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How McDonald’s defeated Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen following the RN's defeat in last night's parliamentary elections. Credit: Getty

July 8, 2024 - 10:00am

The Left-wing coalition victory in France is a triumph for Pax Americana. But for how long?

Though routinely mentioned in the same breath as the Nazi collaborationist Vichy government, in policy terms the Rassemblement National (RN) is more accurately understood less as “fascist” than as a group of anti-universalist social democrats. For instance, Marine Le Pen’s party doesn’t question the legitimacy of social welfare as such. Rather, the RN has sought to entrench in French law the principle of “national preference”, with welfare and social housing prioritised for French citizens over foreign nationals.

Even more than a national political question, this is an international one: it serves as a core signal of affiliation with, or disaffiliation from, the internationalist consensus that has held since America’s victory in the Second World War. Is it morally legitimate, under any circumstances, to distinguish between an in-group and an out-group in allocating social resources? Do out-groups exist at all? This is a fundamental ideological question; and since America won the Second World War, and egalitarianism by fiat consequently triumphed in the Land of the Free in the Sixties, the only permissible answer to this has been “no”.

The 20th-century Pax Americana dream of universal abundance and harmony that emerged from this consensus was predicated on there being no hard boundaries on countries, peoples, cultures, or polities. Instead, the world would tend toward what Leo Strauss termed the “universal and homogeneous state”, a condition of felicity in which conflict would no longer be necessary — at least, not between states with a McDonald’s.

The McDonald’s Doctrine held, by and large, until 2008, when the Global Financial Crash also saw conflict between the McDonald’s States of Russia and Georgia. This year also, perhaps not coincidentally, marked the beginning of the comeback for the Front National, the RN’s predecessor — a rise enabled by the increasingly beleaguered appearance of a neoliberal worldview seemingly no longer able to distribute rising living standards for all. Over that same period, too, America’s capacity to project power and maintain the economic and cultural dominance which underpinned McDonald’s Peace has come to seem increasingly fragile: a sense of imperial fraying that has culminated in the first serious European conflict since 1945, in Ukraine.

We might infer from this that peoples who acceded to the American paradigm in its salad days, complete with its internationalist and post-cultural edicts, are growing restive now the tide of abundance is withdrawing. Those for whom this is most apparent include the rural poor, the less well-educated, and downwardly-mobile young people: the very groups from which the RN draws its voter base. For such groups, it is growing less self-evident why European peoples should adopt an internationalist outlook, complete with ahistorical American “nation of immigrants” narrative, when these seem only to be delivering more intense resource competition and unwanted cultural change.

In this context, the RN’s “national preference” platform makes sense. When resources are limited, this argument goes, the in-group should be defined as a nation rather than the whole world, and this should be reflected in law and policy. Based on last night’s results, this view is now held by some 37% of French voters, a substantial minority.

These were resoundingly defeated by a rag-tag coalition of Left-wing utopians and neoliberals who agree internally on very little else, but remain nonetheless still broadly in favour of American-style egalitarian internationalism. However the press has framed it, then, this is less a contest between Left and Right than between political paradigms at a far more fundamental — and international — level.

How long will it hold? At the last count, the decisive factor probably lies outside France. If broad support for egalitarian internationalism is a proxy for more general affiliation with Pax Americana, its victory or defeat probably depends on what happens at the imperial core in Washington, DC. Should a less internationalist, more Nato-sceptic regime take power in the United States later this year, and its geopolitical focus shift East, how long will the ghost of the Second World War go on frightening Europeans into their current efforts at America-style egalitarian universalism? Not forever, most likely.

In this case, we should anticipate a far more substantial resurgence than we have seen to date, across Europe, of the nationalist sensibilities long suppressed by the postwar settlement.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 days ago

I don’t want the Italians to eat the same food as me, speak the same language, listen to the same music and live in towns that all look like Slough. I don’t want them to be indistinguishable from the French or the Germans. I want them to be Italian. Sorry Klaus.

