Sunday, June 08, 2014

A terrific Marine Le Pen interview

The French National Front had a great election result last month, winning 25% of the vote. The leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, has now given an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel (hat tip: Gallia Watch)

I thought she answered the sometimes hostile questions very well. It seems to work well for her that she doesn't allow herself to be put on the defensive. Here she is, for instance, on the issue of immigration:
SPIEGEL: Front National is an anti-immigration party. Polls show that immigration is the issue of greatest concern to voters.

Le Pen: Yes, we support putting a stop to immigration.

SPIEGEL: Why such xenophobia?

Le Pen: Xenophobia is the hatred of foreigners. I don't hate anyone.

I do have something of a disagreement with Marine Le Pen in this exchange:
SPIEGEL: Is your success the product of the failure of the elite? Socialist politician Samia Ghali argues that the French wanted someone who spoke to their hearts and that you, unfortunately, were the only one who did so.

Le Pen: Our political class no longer has any convictions. You can only pass along the beliefs that you hold. They no longer believe in France -- they have a post-national worldview. I call them France-skeptics. That's why democracy is collapsing here in France.

SPIEGEL: Prime Minister Manuel Valls still has convictions. They just aren't the same ones that you have.

Le Pen: I don't believe that. He is a man with no convictions whatsoever, just like Nicolas Sarkozy. These are people who will tell you anything just to further their little careers.

Coining the term "France-skeptic" is very good. However, it's not so easy to say that the French elite no longer has any convictions. I understand why Marine le Pen says this: the modern elites have lost the connection to the greater aspects of human culture, so they certainly appear to be empty souls.

Nonetheless, modern liberalism has found a way to gain conviction, and that is through a procedural morality in which we are each individually supposed to self-define our own life goods, which then means that the moral thing is to not interfere in each person doing this, which raises qualities like non-discrimination, tolerance, diversity, openness to the other and so on to a moral standard, with persecution for those who are deemed to breach these standards.

In fact, one of the problems for traditionalists is that we have not been as strong in our convictions as we ought to have been. We can learn here from Marine Le Pen, who does come across as very strong in her beliefs and in her faith in what can be achieved.


  1. Hm, I think the right-liberals like Sarkozy often do come across as hollow men - "Here are my principles? You don't like them? Don't worry, I have others." Left-liberals like Tony Blair and Hollande do have bad convictions, though.

  2. Mr. Richardson

    "one of the problems for traditionalists is that we have not been as strong in our convictions as we ought to have been."

    I wonder if you could expand upon this idea?

    Mark Moncrieff
    Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future

    1. Mark,

      It's not easy to explain, but I'll try.

      It's possible to have such a settled belief that it becomes vivid to the person, almost tangible. At this stage, the person will see the beliefs as a very real entity to bring to society.

      Traditionalists ought to have an advantage here, as liberals hold at best to a procedural morality. But in practice the moral sway tends to go the other way.

      Perhaps as a coping mechanism, traditionalists have tended to be a bit politically detached.

  3. A quibble, or just a question. Summary: 'Marine makes sense regardless, they are convictionless.'

    I get your point about their conviction of self-determination. But can't you say that that's not a coherent conviction?--aside from the good criticisms you make elsewhere on the ideology, I say here (maybe you have too, I haven't read everything of yours) that as a conviction, it is simply inconsistent as you've described in this post. To wit, self-determination leads to non-interference, but there it all breaks down. Because the immigrationists and homo-marriageites profoundly interfere with traditionalists trying to live their lives.

    So they don't follow their own conviction. (Conservatives point out this hypocrisy all the time.) So a conviction that doesn't even make sense, can you call it even a coherent "conviction"? And by this reasoning, can we further support the phrasing Marine has used?

    If they are seen to profess a conviction but not follow it, can we not say that in truth they don't have that conviction?