follow European politics (i.e. the educated elite). It isn’t popular at The American Conservative, but TAC is distinctly an ‘outsider’ publication. It’s much less popular among European working classes, for obvious reasons. Specifically, the key items on its agenda (neoliberal economics, weakened borders, and mass immigration) are extremely unpopular among ordinary Europeans.

2) Please provide some evidence that the EU has reduced conflict within Europe. It’s possible that increased trade reduces conflict, but the EU at this point is much more than a trade pact. Europe was probably more peaceful during the Cold War, when the EU did not exist in its current form, than it is today. And one of the things that most destabilizes societies is ethnic diversity, which is exactly what the current EU policies of mass migration promote.

3) The kind of prosperity that Europe and North America have experienced over the last few decades has assuredly not translated into better living conditions and better jobs for ordinary people. On top of technologically induced underemployment, inequality has been rising in Europe since the 1980s.

4) The fall of communism in Eastern Europe ended up being extremely disappointing at best except for Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. East Germany’s growth rate (relative to the west) since 1989 has arguably been marginally slower than it was under communism (although the statistics are disputed, we can get into that if you want). In Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, public opinion surveys suggest most people think they were better off under communism.

As for the “Muslim and Jewish people”, I am not aware that Ms. Le Pen has said anything about Jews per se. She is not her father, and a friend of mine has a bunch of Jewish family in France who are all voting for Le Pen because of their security fears. Regarding Muslims, her main claim is that North African Muslims and the French are separate peoples who should be allowed to retain their distinct ethnic identities. This is, you know, one of the big arguments for ending French colonialism in North Africa.

Macron stands for most of the trends that are wrong in Europe today (the further entrenchment of neoliberal capitalism, mass immigration from Africa and the Muslim world, open borders, the erosion of national sovereignty, confrontation with Russia and other ‘illiberal’ states, the further pursuit of a kind of progress that has exacerbated inequality and cost people their chance at good and fulfilling jobs). Ms. Le Pen objects to all that. Good for her. I don’t think she’ll win on Sunday, but I certainly hope she does.

#32 Comment By JonF On May 3, 2017 @ 1:45 pm

Re: Nice how he respects Le Pen but disrespects and slanders our president.

Si quaeris presidentem non competentem, circumspice (with apologies to my home state for borrowing and paraphrasing its motto)

#33 Comment By JonF On May 3, 2017 @ 1:51 pm

Hector,

Hound of Ulster hast he right of it in one thing: you do not EVER destroy an existing structure without having very good plans, ready to implement, to replace it. This is the exact folly that the GOP is trying to commit on the ACA. On an even more calamitous scale it was the error of the Bush administration on Iraq.
And in regards to the EU it seems to me some significant reforms would solve the problems: an end to the Schengen Treaty (which is the open borders piece and which is also not universally subscribed to by every EU country). Also, get rid of the Euro– which, yes, is easier said than done, but it is probably the EU’s greatest mistake. The old Common Market did a pretty good job as a trade union and that should certainly be kept.

#34 Comment By Thrice A Viking On May 3, 2017 @ 4:04 pm

Hector, I hope Le Pen wins as well. I’m curious about this “far right” business. I suspect it’s a one-dimensional category, such as the US MSM categorizing politicians as “moderate” or “right-wing” depending on their position on abortion. In her case, it’s her not being elated with the prospect of more and more Muslims coming into the EU. Well, maybe her stance on the afore-mentioned EU as well.

#35 Comment By Thrice A Viking On May 3, 2017 @ 4:08 pm

Jon F, I think you could retain the Euro if it were only used for inter-state transactions. It’s the fact that it’s used within nations that makes obnoxious and undesirable. Just IMO, of course.

#36 Comment By Furbo On May 4, 2017 @ 5:51 am

I think a Le Pen victory would be the shot of adrenalin needed to wake Europe out of it’s self denial and slow suicide. I don’t believe it would actually break up the EU – I mean the Roman Senate continued meeting well into the 600’s… France has only been in NATO a short time so if they depart – ok. But the immigration issue – almost impossible to speak about due to political correctness – MUST be addressed.

#37 Comment By Nathan On May 4, 2017 @ 5:09 pm

I oppose Trump viscerally, because Trump is Machiavellian in nature. It is all about power (“winning”).

I view right politics as virtue-seeking. All the ancients like Plato saw politics this way. I would rather do right than have good ends. The ends do not justify the means, ever.

The failure to accept refugees from Syria by conservative Christians because they are largely Muslim is sickening and repulsive. Well over a quarter million people have died. The ends do not justify the means, ever.

I suppose if I was Emperor of Rome in Late Antiquity Attila would be licking his chops. I suppose it would only be a matter of time until it all fell apart. But that’s how radical Christianity is: the ends do not justify the means ever, even if the ends are the end of the world.

I’d rather lose than do wrong. I suppose that’s why nobody agrees with me.

#38 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On May 5, 2017 @ 10:38 pm

The failure to accept refugees from Syria by conservative Christians because they are largely Muslim is sickening and repulsive

Because clearly, Europe is the only possible place for them to live?

#39 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 6, 2017 @ 12:32 pm

The problem with refugees from Syria is not that they are Muslim, but that a lot of disconnected single young men are among them. Whether the crowd of young men are nominally Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, atheist, or Confucian, they are going to be trouble unless dispersed, regulated, occupied, and socialized. No massive transfer of refugees seems to have been accomplished in a manner that deals with this. And, when a horde of people is aimlessly wandering across a landscape, it is not unreasonable to turn them back, although they must then be allocated somewhere to eat, sleep, and relieve themselves, and then transported somewhere they can live a life. Getting adequate facilities on the ground in Jordan, or in UN supervised areas within Syria, early on, would have been a wise move, and would have saved money in the long run.