Victor James
Victor James
4 days ago

“Is it morally legitimate, under any circumstances, to distinguish between an in-group and an out-group in allocating social resources?…No.”
But this only applies to white people. There are glaring, gigantic double standards that everyone can see but no one mentions.
The left, and not just the far left, expends massive energy fostering an aggrieved in group/out-group racism in non-whites. Anti-white racism is the defining trait of the left. If you took it away, it wouldn’t be the left.
But because people won’t say ‘Anti-white racism’, they have no choice but to concoct convoluted theories as to what’s happening. Instead of 2 words, people write whole books of waffle.
The entire post-ww2 project has been about the ethnic cleansing of white voting blocks. Why? Isn’t it obvious? Look at London, the one party leftist utopia, in perpetuity. The fascist left want that everywhere.
Why do intelligent people go along with it? Why do intelligent people not point fingers at the fascist left and call them racists? Because the religion of the ‘moustached man from Germany that must be feared forever’ has stupefied their faculties.
Is the post-ww2 regime coming to an end? If so, good, because it’s evil.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 days ago
Reply to  Victor James

But because people won’t say ‘Anti-white racism’,
They call it DEI instead, because everyone knows that giving polite names to lousy policies makes those policies better. If you call it DEI instead of open discrimination, then you can discriminate and say it’s for the sake of inclusion and equity. Never mind that inclusion relies on a certain amount of exclusion and that equity among people is impossible.

Dr E C
Dr E C
3 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think you’ll find that as of yesterday Racism is now rebranded IED. That’s right, someone’s rejigged the order in which the letters appear because the wider populace was starting to catch on.
Same sh*t, different day.

Angus Douglas
Angus Douglas
4 days ago
Reply to  Victor James

Brilliantly put. I live in South Africa, where it’s okay for political leaders to call for the murder of white people. That’s what happens in a world of double standards.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
4 days ago
Reply to  Angus Douglas

What’s it like to live in RSA these days? I read that traffic signals are ripped down so thieves can steal and sell the copper wire.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 days ago
Reply to  Victor James

Why do intelligent people go along with it?
Because ‘educated’ people are usually ‘educated’ in universities by people who have never experienced the world outside the educational system.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
4 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

There’s an Unherd writer who fits that description; one Terry Eagleton, whose claim to understanding the “world outside the educational system” is by referencing wall charts in an M&S canteen.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
4 days ago
Reply to  Victor James

 Look at London, the one party leftist utopia, in perpetuity – I agree and that is what scares me the most. I wonder if the Chinese style social credit system is coming to the west? Facilitated by technology, such a government / society could control, reward and punish its members based on where they go and what they say or post. Two examples: (1) Canada during the truckers protest against the COVID restrictions leftist PM Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to freeze the truckers access to the financial system. (2) The US DOJ has been quite effective in using facial recognition technology to help find and arrest January 6 rioters in the US capital, although such technology does not seem to be used in apprehending BLM or pro-Hamas rioters.

Amelia Melkinthorpe
Amelia Melkinthorpe
4 days ago

The French may prefer proper food to eating pap, but by god, they vote for pap.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
4 days ago

“Though routinely mentioned in the same breath as the Nazi collaborationist Vichy government, … Marine Le Pen’s party doesn’t question the legitimacy of social welfare as such.”
The RN are not National Socialists (the NSDAP never referred to themselves as Nazi’s), but the actual NS’s did introduce free healthcare for the poor, and many other social welfare programs. Why they did this is hinted at in their full name National Socialist German Workers Party.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
4 days ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

…. and their boss was fond of children and dogs … what’s not to like?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 days ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

So was Rolf Harris

b blimbax
b blimbax
4 days ago

“. . . the first serious European conflict since 1945, in Ukraine.”
Meaning that that commotion in Serbia in 1999, including over two months of daily bombing of Belgrade, was not “serious”?

El Uro
El Uro
4 days ago
Reply to  b blimbax

Compared to Ukraine, no.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
4 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

It certainly was for Serbians

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
3 days ago
Reply to  b blimbax

It was a one way conflict (with a victorious agressor). So more “military bullying” than a war.Unlike Ukraine, where both sides have ample means to defend themselves.

