The Corner


Le Pen Comes to America

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen at the Regional Council in Marseille, France, December 18, 2015 REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Impromptus today begins with “nationalism on the march” and ends with language — some happy vernacular. In between are Trump, Russia, Turkey, lizard spies (yes), and other things. The usual potpourri.

The notes on nationalism were sparked by a march over the weekend in Bulgaria — a march of an international, and unsavory, flavor. Several times, I have quoted Nigel Farage, who at a rally for Roy Moore spoke of a “whole global movement.” (He had come from campaigning for the AfD in Germany.)

What are the elements of the “movement”? Does the crowd in Sofia count? Etc.

After I wrote my column, news came that CPAC had invited Marion Le Pen to speak. She is a National Fronter, of course — the granddaughter of Jean-Marie, the niece of Marine. She is part of what I call “the Marine Corps.” I am not referring, in this context, to our sterling fighters, but rather to the movement of nationalists and populists of the Le Pen variety.

Last year, CPAC invited Milo Yiannopoulos. He is primarily an entertainer, it seems to me, where the Le Pen family is the real deal — to be taken seriously.

For years, there was a gulf between American conservatism and the European Right. Steadily, that gulf is closing, if it still exists at all. You recall that Steve King, the congressman from Iowa, said that he had met with Marine Le Pen to discuss their “shared values.”

Another man she shares values with is Putin, her financial patron.

Obviously, conservatism of the Reagan or Buckley variety is in the rearview mirror, where today’s American Right is concerned. (Some people try to jam red hats on Reagan and Buckley. They do not fit.) Buchananism-Trumpism is in the ascendant.

How far will we go in a European direction? Will American conservatism retain its exceptionalism, so to speak? This is a big, big question for the future, and for the present, actually. America may at last have a real Right: not a liberal-democratic conservatism, but the kind of Right they have long had in the Old Country. That would mark a helluva change.

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