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What our conservative establishment gets wrong about Europe’s right
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What our conservative establishment gets wrong about Europe’s right

While those who fear terrorists cheer for Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, some of our 'conservatives' stupidly identify the same party with World War II Nazi collaborators. What a shame.

One of the most irritating characteristics of the conservative establishment (yes, there is one) is its conventional leftist slant on European politics. This became painfully apparent to me in how the New York Post on June 30 reported those gains made by the Rassemblement National (National Rally) in the first round of France’s legislative elections: “A right-wing party could seize power in France for the first time since the Nazis occupied the country in World War Two — with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally making huge gains in the first round of a high-stakes snap election.”

Allow me to offer a few obvious points. Marine Le Pen’s RN has nothing to do with the collaborationist Vichy government that Nazi Germany allowed to take limited power over France in July 1940. That came after Hitler’s armies defeated French forces and occupied much of the country. Unlike the Vichy government, which passed anti-Semitic legislation in October and November 1940, the current French right abounds in Jewish voters. Éric Zemmour, the leader of the Reconquête party, which is to the right of the RN, is a Moroccan Jew.

American “conservative” journalists often illustrate a tendency that is common to the left, particularly when it comes to describing the European political spectrum.

France’s most well-known historian of the Holocaust, Serge Klarsfeld, who has relentlessly (and sometimes quite unfairly) attacked the French people for their alleged assistance in the deportation of Jews under the Nazis, supports the RN. He considers that party to be the one most sympathetic to Jews in France. Klarsfeld’s son, Arno, has expressed the same position.

Whenever the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and other conventional center-right opinion source refers to a Western European party situated to the right of the ruling blocs, their preferred term for describing that party is “far right.” Whether we are speaking about the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, the German AfD, the Flemish Vlaams Belang, or the RN in France, our putative conservatives view these parties as thoroughly unsavory.

Meanwhile parties on the left receive perfectly respectful treatment from the same news sources, as members in good standing of the free world. The electoral landslide of Labour under Keir Starmer in Great Britain last week received noticeably favorable coverage in the New York Post and on Fox News. Indeed, we were made to believe that Starmer and his left-wing party were entitled to power “after drought” and in view of the “infighting and scandal” associated with the Tories.

Never mind that Labour abounds in leftist kooks and that Starmer promises to restart processing the applications of Third World refugee who arrived in Britain illegally. One might have expected our “conservatives” to note this problem associated with the leftist stampede in the British elections. So far, they haven’t.

Even more outrageously, the American “conservative” press was so busy going after the allegedly extremist Marine Le Pen and her RN that it refrained from criticism of France’s Nouveau Front Populaire, the motley leftist front that ran against the governing Renaissance Party and the RN. The NFP, which may be the most dangerously radical party in Europe, gained almost 28% of the votes cast in the French elections. Unfortunately, this group will likely be pulled into a new ruling coalition in France, seeing that Macron’s Renaissance only won about 20% of the vote and seeing that like other globalist woke European leaders, the French president will not form a government with any party to the right of what looks like our Democrats.

Last week, about 100 presumably mostly Jewish French authors and academics, including the philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff and the historian Pascal Perrineau, took out space in leading French newspapers to warn against the inclusion of the Front in a future French government. In this grab bag of leftist factions, one finds advocates of imposing Sharia law in France, anti-Semites of the left, and supporters of Palestinian terrorists, some of whom have been active in France. The call among the signatories of the statement to “block the ascent of the union of the Left” is an exhortation to Macron’s government to find other coalition partners, which means, given the present choices, Le Pen and the RN.

American “conservative” journalists often illustrate a tendency that is common to the left, particularly when it comes to describing the European political spectrum. They seem to be immovably frozen in an interwar European frame of reference, in which the right is always made up of Nazis and Nazi collaborators, while the left and center-left are led by anti-fascists. The European right, it would seem, remains eternally tainted by association with the Nazis or the Vichy government, while European politicians who denounce “right-wing extremism” are supposedly our friends.

None of this makes sense, and in fact this polarization became increasingly irrelevant after World War II. This archaic perspective has produced a thoroughly grotesque picture of the long-overdue revolt in some Western European countries against anti-national, anti-Christian, globalist governments that are destroying European civilization, while opening the continent to terrorism and an Islamic takeover. While those who fear terrorists cheer for the Rassemblement National, some of our “conservatives” stupidly identify the same party with World War II Nazi collaborators. Quel dommage!

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Paul Gottfried

Paul Gottfried

Paul Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.