Marine Le Pen, the French presidential candidate for the National Front (FN) party, speaks boldly of economic protectionism, stronger borders, leaving the Eurozone and returning to a national currency. Characterized by popular media outlets as the “non-winnable” candidate, or worse, a fascist, Le Pen continues forward towards the run-off on May 7 between herself and pro-EU centrist, Emmanuel Macron.
Yet her vision for a better France began much earlier. In December 2015, following the National Front party’s failure to win any of the 13 French regions, Marine Le Pen, as leader of the party, used the opportunity to paint a new vision for France. She stated:
Now the gap is not between the Left and the Right, but between globalists and patriots. The globalists are acting for the dilution of France and its people in a huge worldwide magma. The patriots hope that the nation constitutes the most protective space for the French. That means for everyone among you.
As Le Pen and Macron enter the run-off, one puzzling media play has occurred, namely the supposed non-viability of Le Pen’s campaign. The media refuses to recognize the fact that out of four candidates, Le Pen finished so closely with Macron that it required a run-off (a roughly 3% difference to be exact). If she had been “trailing behind” as the media has reported, she wouldn’t even be in the race at this point.
Why do media elites fail to recognize her as a viable candidate? Perhaps because they don’t want her to be a viable candidate. If Ms. Le Pen actually does what she says she will do, it is a win for the people of France, but not for the elitist globalist ecosystem spanning the EU. Power to the people means taking the power away from those who benefit from the globalist ecosystem.
As Greg Ip wrote in The Wall Street Journal earlier this year:
The new nationalist surge has startled establishment parties in part because they don’t see globalism as an ideology. But globalism is an ideology and its struggle with nationalism will shape the coming era much as the struggle between conservatives and liberals has shaped the last.
What many globalists fail to see is the fact that 1) globalism is an ideology and 2) this ideology has and will continue to fail. Why? Because globalism, the notion that countries should be dissolved into centralized global governing units, runs counter to human nature.
As cliché as it sounds, humans are made for community…local community. Humans are made for self-preservation, self-rule and self-reliance. Participation in these activities gives us a sense of dignity, value and worth. It gives us a feeling of ownership and promotes self-expression, art and beauty. It is, essentially speaking, liberty.
Even the French Revolution, though admittedly flawed in numerous respects, was based on three ideals: liberty, equality and fraternity. These ideals spoke to a France that ran its own show…not managed a show for another.
Yet beyond debating the mere abstractions of globalism and nationalism, the French voters have also dealt with the harrowing realities of terrorism, violence and the senseless murders of their fellow citizens by Islamic extremists. The most notable are listed below:
And most recently, on April 20, an Islamist fired at police officers on the Champs-Elysees.
For a country slightly smaller than the state of Texas, this has become an epidemic of grief, fear and anxiety for the people of France.
Interestingly enough, German chancellor Angela Merkel and outgoing French president Francois Hollande, both of whom have had serious Islamic terrorist attacks occur under their leadership, have endorsed Macron. For the French citizens who are more interested in keeping their country safe than in failed social experiments of utopian globalism, these endorsements may act, simultaneously, as a nail in Macron’s coffin and a feather in Le Pen’s cap.
Ironically, the most glaring oversight by the media has been the very thing that defined the United States’ 2016 presidential election: gender. No one seems to mention that Marine Le Pen is, in fact, a woman. No one seems to be lauding her for breaking any glass ceilings or being a hero to young girls or representing the disenfranchised women of the world.
Yet, Le Pen is leveraging the alleged impossibility of her candidacy as velocity for her campaign. She said recently, “Brexit was impossible. Donald Trump’s election was impossible, yet both have now become reality. My election to the presidency has been dubbed impossible for months. Now it is up to the people to make it possible.”
As with the referendum on Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the citizens of France now hold within their voting power the opportunity for more of the same economic and political insecurity with Macron, or perhaps a better, safer and more prosperous future with Le Pen.
Yet within their own elitist echo chamber, the media cannot fathom that the people — regular people; voting people — are a force with which to be reckoned. That, however, is perhaps why they continue to be wrong. Hopefully the people of France will show the media how wrong they are again.
