Saturday, April 27, 2002

Is Le Pen a man of the Left?

Mark Steyn states:

M. Le Pen is an economic protectionist in favour of the minimum wage, lavish subsidies for France's incompetent industries and inefficient agriculture; he's anti-American and fiercely opposed to globalization. In other words, he's got far more in common with Naomi Klein than with me.

I'm surprised that I haven't seen the "Le Pen is a lefty" spiel go further on the bolggosphere, but I do expect it to do so. So for the sake of a fair balance let me point out that:

He calls for the abolition of inheritance tax
He calls for the slashing of other taxes (no matter how implausibly)
He calls for deregulation of much of commercial life
He was elected as an MP for the Poujadiste's during their tax revolt

And this is before you look at social issues (immigration, abortion, working mothers, etc, etc). It may be that he is not as economically liberal as in the 1980s (the same goes for M Chirac, both Le Pen and Chirac were outspoken economic liberals during the Mitterrand years), but the right - and I include myself in this - have to accept that he is a right winger.

The problem with catagorising Le Pen, as Justin Raimondo also showed, is that you really cannot do so simply. That said, he's a complex character. The orthodoxy that he is simply some Hitler worshipping Nazi is also far too simplistic, and attempts by revisionists such as Steyn and Raimondo to coax out his Lefty and Libertarian strains are welcome.


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