James Helberg
James Helberg
3 days ago

Ukraine does not have ample means to defend itself. It has courageous citizens, but without outside support they will not survive.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
4 days ago

we should anticipate a far more substantial resurgence than we have seen to date, across Europe, of the nationalist sensibilities long suppressed by the postwar settlement.

Sounds plausible, and not necessarily disastrous. One does wonder, though, whether that might also mean a reblossoming of inter-nation conflict and war in Europe.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
4 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The world is a whole lot smaller than in 1914, or 39, Europe.or more accurately, European culture, is no longer the centre of the Universe. The competing ideological forces are as likely, probably more so, to come from without (aided by parachuting Nuns from within, obviously).

George K
George K
4 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

That’s Mearscheimer’s theory. Without American imperial protection, the European countries will need to provide for their own security which is potentially destabilizing factor. However I agree with another comment that Europe is a marginal imperial corner resource wise. Local conflicts are possible but nothing global will come out of Europe anymore

William Knorpp
William Knorpp
4 days ago

I’m a bit confused by this post. I do realize you’re merely trying to describe a certain disagreement and not taking sides on it.
I’ve never heard it said that America, or the post-WWII order, was committed to, basically, drawing no distinctions among groups. For any purpose? What would that even mean? No distinction between citizens and non-citizens? That can’t be what’s meant, can it?
We do recognize that some rights transcend the citizen/non-citizen distinction–e.g. to free speech and the free exercise of religion. But not, e.g., the right to vote. Is there a right to public assistance?? Whatever the answer, I can’t see how refusing it to, say, illegal aliens–or, for that matter, legal ones–is some grave violation of American ideals, however recent. Could a person living in Cambodia demand Medicaid reimbursement?
The disagreement you’re describing does seem to map roughly and in some ways onto the left/right distinction. Only the far left–not the center or anything near the center-right–rejects the legitimacy of nations…and that’s what seems to be roughly equivalent to denying the citizen/non-citizen distinction.
Much of the intellectual left does, actually, incline toward a position that claims to reject all distinctions (though it doesn’t, of course). (Out of a certain reading (or misreading?) of Derrida, for one thing.) This is, to some extent, the grounding for the denial of the man/woman male/female distinction(s). Maybe that’s in the mix here somewhere…I just don’t know…
It’s early…maybe I’m just misreading the whole post.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 days ago
Reply to  William Knorpp

That’s what I don’t understand. Are we talking about denying people services based on their race or their legal standing in the country? I’m genuinely confused. Denying services to people who reside in a country illegally should not be controversial at all. Denying services to legal citizens of a different race is much different.

Leslie Smith
Leslie Smith
4 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

In the USA today, illegal migrants are getting free government pushed by the Dems, and the Democrat Party is also trying to stop legislation in Congress to prevent requiring voters to show an ID.

Terry M
Terry M
4 days ago

The 20th-century Pax Americana dream of universal abundance and harmony that emerged from this consensus was predicated on there being no hard boundaries on countries, peoples, cultures, or polities.
Rubbish. You may be too young to remember the Berlin Wall and the iron curtain. No hard borders means no nation states. That was never anyone’s dream … until very recently Europe and the US Donkeys invited in whomever wanted to come regardless of intentions. Note that the majority of people are pushing back very hard on that since it will erase not just France, but every country and every culture.
The ‘Pax Americana’ was founded on peaceful relations with free trade between countries and the UN as a forum for broad discussions.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

This author has a tendency to us America as a boogeyman of sorts

Geoff W
Geoff W
4 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Actually, I don’t think the author is very bright, which is why she writes tortured piffle like: “We might infer from this that peoples who acceded to the American paradigm in its salad days, complete with its internationalist and post-cultural edicts, are growing restive now the tide of abundance is withdrawing.”

Paul Truster
Paul Truster
1 day ago
Reply to  Geoff W

What do you find objectionable in that?

Geoff W
Geoff W
1 day ago
Reply to  Paul Truster

Rotten prose (e.g. paradigms don’t have “salad days”), vagueness (e.g. what exactly are the “internationalist and post-cultural edicts” of said paradigm?), and bad-lecturer-like, vaguely pretentious diction (e.g. “We might infer,” “tide of abundance”).

