Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have advanced to the final round of the French presidential elections (to be held on May 7th). Her victory is almost certainly unattainable; nevertheless, she is the candidate that France needs today.
Libertarians, classical liberals, and other members of the liberty community who support her should not try to avoid or downplay her clear support for economic socialism and state intervention. We must simply come to terms with this portion of her policy platform (by agreeing to disagree) and support her in her quest to defeat Islamic terrorism, the Euro, and the European Union.
State socialism will not be deconstructed in France, even with the slightly more economically liberal Macron at the helm.
Deep opposition to economic reform by the public and push back from the National Assembly will thwart large portions of Macron’s liberalization policies. Even if Les Republicains (the center-right party more open to economic liberalization) were to win a legislative majority – a highly likely possibility after they retook the French Senate in 2014 from the Socialists – it would not guarantee Macron legislative muscle.
The party is deeply bitter towards him, as many feel that he robbed their party of the presidency, even though, in reality, it was Mr. Fillon’s own doing; because of this, however, cooperation will be hard fought.
While a President Macron would be struggling to implement economic reform, France would continue to face a national security crisis stemming from the many of terrorist attacks in recent years; attacks that have kept France in a state of emergency since 2015.
Macron has waved the proverbial white flag (so often associated with the French) in regards to terrorism. He has been quoted saying that terrorism shall be “part of our daily lives for years to come”.
He seems to have washed his hands of the issues of internal Islamic radicalization in France, and is also soft on border policy. Another issue that plays into the hands of Islamic terrorism, is the Banlieues: the poor migrant suburbs comprised of largely Islamic migrants and their first or second generation children and grandchildren, have been a hotbed for radicalization. By refusing to support the strengthening of French borders, Macron will allow for further influxes into the Banlieues exasperating the problem.
Macron is also in favor of the continuation of ceding sovereignty to the European Union; he is greatly sympathetic to the cause of EU federalism. He believes that the future of Europe lies in further political integration at the transnational level.
Such a man at the helm of France, one of the most influential members of the Union, will further cement Europe’s move to a continent-wide government; a move that Britain’s withdrawal from the union was just beginning to crack.
With the EU, comes the Euro.
The Euro, of which Macron is a great proponent, has done nothing in recent years but provide a means of contention between the nations of Europe.
Strong economies in the north like Germany, with its large trade surplus, are keeping the Euro too strong for the struggling economies of southern Europe. Nations like Italy and Greece, need a weak currency to help increase exports, and make their debt burdens more manageable. Yet, as long as the single currency remains, the north and south will continue to be deeply divided; with the success of one faction being the destruction of the other.
With the death of the Euro (an event that the election of Le Pen would not cause, but would certainly increase the likelihood of) and the reinstatement of national currencies, nations could individually craft monetary policy, through their central banks, that would be more suited to their nations’ current economic conditions, leaving everyone better off in the long run.
Even after the initial shock of a collapse of a currency, sometimes you simply must rip off the bandage fast and get it over with.
Under a President Le Pen we would not see large attempts at economic reform – a silver lining is that she is a pro-tax cut candidate – but not pro-spending cuts (which would balloon the national deficit).
However, we would see reforms to counter-terrorism efforts, and a border policy that would help France regain her stability. We would also see a massive blow dealt to the EU and the Euro.
These are goals that any member of the liberty community can get behind – the reinstatement of security for citizens and the decentralization of economic and political power.
We can only see these goals accomplished with Le Pen at the helm of the French state, not Macron – a mediocre moderate who, at best, can supply us with mediocre results.
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