The rise of Marine Le Pen

I can’t recall a day recently when the same individual’s face appeared on the same day in the opinion pages of both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. But Monday was a day like that and the individual on both pages was Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Front in France.

“Once a political outlier, Ms. Le Pen has been gaining prominence as France’s problems — a moribund economy and its un-assimilated Muslim-immigrant population — have become more acute and seemingly beyond cure by the traditional political class. Now, in the aftermath of the home-grown Islamist slaughter in Paris, Ms. Le Pen is betting that she is the French politician most likely to benefit from her countrymen’s shock and disbelief over the threat in their midst,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

{mosads}The name of Marine Le Pen was the first thing that came to my mind when the Swiss, without warning, acted to defend their currency. The Swiss were suddenly defending against the euro because they were suddenly defending themselves against the vagaries of the EU. The marches throughout France had hit a primal chord. Not all marches are the same and the intensity and widespread participation of those in France tell that this one — like those in Paris in May 1968 or in Chicago at the Democratic Convention in August 1968 — brings a historic sea change.

France has taken the first baby steps in the process of abandoning the post-war Americanization of Europe which is the EU, one of the two worst ideas in the later half of the 20th century. The Swiss correctly identify the turning. In a word, they are pulling now all secondary artificial support for the EU. The Swiss are pulling out because the French will rise to defend themselves against all the abstractions which brought them into this. In doing so, they will turn to Le Pen. And the Swiss understand that if Le Pen comes to power in France, the EU will fall apart.

“Her fixes for France’s troubles are simple: Exit the European Union and end the reign of ‘globalist’ economics — the free movement of goods, capital and labor — that she blames for the fact that France is ‘dying,'” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The marches against terrorism in the Charlie Hebdo tragedy were the first small steps to French recovery of its ancient and historic soul. It is like that great imaginary moment when Victor Laszlo, resplendent in this white suit, rose up from his table at Rick’s Café Américain, confronted the Vichy French and demanded that the band play “La Marseillaise.”

France could turn back now, as most commentators ask, to its inspired version of revolution: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Or they may go back further to that which has always been there and has never left: the older eternal soul — as Israel does today and as Russia under the influence of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn attempts to do, abandoning altogether the abstraction of revolution.

“Now all the eyes are open,” Marine Le Pen told The Wall Street Journal. “We are the only ones to solve the problem.”

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at

Tags EU European Union France Marine Le Pen National Front Terrorism

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