Le Pen Trumps Plutocracy?

At first sight the rage of the likes of the magazine “The Economist” against Trump and Le Pen is strange: after all, The Economist is on the “right”, so are the preceding two. A clue: The Economist put the preceding two in the same bag as Bernie Sanders, under the mysterious label “Populist”… I guess a “populist” is someone for the People by contrast to those who are not (the likes of “The Economist”).

My own mom accused me to be “Front National” just because the French (“far right”, not that it is clear what that means) National Front has adopted certain issues I have long held dear. For example, many countries (and not just in the West) have seen the rise of new aristocracies. ⅔ of the top French companies by market value are held by inheritance, whereas it’s only around 20% in the UK or the USA; the reason emanates directly from the tax system; and the exact same tax forces are now at work in the USA, namely the exemption of the hyper rich from taxation, and inheritance tax, with a artfully crafted loopholes and exemptions. Notice in passing that this is a case where France is more “capitalist” than the USA (contrarily to legend).

Sugar Coated Plutocracy: French Aristocracy Bond Girl & Palme d’Or: Most Of French Power Is Held By Dynasties: Ancien Régime All Over Again

Sugar Coated Plutocracy: French Aristocracy Bond Girl & Palme d’Or: Most Of French Power Is Held By Dynasties: Ancien Régime All Over Again

[“Léa Seydoux“, in the latest Bond movie, above, of her true name, Léa Hélène Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne, is from an immensely rich and famous family, which has been that way, for many generations. So it is, all over French society: Sons of… and Daughters of… are those who succeed and get into the .1% of everything (singing, acting, administrating, politics, medicine, engineering, etc.). Consider the just published book “Fils de.. Filles de...”]

I guess, by that token, I am pro-Trump as Trump has embraced single payer, or even socialized health care system. In truth I am pro-truth and about issues.

Much of these outrages emanate from a political system which has embraced hero-worship, instead of issue-worship.

Hero-worship, celebritism spurns thinking. Thus a world where 97% of the convicted for serious crimes in the USA do not come in front of a jury, and are judged by non-judges… While Americans are persuaded they live in a country of justice. Or a world where a human right lawyer in China joined Marine Le Pen in being accused of “ethnic hatred” (the difference being that Le Pen is number two in French preference for president whereas the Chinese lawyer has been incarcerated for 18 months).

OK, let’s quote some of the (honorable, supposedly) USA “Republican” pundits. A raging conservative, Guy Benson, bemoans that:

“Republican voters — driven, it would seem, by Trump backers — became astonishingly supportive of (a) maintaining the Iran nuclear deal, (b) government-run and -funded healthcare, and (c) race-based affirmative action when the pollster informed respondents that those positions were held by Donald Trump, as opposed to Barack Obama.  These aren’t hypotheticals, by the way.  Follow those links, and you’ll discover that longtime Democrat Donald Trump has embraced all three liberal stances during his current presidential run. Not back when he was donating generously to Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid over the years (yes, yes, “because he’s a businessman!”), and not even more recently, when Trump was declaring his support for the wasteful “stimulus” package enacted by Obama, whom he declared had rescued the American economy; no, these are viewpoints articulated by the current iteration of Trump.  The punchline is that his supporters don’t care at all.  Trump’s Democrat-style campaign is driven by feelings and identity, not issues.  The HuffPo survey also revealed the same phenomenon at play on the other end of the spectrum, as hordes of Obama cultists reflexively tossed foundational liberal-left ideals overboard after they were told they were agreeing with Trump, versus Obama.  Can we abandon all reason and alleged principles in order to march in lockstep with an anointed political figure, or oppose a bete noir?  Yes we can. The point is that emotion-based hero worship can heavily erode afflicted parties’ previous adherence to values, ideology, and critical thinking.”

Hero-worship, what I call “Celebritism” is an increasing problem, and fully a part of the oligarchic phenomenon, itself a subset of the plutocratic mindset.

