From the traditional Catholic viewpoint news on several fronts during the first two weeks of 2019 was excellent even if all of it was not generated by practicing Catholics.
For instance: Jair Bolsonaro, inaugurated on January 1 as President of Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic nation, acted quickly and vigorously to keep his campaign promises to turn back decades of Marxist rule of the country and to end the corruption it fostered; Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Rally party (formerly the National Front) kicked off campaigns to elect candidates for seats in next May’s European Parliament elections with the goal of a nationalist/populist takeover of the globalist body; the “yellow vest” uprising in France, begun as a protest against increased fuel taxes, morphed into a movement to unseat globalist President Emmanuel Macron; at last a major religious figure, Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, warned against “falling into slavery” to smartphones and social media. Every time a person uses a smartphone “someone can know exactly where you are, know exactly what you are interested in, know exactly what you fear,” he said, and the centralized collection of such data could be used for world domination. It could even prepare the advent of Antichrist, he warned.
Perhaps the most important news during early January: a visit to Warsaw by Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to meet with the leadership of Poland’s governing Law and Justice party. He proposed to the Poles an Italy-Poland axis around which European nationalist/populist governments could form a replacement of the globalist Paris-Berlin duopoly that has dominated the EU since its inception. Viktor Orban immediately applauded Salvini’s initiative.
Salvini, who has been known to hold aloft a Bible and rosary when speaking in public, based his proposal on a ten-point program. The three key points: national borders secure against mass alien incursion; national economies secure from globalist corporate control; the safeguard of national culture and traditions.
All these and other recent developments, all indicative of a rightward political shift, and not simply in Europe, merit commentary. but we want to continue our discussion of the emergence of a new Catholic “far right” in France.
The only one of its young leaders who is known to any extent in the U.S. is Marion Marechal-Le Pen. She is the niece of Marine Le Pen and granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front. Elected to parliament in 2012 at the age of 22, she chose not to run for reelection in 2017. She became known in the U.S. when she was a featured speaker at last year’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference, following Vice President Pence to the podium. A line of her speech that I especially liked was her quotation of composer Gustav Mahler: “Tradition is not the cult of ashes; it is the transmission of fire.”
This notion of transmission, of the time it takes, of the long march, was at the heart of her speech. Listen to this: “Without the nation, without the family, without the limits of common sense, natural law and collective morality disappear as the reign of egoism continues. Today even children have become merchandise. We hear in public debates that we have the right to order a child from a catalogue, we have the right to rent a woman’s womb…. Is this the freedom we want? No. We don’t want the atomized world of individuals without gender, without fathers, without mothers, and without nations…. Our fight cannot take place in elections. We need to convey our ideas through the media, culture and education to stop the domination of liberals and socialists. We have to train leaders of tomorrow, those who have courage, the determination, and the skills to defend the interests of their people.”
Three months after her CPAC appearance Marion Marechal announced the opening in Lyons of the Institute of Social, Economic, and Political Sciences (I.S.S.E.P.) with the stated aim of displacing “our nomadic, globalized, deracinated liberal system.” Besides being a business school, it will offer great-book courses on philosophy. literature, history and rhetoric, and courses on “political and cultural combat.” Jacques de Guillebon, editor of L’Incorrect, is in charge of establishing the Institute’s curriculum.
Guillebon has written in his magazine: “We need a right that is revolutionary, identitarian and reactionary, capable of attracting the working and middle classes.”
It is on account of his talk of revolution and Marion Marechal aiming to “stop the domination of liberals and socialists,” that the political left brands them and the new politics they represent as “aggressive.” However, another strain of thought and action also mark the new politics. We might call them back-to-the-earth conservatives.
Their principal publication is Limite, described as “a journal of integral ecology.” In it you can read articles about couples moving from the city to a village, becoming involved in local parish life, schools, environmental activism, raising their children according to Christian standards — in short, becoming an example to the larger society of an alternative way of life. Their politics is akin to the Distributistism that Catholics associate with Chesterton and Belloc. They can also be likened to the Southern Agrarians of the 1930s in the U.S.
Speaking of them is also a way to segue into a discussion of the “yellow vest” movement and its significance. We’ll speak of that in the next installment of this article. Before then, it is important to address a question raised by a reader who posted it as a comment on the article’s first installment. The reader was interested in knowing if adherents of the new Catholic “far right” in France are “against the use of contraception. Are they having big families?”
There is no “far right” political party or movement in Europe that isn’t pro-natalist or that doesn’t implement pro-natalist policies when elected into power. For instance, the Hungarian government offers married couples with five children generous financial help to buy or build a house. Such pro-natalist policies work. Poland, which had the lowest birth-rate in Europe under Communism, now has the third-highest.
(To be continued)