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Just to Be Clear

Just to Be Clear

In the news today it was announced that Marine Le Pen will be taking over the far-right French leadership. The so-called National Front party has been mired in controversy for years, but their leaders – notably her father, Jean Marie – look to prop Marine up as opposition to Sarkozy. I saw a disturbing headline linked to the AP article that said “Meet France’s Sarah Palin.” The link was dead, but the comparison was disturbing nonetheless. If Sarah Palin becomes a type of holocaust-denying, militant, unabashed jingoist with Nazi supporters, maybe – just maybe, the comparison would hold. Thankfully, Palin is not a far rightwinger in the European sense.

“Far right” in Europe means something much different than “far right” in America. I’ve discovered this bias amongst my friends when we talk about European politics.:
“Oh, Sarkozy is good, right? Kind of like a Republican?”

No! No! No! For the record: the right in Europe is the same side of a socialist coin. The only distinction between right and left in Europe is, crudely, nationalism versus pluralism. (Though it is incredibly redeeming that Sarkozy is more pro-American than his predecessors.) The only outliers seem to reside in Britain, the Czech Republic, and possibly Switzerland. Thankfully France has a number of political parties that dilute the craziest ones from taking control. (I mean, really, the biggest free-market advocate is the likely candidate for the Socialist Party!)

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What about Denmark?

The Prince of Lichtenstein gave an interview with the Hoover Insitution a few weeks ago that got some press because of his views on limited government.

In it, the interviewer quotes from the Prince's book in which he writes, "the United States and Europe have to free the state from all the unnecessary tasks and burdens with which it has been loaded during the last 100 years, which have distracted it from its two main tasks, the maintenance of the rule of law, and foreign policy." The interviewer asks him if he realizes those words could have been written by Sarah Palin, and he statates that if he were an American he'd be a member of the Tea Party. The Prince laughs and acknowledges that yes, if he were an American, he would be a Tea Partyer.

Until I knew about the Prince's philosophy, Vaclav Klaus was my favorite world leader since Reagan because of how much he cherishes liberty and individual freedom. Now I can add the Tea Party Prince to the short list of truly freedom loving world leaders.

Here's the great interview with the Tea Party Prince. He makes his remarks about limited government and the Tea Party starting around the 5:00 mark:

I'm an immigrant, now US citizen, from France. The French "far right" has nothing to do with small government, Libertarian folks. They are first and foremost nationalistic. Even though they are against the income tax, their want the government to implement policies that would discriminate against immigrants.
Also, the history of what is described as the French "far right" is extremely related to socialist philosophies. The history of the French socialist party takes root in the movement of the 1930s called "ligues" that are now associated to populist and fascistic ideas. Pierre Laval, who sent Jews to the camps during WW2, was a socialist. Eduard Drumont, the anti semite (newspaper "L'Anti Juif") had socialist ideas. Mitterrand, the famous French socialist president who ruined France, had tied to monarchists at some point.
Political ideas are more complex than left and right.

Don't forget Poland which is more pro American than even Great Britain.