Le Pen ...

Robert Harley harley@argote.ch
Wed, 24 Apr 2002 20:11:57 +0200 (CEST)

In email John Hall asked (and I think this reply is fork-worthy):
>Could you point me to some source of information about what Le Pen
>actually believes in?  I do know about the 'detail of history' comment.
>I know Le Pen is 'anti Immigrant' and perhaps 'anti Muslim'.  [...]
>What else, labels aside?
>Are they interested in more or less globalization?
>More or less free trade?
>Military aggrandizement?

I don't know of such a source, so I'll try to give a slightly balanced summary.

Le Pen is widely accused and suspected of being anti-jewish, although
he claims he is not.  His former wife says he is and, for instance,
that he once referred in positive terms to "Uncle Adolf".  Much as I
don't want to defend him, she also appears to say everything possible
to blacken him, so that spin could well be an exagerration best taken
with a pinch of salt.  Likewise, the 'detail of history' comment
should be taken in context.  He said that he didn't doubt the six
million dead but that he thought that 'the gas chambers are a detail
of history' because the manner in which death was inflicted was not
important.  The interviewer also seemed to be implying that all the
dead had been gassed, which is simply false.  Le Pen added that he
didn't know what role the gas chambers had played and hadn't
personally verified their existence, bordering on revisionism.

Moving right along...

There is no doubt that he is fervently nationalist and anti-immigrant
and especially anti-non-european-immigrant, mainly targetting Muslims
from North Africa or elsewhere.  He promises to introduce legislation
for a 'préférence nationale' in the job market so that with equal
qualifications, a French national would get a job ahead of other
applicants.  What that would mean in practice is that in job
applications, the onus would be on foreigners like myself to prove
clearly that they had superior qualifications.  In the US in many
circumstances, companies are supposed to make a genuine effort to find
American applicants, for instance by putting an advertisement in the
papers for three days, before hiring a foreigner.  Businesses have to
be flexible in working around such legislation, but over here it don't
work like that... many companies would simply avoid hiring foreigners
to avoid a real risk of being fined.

Economically, Le Pen and the Front National are in favour of
ultra-liberal policies within France, along with ultra-protectionist
policies on international trade, with government-mandated 'buy French'
programs etc.  And don't underestimate the size and power of the state
in France!

He is mostly anti-Europe, except when it suits him for demagoguery.
For instance he says that if elected he will immediately take France
out of the European Union and denounce international treaties.  And he
appears to be perfectly capable of such rash moves.

He wants to cut tax drastically.  He would eliminate inheritance tax
immediately.  He promises to cut state spending and eliminate income
tax in five years.  Sound good?  The probable modus operandi would be
to wait a few years until unemployment among French people has dropped
and unemployement amongst foreigners has sky-rocketed.  Then notice
that the bloody furriners are sucking large amounts of money out of
the state's coffers in benefits, allowances etc.  Then one day
suddenly declare by fiat that they are no longer eligible for
anything.  Of course in the mean time the economy would have gone to
pot, but that sort of consideration doesn't register in the simplistic
world-view of your average FN voter.

He would also throw out some recently-introduced laws including the
35-hour working week and the PACS, which is basically a kind of
half-assed marriage for gay people.  And he would toughen abortion laws.

No apparent interest in matters military, AFAIK.

I remain,
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