It being a hundred years since 1914 I recently listened to an audio book of the World War I section of Golo Mann’s Deutsche Geschichte des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts. I was so enchanted by it that I quickly acquired and listened to the audiobooks of the rest of his history of modern Germany. Mann has a wonderful sense of the ironies and inconsistencies of human history. Although he himself has somewhat liberal tendencies he has great ability to sympathize with those with whom he disagrees. Witness his account of the Zentrumspartei that I have just posted to The Josias. Unlike most liberals he obviously studied Marx closely and learned much from him, but he does not reduce everything to economics, he takes religion, philosophy, music, and literature seriously, and argues that they are not mere ideological superstructure but have an actual effect on history.
In a recent post I wrote that I’m not an admire of leftist politics, but I’m not an admire of what passes for a politics of “the right” nowadays either. The sort of populist, quasi-Bonapartist nationalism espoused by parties like the Front National in France and the FPÖ in Austria is a bore. Nevertheless, I was sorry that Marine Le Pen went down in the first round of the French presidential elections on Sunday. Whatever her shortcomings, she is one of the very few European politicians who dares to say anything against abortion. Gallia Watch posted the following clip of Marine Le Pen being interviewed by a “feminist” journalist. The journalist suggests that it is ironic that while Le Pen’s career is only possible because of feminism, her platform is inimical to “feminist values”. “What feminist values?” asks Le Pen. Well, abortion rights for instance, answers the journalist. And then, as Galllia Watch puts it, “Marine gets angry”:
Just for that I wish that she had made it to the second round. By sheer chance I was in Paris during the first round of the 2002 election when Marine’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen made it into the second round with less votes than his daughter received on Sunday. But this time around the Front National was a victim of its own success; 2002 had an historically low turn out, since everyone just assumed that Chirac and Jospin would make it to the next round