The plutocratic phenomenon does not suck out all the air from democracy, but from intelligence itself (the USA’s first billionaire, Carnegie, explained this, 130 years ago). Yet plutocrats should remember this: at some  point great vengeance is exercised (it happened even in the USA, witness president Eisenhower 93% upper margin tax rate). And history indeed shows that, at some point always, the pen trumps plutocracy

Patrice Ayme’

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10 Responses to “Le Pen Trumps Plutocracy?”

  1. richard reinhofer Says:

    Vox.com had an article that explained to us ignorant English only speakers some of the NF platform. I agreed with much of their position and those that I disagreed with seemed more in tune with the particulars of French society of which I’m not familiar enough to comment. #feelthebern

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The National Front works, because Europe does not.
      It’s as simple as that.
      Actually, Europe works well, as a plutocratic vehicle: this way, it satisfies the French right and the so-called “Socialists” (who are anything but). This is why maybe the largest support of the National Front comes from ex-Communists and their children (something the party in power in France is not keen to advertise).

      International plutocracy has shoved the 90 in the dirt, both in Europe and the USA, and has built international institutions not just to cover-up, and as a justification, but as an indispensable instrument. As We The People come to understand this, international plutocracy will become more hysterical.

      De Brunet has CC an extract of vox, is it what you were thinking of?

      • richard reinhofer Says:

        http://www.vox.com/2015/1/12/7531357/national-front-platform

        Thoughts?

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          I did not read it yet, send for sending it. I can tell you something that the National Front gets right: they put France first. I listened carefully to commentary after the last election. The National Front talked of France, and how the rest (Pluto-Socialists-Socializing-Not, and Pluto-Conservatives-Conserving-Nothing) was just making a coalition against them.

          The Pluto-Socialists-Socializing-Not, and Pluto-Conservatives-Conserving-Nothing talked only about the fact the “Front National” was fascist. Basically, they don’t understand that thus they say: NATIONAL = FASCISM.

          That’s so incredibly stupid that even the American Republicans have understood this. Nationalism, patriotism, per se, is NOT fascism.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Richard: I just published the first part of my answer, in today’s essay. I hope you can tell me what you think

  2. De Brunet D'Ambiallet Says:

    FN has given a new excuse for the vicious right: if they are loudly anti FN, then they are “anti fascist”. They are not what they are! Like Richard was saying, coming from any normal country much of what the FN is saying sounds self obvious. Why should not France spend money as it wants?

  3. De Brunet D'Ambiallet Says:

    From Vox, a few months ago:

    Marine Le Pen and her National Front political party, which was a huge winner in last year’s European Parliament elections and whose anti-immigration and anti-Muslim agenda seems perfectly positioned to capitalize on the backlash. Over the weekend, I took the time to read her party’s document “Notre Project: Programme politique du Front National.”

    What you find is a mixed bag. There’s some nuttiness and extremism in there, some banal stuff, and some unlikely-to-work populism. But there are also some excellent points about the fundamental architecture of European economic policy. Points that Europe’s mainstream leaders have spent years avoiding, even as they’ve tried harder and harder to cope with the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment and political movements. The focus on what’s abhorrent about the Front and similar parties is understandable and important. But at some point, European leaders have to face up to the fact that it’s not all nuttiness and racism. Voters are turning to extreme parties because the mainstream parties have blundered into a years-long economic fiasco and they have no plan to end it.

    Far-right is an oversimplification

    The National Front is typically short-handed as a “far-right” political party. This is fine as far as it goes. The party’s founder — Marine Le Pen’s still-living father — was a fascist street-brawler as a youth, managed Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour’s Vichyite presidential campaign in 1965, and traffics in not-at-all-disguised racism.

