It shouldn’t be surprising to see Marine Le Pen heap praise upon praise at the UK’s decision to Brexit the EU. The New York Times published a translated piece from the National Front leader, where she declares Brexit was just the latest in “the people’s spring” in hopes of grabbing up democracy.
Calls for referendums are ringing throughout the Continent. I myself have suggested to [French President Francois] Hollande that one such public consultation be held in France. He did not fail to turn me down. More and more, the destiny of the European Union resembles the destiny of the Soviet Union, which died from its own contradictions.
The People’s Spring is now inevitable! The only question left to ask is whether Europe is ready to rid itself of its illusions, or if the return to reason will come with suffering. I made my decision a long time ago: I chose France. I chose sovereign nations. I chose freedom.
Le Pen is right to a certain extent because the EU is a bureaucratic nightmare. It also cares nothing about republics or democracies. But Le Pen is not the right person to advocate these policies because of her party’s stances on public policy. FN is a proponent of nationalizing France’s industries and a strong welfare state. They’re also in favor of tax hikes, abortion, and a stronger security state.
Le Pen also has a little bit of a problem with timelines, specifically when it comes to the EU’s relationship with Greece. Via NYT:
When in 2015 Greece decided by referendum to reject Brussels’ austerity plans, the European Union’s antidemocratic response took no one by surprise: To deny the people’s will had become a habit. In a flash of honesty, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, unabashedly declared, “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.”
It’s true Juncker made the rather odious statement, but they weren’t after the 2015 Greece referendum on austerity. Juncker instead made the comments to Le Figero months earlier after Greece elected Alexis Tsipras as prime minister. Either Le Pen is forgetting her history or purposefully trying to mislead Americans reading about Brexit and the EU. Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan was much more honest in his own commentary on Juncker’s statement.
This doesn’t mean Brexit was bad or that the EU should stick around. Perhaps it’s the nature of politics where different factions get together to fight against a larger threat. There were a variety of reasons for colonists to fight against the British in the American Revolution. Britain and America teamed up with Russia to fight Nazi Germany (after Russia was stabbed in the back). The U.S. has supported dictators and strong men to fight off communists (with various degrees of success). The Gironde and La Montagne were originally part of the Jacobins Club before separating once the French Republic was created. It probably just depends on which faction wins and how much (if any) blood is shed.
The biggest issue for the freedom and liberty folk is what comes after the EU? How will the various nations deal with different ideologies, especially if one goes towards extreme statism, while the other prefers liberalism (the classical kind of free markets and free minds)? How will Russia react to this and will they try to create their own EU or Warsaw Pact? There are a ton of questions as to what comes next, especially with the poorer nations (like Greece) dealing with riots because of austerity. If “the people’s spring” turns violent, how will Le Pen (and her supporters) defend it, like others tried to do with the “Arab Spring”? The obvious solution for economic liberals (or libertarians) is to make sure they have the right people in place to direct policy and convince the public their stances are better than the authoritarians. It also means not sacrificing principles to get ahead. When that happens, nothing will win, except perhaps the power of the state.