The results from the French election are in. Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron advance to the second round. Macron captured more votes than Le Pen however, and carries more momentum into the second round. Le Pen and the “Far Right” will still prove a formidable and tenacious adversary. The populist wave sweeping the West leads many to ask: what is the Far Right? Is it dangerous? What does it stand for? Far Right is a more European term, but political commentators use the phrase for current US politics as well. Here is the truth about what Le Pen stands for and how that relates to the “Far Right”
Le Pen taps into the populist outrage of France against the EU and international elites. She favors a strong, nationalist policy over the multicultural, internationalist polices of the EU. Like Trump, she decries open borders, Islamization, and foreign entanglements. Unlike Trump though, Le Pen is a career politician and less of an outsider. Regardless, she is extremely chaismatic and articulates the feelings of exploitation French voters experience. Her critical rhetoric against open borders and mass immigration distinguishes her from typical French politicians. Further, her skepticism towards Islam sets her at odds with the politically correct establishment.
Is this enough to make a candidate “Far Right?” Are these policies even that extreme to begin with? Most political analysts examine the world through a skewed lense, failing to comprehend what the right and left actually are. To accurately critique Le Pen, one must first understand the dichotomy between right and left. There exists a significant divergence in philosophy and politics between the two.
Right and left is a spectrum, a variation in the degree and quantity in state authority. The first notable difference: the right favors small government. The farther right one leans, the more one commits to the Non-Aggression Principle. Do not initiate force. Regulations, taxes, and central planning all require the implicit threat of government force to back them up. The right favors the free market and voluntary exchange over institutionalization of state coercion. Le Pen very much does not fall into this category. She fully supports the welfare state, redistribution of wealth, and strong state regulation of business. No candidate currently running proposes a laissez-faire economic policy. Le Pen also supports subsidies for state-approved industries, lowering the retirement age, keeping the 35 hour work week, and progressive taxes on the rich.
As a general rule, the right favors individual liberty over state force. This carries over into most social policies and civil liberties, the Right to Life included. The right vociferously opposes abortion, the most heinous evil imaginable a human can commit. The barbaric practice is unquestionable in France. Le Pen issued several public statements reassuring voters of the supremacy of abortion rights. One would expect a “Far Right” candidate to campaign for outright banning, or at least severe limitations on abortion. Regarding civil liberties, the right favors religious freedom and free speech. Le Pen supports a full blown ban of outward signs of religion. An avowed secularist, Le Pen is no friend to the free practice of religion.
When honestly examining Le Pen’s policy positions, she clearly aligns more with the left than the right. She supports socialistic central planning, an expanded welfare state, abortion, and limited civil liberties. An ideal leftist candidate. Le Pen is a socialist economically, but a nationalist culturally. Sound familiar? The term National Socialist comes to mind. Contrary to the international globalist flavor of socialism, Le Pen’s brand is more akin to corporate fascism. Ah, but the mindless talking heads on the evening news say that fascism is far right! Not So. Fascism is to the right of Communism, but still remains an ideology of the Far Left. The grandfathers of Fascism, Mussolini and Hitler, admired the Gospel of Envy from Karl Marx. Their brand of socialism allowed for private ownership, but the state strictly regulated its use. In other words, Fascism (national socialism) emerged from intellectual and political leaders of the hard left.
Looking at politics from a Marxist or a socialist perspective, initiatives from a fascist appear right wing. Fascism after all is a more pragmatic and right leaning model of socialism. Both however are big government statist structures. Le Pen is not far right, not even close. Her policies mirror those of national socialist candidates of the past. A more accurate candidate of the “Far Right” would be someone like Ron Paul or Ted Cruz. The farther right one travels on the political spectrum, the closer to liberty and limited government one gets. Le Pen is not and never has been a champion of liberty. She is preferable, no doubt, to the globalist Marxists currently governing the EU, but promises to largely continue France’s big government policies. This is how the left dominates the narrative. Anyone to the right of Lenin gets demonized as an extremist. In such a climate a candidate cannot succeed in criticizing the welfare / warfare state, central planning, or restrictions on civil liberties.
Le Pen offers a future for France. Her strong stance against open borders and the prostitution of the West to barbaric Third World cultures provides a healthy counterbalance to the modern political lexicon. She offers France a greater step towards self-determination and self-reliance. However, it is the mark of politically illiterate ignorance to label her Far Right. Other than immigration, Le Pen unfortunately challenges little of the status quo. Do not confuse the right and the left. The right stands for small government, for freedom. If Le Pen actually was “Far Right” her campaign platform would contain much more radical planks.
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