Le Pen and the Super-State

 | 

Marine Le Pen’s strong showing in the French election, in which she achieved a rough tie for first, makes her eligible for the final round, on May 7. At that point, she will lose, because all the other parties will unite against her.

That’s all right with me. Most of her program is the European equivalent of Bernie Sanders, plus anti-immigration. But she has fired a warning shot across the bows of the European establishment, and that is an important service, more important than libertarians are willing to admit when they are thinking ideologically instead of historically.

The European Union, or at least the European Common Market, was, in a way, a libertarian invention — a vast free trade zone offering an end to the internal warfare that had wrecked Europe on two occasions during the 20th century. But because pan-European institutions have been constructed in an era in which modern liberal ideas and social practices predominate among intellectuals and bureaucrats, the mechanisms of European solidarity became steadily more . . . solid. Bureaucrats in Brussels and their clones throughout the continent began to rule by directive, just like the tsars, and to encroach on every area of life. Europe was on its way to becoming a centralized state, a dictatorship of the bureaucratariat. In a society in which everything is registered, regulated, subsidized, or repressed, and all inconvenient facts are concealed from public view, it’s free trade for crony capitalists, jobs-for-life for entitled workers, permanent unemployment for everyone else, an economic growth rate descending to zero, and whatever civil liberties the nanny state allows you to have.

Le Pen has fired a warning shot across the bows of the European establishment, and that is an important service.

That was bad enough, but for ideological as well as economic reasons, the Eurocrats also brought in millions of migrants, not caring whether the newcomers embraced the values of local populations — because the Eurocrats’ project was to homogenize local populations.

Like things that come out of a copy machine, ideologies degenerate when subjected to generations of reproduction, so I suppose it’s not surprising, although it is shocking, that the European globalists didn’t see any difficulty in the fact that the people they were importing and subsidizing were often violently opposed to modern liberal — or any liberal — ideas. They saw opposition to immigration as a plot to bring back competitive European states — and so it became, as the populations of one state after another turned away from Brussels and toward some image of their own historic cultures. The prominence of Le Pen is a feature of this rebellion, and it is remarkable that in nation after nation, the current competition is between the national culture and Brussels, not among the various nationalisms of Britons, French, Germans, and so forth.

That kind of competition may come, but at present the important thing to recognize is that however uneasy libertarians may feel about the irrationality and sometimes tyranny of local cultures, it’s bad news when they are extinguished by a super-state. Europe’s original growth toward a general culture of personal autonomy and competitive capitalism was greatly encouraged by the fact that creative people could easily move from one local culture to another. This is the secret of the “Protestant” spirit of capitalism — in a religiously divided continent, Protestants and Catholics could see competitive models of society close at hand, and adopt or reject them. (Two interesting discussions of this matter: Hugh Trevor Roper, The European Witch Craze . . . and Other Essays; Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell, How the West Grew Rich.)

In nation after nation, the current competition is between the national culture and Brussels, not among the various nationalisms of Britons, French, Germans, and so forth.

But the idea that individuals should be free to act on their own is as foreign to the Eurocrats as the idea that national cultures should remain distinctive. At what might be the last moment to resist homogenization-by-bureaucratic-edict, Le Pen and the Brexiters and all the rest of them have arisen and are making their impact. They’re on a rescue mission — the rescue of real diversity.

Now, you don’t have to like the EMT guys, but you may be happy that they finally showed up. And if you don’t want them to keep showing up, don’t keep setting your house on fire.




Share This

Comments

Thomas L. Knapp

"the Eurocrats also brought in millions of migrants, not caring whether the newcomers embraced the values of local populations — because the Eurocrats’ project was to homogenize local populations."

You seem to have something backward there.

"Bringing in" (or "importing," another word used by anti-immigration authoritarians to cover up that what they oppose is freedom of travel) a bunch of people unlike an existing population does the exact opposite of homogenizing that population.

Visitor

At one time I got into a habit of ordering my Subway sandwiches always with everything on them. Of course after a while I have noticed that they all tasted the same regardless of what the underlying sandwich was. At that point I realized that diversity actually means not piling on everything every time. Another guy I know puts an outrageous amount of ketchup on everything he eats and yet has the gall to claim he has a varied diet.

Similarly what would be the difference between say Finland and Greece (or Thailand or Ethiopia might I add) if all the same people from all over the world lived everywhere? The Weather? Will Paris evoke the excited sigh of lovers and newlyweds as a City of Love and fashion if it becomes a Muslim city and resembles more Beirut (The former Paris of the middle east) than anything we associate with it?

So if you settle everybody everywhere you will end up at best with nearly identically looking mixed culture everyplace where the overwhelming feature will be "the mix" or where some strong omnipresent feature will overwhelm the underlying local cultures. The result is less diversity not more even if those cohabiting cultures remained distinct (not a historically, politically or socially desirable outcome-think Beirut again), and of course complete loss of diversity if they all melted together all across the continent in our already world homogenizing times.

So the term homogenization is correct. It also creates a new group or groups of people in every single country who do not share in the common history, traditions, heritage and have no affinity, ties or loyalty to their host countries. A perfect molding material for a New European or so the movers and shakers assume. He may even need some outside protection or intervention (thus creating sought supranational loyalty) should the host country have some second thoughts about where the process is heading.

People are generally excited about new things and so when people from homogenous cultures or places first encounter a hustling and bustling multiracial place like say London or NY, or Brasil they love it. What they don’t realize is that part of that excitement is a million people metropolis –not easily translatable into small town, and part of it is just the newness or freshness of it all. They essentially just visited a different country/culture. But once it is the same everywhere it just becomes the norm. Nothing exciting about that. That is not much different than being excited about a new girl, fashion, trend, architecture, philosophy or music. But hear the same song five times a day and you will change the station. The beauty is in its rarity and so while the excitement of diversity proponents is understandable ( though even they don’t mean it-what they fantasize about is multiracial monoculturalism -where people look different but think the same) the end result will be the exact opposite of what they claim. A diversity Armageddon.

Luther Jett

Mr. Knapp raises a good point. It might have been more accurate to say that the "Eurocrats' project" was to minimize cultural differences among the various European populations. That could certainly be accomplished through reducing restrictions on mobility across borders.

I am struggling with the notion that the massive wave of human migration we are witnessing, south to north and east to west, was deliberately perpetrated by a group of weasel-brained bureaucrats sitting in Brussels. This strikes me as conspiratorial thinking, writ large. Did the EU's leaders deliberately arrange for drought and famine to sweep across Africa? Is Bashar Assad complicit in a plot to undermine European civilization through forced emigration? I really don't think so.

© Copyright 2017 Liberty Foundation. All rights reserved.



Opinions expressed in Liberty are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Liberty Foundation.

All letters to the editor are assumed to be for publication unless otherwise indicated.