In less than a week’s time, the European Union will face one the most dangerous threats to its survival in recent memory: the French presidential election. As of the most recent surveys, the election is effectively a four-way tie with all candidates polling within the margin of error. Two of those candidates, former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, are highly competent individuals who would serve the French people effectively and would advance the reforms France’s economy requires. The other two candidates, former senator Jean-Luc Melenchon and National Front leader Marine Le Pen, are utter buffoons whose mindless economic and foreign affairs views threaten the future of the western neoliberal order.
Although Mr. Fillon’s Thatcherite economic views align more with the thoughts of your correspondent, his lukewarm attitude towards the EU, an odd and apparent Russophilia, and his less than guaranteed second round prowess put him into a clear second behind the man who French citizens should elect — Mr. Macron.
To those unfamiliar with the election in France and its current state of affairs, the thought of placing the future of one of Europe's linchpins into the hands of a 39-year-old who has never run for, let alone held, an elected public office might seem errant. Yet, with the odd set of circumstances that lay before us, it is the only option that makes sense. Though he may have commendable neoliberal credentials, the most attractive thing about his candidacy, by far, is that he would rout Mr. Melenchon or Ms. Le Pen in the second round. Polls on a hypothetical Macron/Melenchon matchup have the former economy minister winning by close to 20 percent, and defeating the far right leader, Ms. Le Pen, by a similar margin.
The same cannot be said for Mr. Fillon. Although it appears he would eek out a victory against Ms. Le Pen, he would lose handily against Mr. Melenchon. For this reason, it is imperative that french citizens, who are neither nazi sympathizers nor soviet apologists, vote for the only sane candidate guaranteed to win in the second round, Emmanuel Macron.
It would be remiss to underestimate the potential calamity that could occur with the election of either Mr. Melchon or Ms. Le Pen. The National Front leader has promised to end all immigration to France, to institute something she, oxymoronically, calls “smart protectionism,” ban genetically modified organisms, bar foreign direct investment into any industry deemed “important,” and institute a host of illiberal policies that might even make Donald Trump shudder. Her policies, though cause for incredible worry, truly pale in comparison to the horrific results the election of Mr. Melenchon would produce.
The French Communist Party-backed candidate seeks to lower the working week to 32 hours, pull out from all free trade agreements, erect massive tariffs on foreign goods, “renegotiate” France’s relationship with the EU and hold a referendum on membership in the club. Along with these proposals, he would tax income above 400,000 euros a year at 100%. What he plans to do with those victims of armed robbery at the hands of his tyrannical government is something Mr. Melenchon has not yet clarified, but given his communistic creed, it is not hard to imagine the gulag has crossed his mind.
Though this may seem sensational, it is important to remember the history of this deadly ideology. Many in the media have rightly brought up, and should continue to highlight, the history of repugnant anti-Semitism and Hitler apologism of the National Front. Ms. Le Pen should never be able to speak without being reminded of the awful history of her party. Distressingly, the media has failed to hold Mr. Melenchon to the same standard. No ideology has caused more death and human suffering than communism. From the killing fields of Pol Pot's’ Cambodia, the gulags of Stalin’s Soviet Union, to every insufferable dictator in between — the estimates for those who have died at the hands of communism routinely reach into the hundred million range. How then it is possible to run for the leader of a free and prosperous nation while explicitly endorsing such a barbaric ideology is beyond the range of your correspondent’s comprehension.
Whether the birthplace of the enlightenment goes down the path of the far right or is enthralled in the pits of communism, is now up to the citizens of France. In a few days time, they will be faced with the stark decision of the future of not just their country, but of the future of the western-backed neoliberal order. For all those French citizens who are competent, sane, and fear the utter chaos of a Melenchon or Le Pen presidency, it is time to come together for the good of western civilization. Vote for the one candidate destined to beat them both — Emmanuel Macron.