Divergent Views

It’s no secret that I’d like to see a more vibrant and dynamic Europe. That probably won’t happen in my lifetime, though. The path that most European countries have chosen leads to gradual insignificance rather than any revitalized role on the world stage.

I was idly reading this news item, which details the debate in France over the coming vote to ratify the EU Constitution, when I was struck dumb by a few paragraphs which outline the position of those opposed to ratification.

Like Chirac, “no” campaigners on the left have been using the United States as a foil, saying the treaty will open the door to American-style free-market capitalism rather than defend against it. They say jobs will be sucked eastward where labor is cheaper; public services will be privatized; France will be forced by EU competition laws to stop funding public firms and workers’ social protections will be trampled. They say a “no” vote will rescue rather than doom Europe.

So that’s what the French are afraid of, basically free market reforms that will increase competition. Nothing new there, but what was so shocking to me was that this is the stance taken by Le Pen, a French politician that is characterized as being “far right” by the press.

If this is the state of French political thought then I doubt they’ll be able to turn things around no matter how the ratification vote goes.

8 thoughts on “Divergent Views”

  1. I don’t see it as so surprising. The programmes of far-right parties, past and present, have often been pretty statist.

    Sadly, it is true that the entire spectrum of opinion in France seems mired in statism. They need their Thatcher.

  2. Hooray! I have finally posted a comment at Chicagoboyz. Every previous attempt has been met by an automated message saying my harmless opinions were liable to deprave and corrupt.

  3. Every previous attempt has been met by an automated message saying my harmless opinions were liable to deprave and corrupt.

    You must have been trying to comment on some other author’s post. I, for one, welcome deparavity and corruption in most of it’s forms.

    In all seriousness it’s good to have you come by, Natalie.


  4. Natalie, my apologies! We would love to have your comments. Please email one of us if you have any further problems posting them.

    My email is jonathan [ ] chicagoboyz [ ] net

  5. The European far right tends to be be anti-globalisation, because it sees globalisation as a US or NWO plot to take away jobs from its own kind. And this dovetails nicely with their belief in protectionism against Chinese industry and outsourcing: The German NPD, British BNP and French FN call for tariffs and state direction of industry as a way of stemming their respective countries’ decline in manufacturing and agriculture.

    They look at Part III of the proposed Constitution and observe that it requires unfettered competition, even in public services. This, they say, will result in the importation of cheap labour and the exportation of jobs (and in this respect they’re probably right).

    So much of the left and the far right are unified in their opposition to the Constitution. Which is curious when you consider how much they despise each other.

    But I’d speculate that this mutual hatred could favour a yes-vote in the French referendum. As more people begin to appreciate that Le Pen is against the referendum, they will be more likely to vote in favour of it in order to spite Le Pen and show their opposition to the extreme right. This would explain why Le Pen has kept a relatively low profile recently – he knows that by speaking out he could upset those against the Constitution and change their minds.


  6. Those who believe in state control, for whatever reason, become statist no matter how divergent their overt ideology is.

    To acquire and maintain power the state must become the allocator of all resources. People who seek power and status through the state must generate rationales as to why the state must act coercively. This easiest rationale is that the resources are fixed and finite like survival rations on a lifeboat and that therefor the only possible equitable solution is a political one where everybody decides how to apportion the resources.

    Regardless of their ideological starting points, those who seek power through the state rapidly evolve to the same economic outlook. Socialist and nativist arrive at the same point because true goal of each is state power. They find themselves accepting arguments based on whether the arguments justify the power of the state instead on whether they are in keeping with the predictions of their respective ideologies.

    We have a similar convergence in the US were Leftist and nativist rightwingers like Pat Buchanan find themselves on the same side of globalization issues. Each wishes the state to manage the economy for their own reasons but end effect on policy becomes identical.

  7. This isn’t just a French phenominon–in the US, we see a similar convergence of anti-“globalization” attitudes between the extreme right and the mainstream left.

  8. France is doomed, in a year, when the Euro has dropped to $.75 they’ll really start whining.

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