In the news today it was announced that Marine Le Pen will be taking over the far-right French leadership. The so-called National Front party has been mired in controversy for years, but their leaders – notably her father, Jean Marie – look to prop Marine up as opposition to Sarkozy. I saw a disturbing headline linked to the AP article that said “Meet France’s Sarah Palin.” The link was dead, but the comparison was disturbing nonetheless. If Sarah Palin becomes a type of holocaust-denying, militant, unabashed jingoist with Nazi supporters, maybe – just maybe, the comparison would hold. Thankfully, Palin is not a far rightwinger in the European sense.
“Far right” in Europe means something much different than “far right” in America. I’ve discovered this bias amongst my friends when we talk about European politics.:
“Oh, Sarkozy is good, right? Kind of like a Republican?”
No! No! No! For the record: the right in Europe is the same side of a socialist coin. The only distinction between right and left in Europe is, crudely, nationalism versus pluralism. (Though it is incredibly redeeming that Sarkozy is more pro-American than his predecessors.) The only outliers seem to reside in Britain, the Czech Republic, and possibly Switzerland. Thankfully France has a number of political parties that dilute the craziest ones from taking control. (I mean, really, the biggest free-market advocate is the likely candidate for the Socialist Party!)