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 days ago

All the left/right talk does is hide the actual point of division: nationalism vs. globalism. The former believes that a country has a unique culture, heritage, traditions, language, and in a simpler time, its own currency. The latter seeks to erase all of those things.
Meanwhile, there is this: “The 20th-century Pax Americana dream of universal abundance and harmony that emerged from this consensus was predicated on there being no hard boundaries on countries, peoples, cultures, or polities.”
Who exactly was advocating open borders other than people who wanted to do away with national identities? And what sane person believed that an open border could co-exist with a welfare state? Hint: it can’t; the two are not compatible, as the US is currently bent on demonstrating to anyone who is still unclear on the matter.
Abundance and harmony, particularly the latter, presuppose that people and cultures will differ across national boundaries, as will policies and polities. The only kumbaya moment was in the abundance part, and that was predicated on the idea that if people were materially comfortable, they would be far less open to conflict with their neighbors.

El Uro
El Uro
4 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The only kumbaya moment was in the abundance part, and that was predicated on the idea that if people were materially comfortable, they would be far less open to conflict with their neighbors.
.
And this is wrong as we can see now

Dr E C
Dr E C
3 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

Exactly. It turns out that people’s unshakeable belief in where they’re going to spend eternity after they die (hint: conditions will be better if they murder a few kafirs along the way), is more important to them than whether they have a few extra quid in their pockets.

Leslie Smith
Leslie Smith
4 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

As the American economist, Dr. Milton Friedman, Ph.D noted, “You can’t have open borders and a welfare state.” This is what the USA is learning the hard way thanks to Biden’s open borders’ agenda. Over 10 million illegal migrants have entered the USA since Biden assumed office on Jan. 20, 2021. There has been only minimal vetting (no vetting for criminal and terrorist ties) for the vast majority of them, and as Biden promised, they are getting “free government benefits.” Biden and Dems are trying to give them amnesty so that the Democrat Party will have an absolute monopoly on political power as the USA devolves into a 3rd world banana republic.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 days ago
Reply to  Leslie Smith

Exactly the same in Canada. Refugees, aka economic migrants, get $2000 a month and a lovely hotel stay while at the same time Canada’s homegrown homelessness problem grows, exacerbated by a housing shortage caused by our virtue-signalling PM’S invitation to the world, you are welcome in Canada. Now that they have spent the last decade increasing the population, mostly with international students and temporary workers predominantly from one country, their government is considering taking care of the problem of irregular migrants by making them permanent residents, thus increasing their voter base.

Graff von Frankenheim
Graff von Frankenheim
4 days ago

The really weird thing to me is why everybody assumes the elections were held in a legitimate way. The outcome makes zero sense just like US 2020. Yet nobody in France is calling to technical checks on voting machines? Or for a recount? Or for footage of election locations? Given the alignment between NFP and corporate interests and capitalist lackey Macron’s desire to work with the left rather than the right, why is nobody in France suspicious of the sudden reversal of Le Pen’s fortunes? It smells like high heaven.

M To the Tea
M To the Tea
4 days ago

This way of thinking only worked during colonization: them (everybody) vs. us (White Europeans). But applying this mindset within a single European country is simply stupid. The basic human need is safety, and the idea of eating steak in front of someone/neighbor/noncitizen who is starving every day is a ridiculous way to lead a country. How long does one think this will last?
If you want one group, then close the door…and do not mingle internationally with anyone.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
4 days ago

The over-archer here for me, is a rejection across Europe (and including in the UK) of the centre. Not of the right, or of the left, but very specifically the centre – it’s like one of those massive holes that suddenly opens up in the ground, and this one is getting wider and wider (but it’s not clear if it will continue getting deeper), so everyone runs to the edges. This means, as much as it is uncomfortable for me to say this, it looks like alongside the right progressing, the left will also continue gaining traction. This will probably mean, all varieties of milquetoast centre rightism a la Rory Stuart, or centre leftism a la Miliband the Elder, will attract increasing impatience from the populace, and eventually scorn as varieties of attempted solutions come unstuck – so I imagine a very uncomfortable time is in the pipeline for Labour in power, and I wonder if they will be able to react by going against the grain of their ingrained beliefs, e.g on net zero.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I don’t think you can describe parties that support net zero and open borders as centrist. These are extremely radical policies. The Overton window has been smashed and stomped to dust.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
4 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m not saying at all that the new Labour government is centrist, I think they are radical left, but they are constrained. My point was, they have en masse bought completely into net zero, and I wondering if they will be able to bring themselves to change course when net zero as a policy starts to come apart.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