    In its current incarnation, the Front advances a genuinely extreme view on immigration (a 95 percent reduction in legal immigration levels), promotes anti-Muslim politics under the guise of secularism, and clearly practices dog whistle politics intended to appeal to a racist constituency (hardly a unique tactic).

    In other respects, though, the party is not so extreme. They want to hike military spending (to 2 percent of GDP, leaving it below US levels and actually just reaching the threshold all NATO members are theoretically supposed to attain), build more prisons, discourage abortion, ban same-sex marriages, and ban affirmative action — fairly standard conservative ideas in the US.

    On finance, Le Pen sounds like Elizabeth Warren, calling for a separation of investment and commercial banking (Glass-Steagall rules, in US terms) and a financial transactions tax. They bemoan the privatization of public services.

    On the welfare state, they chart a third way. The (dubious) central premise seems to be that once you massively curtail legal and illegal immigration alike, affordability questions go out the window. Mothers of three or more children will secure earlier access to full social security benefits, family allowances will be raised, and more preschool funding provided. They claim (again, dubiously) that protectionist tariff policy will promote the re-industrialization of France.

    A correct critique of Europe

    But beyond this ideological grab-bag is a thoroughgoing and persuasive critique of European monetary arrangements (they also have a persuasive critique of the EU’s deeply misguided directive on passenger railroad regulation). They cite Milton Friedman as an authority on the idea that the Eurozone is not an optimal currency area, and this is in fact the professional consensus. They rightly say that the inability of Eurozone member states to conduct independent monetary policy “condemns the people to austerity plans that do nothing but exacerbate the crisis.” They say that “France should prepare, with its European partners, a return to national currencies that will permit a return to competitive devaluations” and this would, indeed, be a boon to the French (and Spanish and Italian and Belgian, etc.) economies.

    Most radically in political terms — although really not so controversially in terms of macroeconomics — they call for the Bank of France to print money to cover French budget deficits. That’s a step that could be dangerous in many scenarios, but given that France is currently experience negative inflation it seems well worth trying.

    A challenge that deserves an answer

    There’s much to dislike in the National Front’s policy gestalt. The mix of populist conservative nationalism on social policy and protectionist trade policy is politically plausible, but indefensible on the merits. The draconian immigration restrictionism at the core of the party’s identity is inhumane and substantively ridiculous.

    But the Europe stuff deserves an answer. LePen’s view that the currency union can simply be undone amicably is rather utopian. But it’s at least an idea. Europe is currently mired in a depression whose initial cause was the single currency, and mainstream European leaders have no solutions to offer. The Eurozone is fundamentally a political project rather than an economic one, but to succeed politically it needs to work economically. Right now it isn’t, and Le Pen’s brand of populist nationalism is a logical alternative. After all, the idea that France should have its own currency just the way Canada and Switzerland and Singapore do rather than trying to share one with Portugal and Finland isn’t really all that radical.

    So far, European leaders have mostly tried to answer the rise of the far-right’s toxic immigration politics by talking immigration. Either with criticisms of xenophobia, cooptation of anti-immigrant politics, or both. But it’s no secret that anti-immigrant views rise during times of economic distress — economic distress whose root cause is bungling in Brussels and Frankfurt, not anything to do with immigrants. Le Pen deserves to be confronted where she’s making the most sense, not the least. Mainstream leaders need to either co-opt her European agenda, or else construct a viable alternative in which the European Central Bank creates growth-friendly conditions without disrupting the single currency.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks. Well, the currency question is not black and white. France and Germany can, and should, have the same currency. It’s just a matter of having Marine Le Pen charge into Berlin like the Valkyrie she is, and imposing a change to the ECB, along the lines of the Fed and BOE. Nothing dramatic (except for the charge).

  4. Gmax Says:

    The elites are getting agitated and concerned that populism is getting popular. As Richard said the agitation against Le Pen makes no sense for Americans. Like she wants to increase defense to 2%, have a currency, throw illegals out. America spends like 5% on defense, defense of Europe too

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