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Le Pen and Macron: How to think about the French election

Written By | Apr 23, 2017

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 23, 2017—The globalists are everywhere in retreat. They’ve overplayed their hand. They have failed to govern successfully. People are looking for a change—and have been for some time. Yet the establishment around the world can’t see it and doesn’t know what to do about it.

Today’s election in France was just the latest in the trend.

That Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron came out on top was completely predictable. Ever since the French Revolution, the French polity has been deeply divided between conservatives and radicals. We even get our notion of “left” and “right” from where the parties sat in the French legislature. Lately, the socialists have been in charge. They’ve pushed more and more for unity under the European Union: but that hasn’t helped the average Frenchman.

Their colonial legacy as rulers in North and West Africa have given France unique immigration challenges and made them vulnerable to Islamist terror attacks like the one in Paris just before the election.

Why would the French people vote for more of the same?

Can Le Pen save France from itself? Or will it just burn?

With turnout something north of 80%, one cannot successfully argue anything but that the people have spoken.

Leaving the Islamist jihad aside, there are really only two currents in the world of politics today—and arguably for the past century or so.

On the one side are the globalists. These are the people who see a One World order. Marxist internationalist socialism falls into that category, as does the Democrat Party in the U.S. with their open borders, unlimited immigration, and faith in the United Nations. Progressivism in the early 20th century wasn’t aligned with this idea but today’s progressives are. So are the Euro-socialists. The self-appointed elites on both sides of the Atlantic are globalists of one type or another. What they have most in common is an unshakeable belief that they are smarter than the masses and know what’s best for them.

These are the people the British repudiated with their Brexit vote and that Americans repudiated by electing Trump—and it looks like the French just did the same. Le Pen is a nationalist. Macron an independent. Neither is favorably disposed toward the EU. The socialists and communists are out of the running. The elites have been humiliated again.

What’s the alternative?

On the other side from the globalists are nationalists. These are people who have an attachment to their country, language, and culture and are either not willing to give it up to an EU or a UN or, if they have been willing, have seen that global organizations have done nothing for them. Except put them in incredible amounts of debt.

Why has France become such a target for terror?

The elites disparagingly call these people “populists” and “extremists.” The new moniker is “Alt-right.” Whatever the disparaging label of the moment—nationalist, populist, extremist, or right-winger—it’s all the same thing. It’s aimed at people who don’t share the globalist vision.

That’s a group that’s harder to define. For the moment, those people are more-or-less united against the globalists. That doesn’t mean that they all agree on what should replace them. Thus, the nationalist Le Pen and the political outsider Macron. In the US, one could argue that while Trump was the outsider, Clinton was the globalist trying to look like the moderate. It didn’t work. According to a just-released Washington Post poll, it still doesn’t.

Who will win the next round? It’s hard to tell at this point. Le Pen is a known quantity. It’s hard to imagine anyone who voted for the socialists or communist voting for her. Macron the outsider is perhaps less well known. French voters will need to learn more about him and make up their minds. In times like these, people don’t go for moderates. It’s time to get off the fence and pick sides.

One thing is certain: Germany’s Angela Merkel is paying close attention.

Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.