Originally published on Patriot Post, May 4, 2017
photo credit: rawpixel.com/bigstock
Originally published on Patriot Post, March 11, 2017
This week’s proposal by the House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (let’s just call it NewbamaCare), appears to be a diet ObamaCare at best and not the repeal and replace for which most Americans had hoped. Perhaps we were not clear enough with “Repeal and Replace.” Perhaps we should have said “Repeal…selah (Hebrew for ‘pause quietly and think’) and Replace.”
The hubristic political elites who fashioned ObamaCare initially believed that despite the fact that national health care in every other country has caused long lines, expensive medications and decreased service, the United States could somehow create a superior program. The problem lies in ignoring the basic laws of economics and the very mechanism that keeps customers happy and service at its peak: the free market.
The free market has a way of getting rid of bad products, keeping good products, managing prices and supporting technological advances. Here’s a simple example to prove how this happens. Judy has a business making pillows for $30 but they are hard and uncomfortable. Cindy, however, makes soft, wonderful pillows for the same price of $30. In a free market economy, customers will generally buy the better product (the soft pillow) while the hard pillow sales decline. Now Judy, the owner of the hard pillow company, has a few choices: 1) reduce her price so that even if it’s a terrible product, people might buy it just because it’s cheap, or 2) change her pillow formula to be soft and more appealing to customers. If Judy’s hard pillows still don’t sell at a cheaper price or she is unwilling to improve her pillow quality, her business just goes away. In this way, the market phases out bad products, correcting imperfections of both price and quality over time.
In a mixed economy that combines government intervention and free markets, the government tampers with this natural economic life cycle of products and services. ObamaCare has closed off the protective mechanisms of a free market economy and replaced it with government-mandated purchases. To recall the earlier example, ObamaCare is basically the government selling Judy’s hard pillows for $3,000 and forcing everyone to buy them.
In contrast to the original ObamaCare, the NewbamaCare plan, proposed by the House this week, does promise some positive changes such as repealing the taxes on prescription drugs, over-the counter medications, health-insurance premiums and medical devices. According to the website, it eliminates the penalties associated with the individual and employer mandate, allows patients to not be denied health insurance based on pre-existing conditions, and it keeps children on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. These seem like moderately worthwhile (though, admittedly, debatable) changes. However, keep reading.
The NewbamaCare plan also establishes a “Patient and State Stability Fund” that gives states $100 billion in order to design programs for their patient populations. It also gives a monthly tax credit (between $2,000-14,000) for low- and middle-income families not receiving health insurance from their employer or other government program. Note that although the word “give” sounds benign and charitable, remember that whenever the government “gives” anything, it actually means taking it from someone else.
To return to the earlier example, NewbamaCare doesn’t force people to buy hard pillows, but it does use tax subsidies that interfere with the market. It says, “You can’t afford a $3,000 pillow? No problem. We’ll factor it into your (or someone else’s) taxes and give you a tax credit of $,2000. So then you only have to pay $1,000.” Any bargain shopper knows that this qualifies as a rip-off, not as a good deal.
Further, there seems to be little oversight into how these funds are used, which boils down to billions of dollars being collected by the government and then being thrown around to create a string of programs that have no market-based incentives for actually working.
In reality, most Americans would rather be taxed less, keep more of what they earn and buy the services (and insurance) that they want. If a private company wants to spend $100 billion in community programs, then great … but don’t strap the taxpayers with this burden.
The House Freedom Caucus, composed of some 40 conservative members, have stood against the NewbamaCare bill and have rallied behind the original 2015 repeal bill. As Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said recently in criticism of the recent House bill, “Repeal and replace is not fix and keep.” The 2015 repeal bill, which actually is a repeal bill, passed through both houses of Congress in 2015 but was vetoed by Obama in January 2016. The American people don’t want NewbamaCare. They want NobamaCare.
Ludwig von Mises, founder of the Austrian School of economic thought and champion of the free market economy, attributed his life motto to Virgil: Te ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito, which translated means, “Do not yield to the bad, but always oppose it with courage.” With this attitude and resolve, our citizenry and our leadership can oppose the bad with courage, bravery and steadfastness in order that we may leave, not squander, a legacy of liberty for future generations.