You can’t be a Net Zero party if you think that massive and indiscriminate worship of ‘AI’ as a driver of growth is the Way Forward. Which I understand is the Blair view, and what Tony wants from Sir Keir, Tony will get – along, of course, with all those power-hungry ‘data’ centres.

Jon Barrow
Jon Barrow
4 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The young across Europe are heading both Left and Right (though I’m hesitant to use those terms, to start with you have to distinguish between the cultural and the economic). The ‘centre’ has become almost apolitical, technocratic and without vision or big-picture thinking. The ‘centre’ avoids hard problems, especially the cultural stuff (too ‘controversial/divisive’/open to a media clobbering) and it is therefore unfit for executive power (which it, in any case, tries to avoid using).

J Bryant
J Bryant
4 days ago

Outstanding essay.
I would suggest the key insight is, “The 20th-century Pax Americana dream of universal abundance and harmony that emerged from this consensus was predicated on there being no hard boundaries on countries, peoples, cultures, or polities.”
This insight applies to the USA itself. It has always been a country where people of different groups have been required to get along in the public arena, despite historical differences/rivalries, and subscribe to a manufactured culture called Americanism. In exchange they have a good shot at a secure life and material prosperity. As Coolidge purportedly said, “The business of America is business.”
So what happens when, like today, material prosperity is beyond the reach of an increasingly heterogeneous America? What other ties bind us together in an era when the Left is again promoting racially-based division?
The future of the Americanization of the world will depend on what happens in America in the next couple of election cycles.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
4 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

But surely what happens outside America may determine what happens in the electoral cycles?
The US Empire’s far flung vassal states are under threat (Europe…Ukraine, Middle East…Israel, some Arab states, Far East…Taiwan, South Korea, Japan…) and the Empire clearly no longer has the strength, power and possibly willpower to protect them all despite rhetoric to the contrary.
In fact, it is already happening with Trump correctly pointing out that America hasn’t won a war since 1945, and that Europe must step up and pay for defence.
No matter who wins in the next elections, the USA will become isolationist to a large extent.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
4 days ago

If one were so minded, a ruling on the question of benefits for an out-group when they have commerce with an in-group could be taken back to Jesus of Nazareth. 
In the Gospel account of His meeting with a foreign woman who petitions Him about her sick daughter, Jesus at first seems to declare that she isn’t a legitimate beneficiary. “It is not right to give the children’s bread to the dogs.” 
At the same time this is a subtle and deliberate introduction and use of the example of dinner table etiquette. In a world without cutlery each diner would have had a flatbread and used the better part to dip in the dishes to eat the food. Something that is referenced at the Last Supper and which is still done around the world today. 
Each diner in the ancient world would then have used the outside of the loaf, the ‘ends of the loaf’, which is what ‘crumbs’ means in the English translation, to clean their hands before giving these pieces to the household dogs to eat. 
There is a connection between dog and diner. Each eats from the same loaf.  
The woman’s reply, “Even the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the table” is at once an acknowledgement of her position, firstly as an outsider (the ‘dog’); as the Apostle Paul had reminded his converts of what they had once been: “Outside the covenant and with no hope in the world.” Secondly, as an insider, a member of the household at the table with the diners, the ‘children’. 
Though the woman is helped to the same degree as any Jewish woman in the Gospels, this is not at a level of equality. The bread the dogs are given is essentially material unfit for human consumption. As a ‘dog’ she is not accorded the status of honorary human that modern pets are given along with their names and clothing. 
Yet the ruling that Jesus gives here restates the position and responsibility that the ancient Israelites had towards the Others. At the same time, it is also the beginning of the idea of “This is my body which is given for you.” 

