Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Marine Le Pen is a socialist - all politicians described as "Far Right" are actually left-wing

Agnès Poirier
Fellow-blogger David Moss has sent me an article from the Times by some French socialist called Agnès Poirier. This rather toothsome filly describes how, when “extreme rightwinger” Jean-Marie Le Pen received 17% of the vote in the 2002 presidential election:
“…we reeled in shock — uncomprehending, ashamed.
Almost immediately, and in the two weeks until the second round, two million people demonstrated every day in the streets of France…

…I was one, having returned from London in haste. France needed me. Many of us had clumsily written in bold black letters “No Pasarán” (“They Shall Not Pass”) on our T-shirts . I wore it every day for two weeks. Pundits had talked of an “earthquake”, a “cataclysm”, and no word seemed strong enough to describe the shock. But on Sunday evening, when Marine Le Pen, Jean-Marie’s daughter and successor as leader of the Front National, came third with 18.5 per cent of the vote it was if nothing had happened. We acknowledged that 6.2 million voters had voted for Ms Le Pen with a painful smile before quickly moving on…” 
Sacré bleu! Calm down, dear! (And I hope you’ve taken to changing your clothes more regularly since those heady days, you bold revolutionary, you.)

But it’s not Agnèrs Poirier’s fit of the vapours that concerns me here – I mean, if a French socialist can’t indulge in ridiculous, histrionic outbursts, who can? No, it’s the deliberate mistake I find intriguing. Can you spot it? No? Well, here’s a clue from the same article:
“From a British perspective much of Ms Le Pen’s programme does not even look right-wing. When I met her a few months ago she explained rather convincingly that she was in favour of dirigisme, reindustrialisation, the nationalisation of post office services, better public services and more secularism. It is probably a pose but she has managed to blur the traditional, extreme right lines since being elected party leader in December 2010.”
Poor young Agnès is confused by the fact that someone who is routinely called an extreme right-winger leading a party routinely described as of the Far Right is advocating socialist policies. It must be a pose! Naughty Marine is “blurring” her right-wing beliefs in order to bamboozle decent socialists like Agnès.

Let me help Agnès out by identifying the source of her confusion. If you want to tell how right or left-wing a politician is, ask yourself the following questions: “How big do they want the state to be? How many areas of our private life do they want the state to control?”

Once you’ve got the answers to those questions, you can accurately “place” that politician on the left-right axis of the political spectrum.

In Marine Le Pen’s case, the answer is obvious: like almost all politicians described as members of the Far Right, she is in fact a left-winger. Here in the UK, the BNP is a socialist party. In Arab countries, the fascist Ba’ath Party is a left-wing party, just as much as Hitler’s National Socialists were left-wing.

The further to the right you are on the political spectrum, the more you believe in personal freedom. Libertarians of the Ron Paul variety belong to what is actually the Far Right, because they believe the state should be as small as it possibly can be without allowing the country to descend into anarchy, and should interfere in people’s private lives as little as it can without abrogating all responsibility to protect them from their fellow citizens and the threat of foreign invasion. (The other side of this personal freedom coin is that those who abuse that freedom should be left to suffer the consequences of their own actions.)

The further left you go, the bigger the state becomes, the less of our money it allows us to keep, and the more it seeks to interfere in our personal lives – until, as in Nazi Germany, Kim Jong-un's North Korea, Mao’s China and Stalin's Russia, your every thought becomes the state’s business.

Last week, the French were being asked to choose between at least four left-wing parties (if you lump in the Communists). Similarly, the UK – which is heavily taxed, where we have “hate crime” on the statute books, and where universities are being ordered to accept a certain type of student for social engineering purposes - is currently being ruled by a (mildish) left-wing coalition, and the main opposition party is also left-wing. The US currently has a Big State left-wing president in charge of a socialist party, and many Republicans are left-wing Big Statists.

One of the other handy ways of identifying left-wingers is their propensity to take to the streets in order to prevent their opponents’ message being heard – until, of course, they get the kind of government they’ve been shouting for, when that sort of behaviour gets them arrested, imprisoned and - quite possibly - murdered.

The main source of this confusion is the Great Marxist Lie - i.e. the branding of Fascism as right-wing - which I've written about here. But it has at least two other sources. First, the word "Socialist" contains the word "social", which is one of those carey-feely, changey-hopey sorts of words - whereas the reality is that socialist regimes have been amongst the most repressive and murderous in all history. Second, as I mentioned earlier, the Right recognises that, in order for individuals to achieve the maximum amount of personal freedom, they need to be protected from enemies - foreign and domestic - which means a strong military and an effective police force. Because Nazi Germany armed itself to the teeth and possessed a terrifyingly effective police force - public and secret - ditzy liberals assume anyone advocating these things is by definition a fascist. Unless the government with all the weapons and policemen happens to call itself socialist, in which case...way to go 

I hope I’ve managed to clear up Ms Poirier's confusion before she starts to root around in her bottom drawer for that old T-shirt!

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