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
4 days ago

egalitarian internationalism is a proxy for more general affiliation with Pax Americana

Wow. Never seen it put that way.
So, the decline of the US Empire is likely to produce a decline in “egalitarian internationalism” all over the world.
Of course, you could also define “egalitarian internationalism” as the rule of the global educated class. And, as with all regimes down the ages, the one thing in common is that ruling classes rule for the benefit of the ruling class and whatever supporters they need to continue their rule. The rest can go hang, and get buried in pejoratives like “racist” and “fascist.”
But guess what, cupcake. All regimes with “socialist” in their DNA are national socialist: i.e. fascist. As with fascist pioneers Mussolini and Hitler. And Stalin with “socialism in one country” and Xi with “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
4 days ago

Macron will not be able to form a government both to his liking and with a Parliamentary majority. France will drift for 3 years with its deficits and debt levels rising. Macron will exclude the hard left from government, which means that they will feel justified in exerting political power outside of Parliament. The consequent rioting, terrorism and crime will mean that the second round of the 2027 Presidential election will be between the Melenchon and the RN candidate.

Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
4 days ago

Because of the demographic advantages of education and wealth paired with a lock on academia, cultural institutions, and media, the “left” will continue to dominate the course of western politics with only intermittent intrusion of the right. This will continue until the inherent fallacies in the prevailing liberal order bring the whole house of cards crashing down. The ideals that Ms Harrington astutely outlined are incompatible with the world as it is now and that disparity will only grow larger. Western governments are failing at their fundamental purpose and their only means to disguise the reality is with ballooning debt. The clock ticks down on a catastrophe equivalent to 1929.

The “rural poor and downwardly mobile” have insufficient agency to alter this. Any “leaders” they may occasionally elect will be doomed to fail because there no longer exists a cultural infrastructure to sustain conservative governance. Underneath the layer of elected officials is a homogeneously-liberal ecosystem that defies alteration.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 days ago
Reply to  Ex Nihilo

‘… because there no longer exists a cultural infrastructure to sustain conservative governance…’
Excellent short statement of a fundamental truth that will determine the political currents of the next era.

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
4 days ago

The in-group, out-group debate is incoherent, and quite obviously so. Lacking ‘in’ vs. ‘out’–membership vs. non-membership–the concept of ‘group’ entirely disappears. So do the notions of a ‘family,’ as distinct from other families, and a ‘nation,’ as distinct from other nations. The very real limits to the distribution of social resources have nothing to do with morality; they are the inevitable consequence of the limits of family and national responsibilities. I have nothing to say about what goes on in a family not my own, and my nation’s legislators have no mandate to interfere in the social reward entitlements of citizens who belong to other polities. Are you Canadian? Brazilian? Angolan? You’re always either in or out of particular groups, and it’s this status that determines your eligibility for whatever rewards your group memberships offer. We can sometimes change membership criteria; but we can’t define away the membership, non-membership distinction itself without giving up the concept of ‘group’ as well.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
3 days ago

The Le Pen family is neo-Fascist. They can adopt whatever fashionable populist garb they like but the mainstream won’t accept them- it’s superficial, the change, they remain national socialist in character with France’s tumultuous Interwar period and their fashies’ collaboration with the German occupation.
In contrast, Meloni has been more honest about consistent historical roots (Berlo + Mussolini) and so the voters have embraced her, and ultimately the Italian Establishment too.
In France, the destructive conservative-nationalist vs neoliberal realignment is Macron’s fault, his famous power grab. The Gilets jaunes, for example, might contain some Le Pen voters but others will be old PS voters without a home or those willing to join this new parliamentary Left. Sure, they are united in opposition to Macron, but the fractures begin right after that.
Le Pen hopes she can get the presidency via a weak successor to Macron. But the 2-round voting system will always prevent that. She would have change the constitution in a VI French Republic.

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke
3 days ago

The ghost of WW2 will probably go on keeping parties like RN out of power as long as trigger words like Vichy, anti-Semitism, etc. embarrass the French into voting against their own interests.