For those unaware, Kyle Kulinski is an American political pundit who hosts the progressive online radio show Secular Talk. Now, I don’t typically write these kinds of “Response” pieces, however, considering the fact that I happen to be a fan of Kyle, and generally happen to agree with his views, I feel it appropriate to make this short post concerning a recent segment he made on the French Presidential election.
As far as American politics are concerned, Kyle is firmly on the left of their political spectrum. He supported Bernie Sanders in last year’s US election and is currently involved in Justice Democrats, a movement aimed at kicking out of the Democratic Party the sorts of people that vote against lowering drug prices for their constituents while sucking up to Middle-Eastern despots. Pretty fair stuff.
Now, as far as that aforementioned segment on France is concerned, Kulinski expressed regret that their next President will be either a “Far-Right Neofascist” (Le Pen) or an “Uber-Capitalist disaster” (Macron). Frankly, this took me somewhat by surprise, because Kyle is far from oblivious to the fact that what constitutes as left and right in Europe is somewhat radically different to how that spectrum is viewed in the United States. In fact, while often using Nordic and Western European countries as examples of sensible Social Democracy, he previously stated that had he lived in Europe, his political alignment would be somewhat close to their relative centre.
For those who know a decent bit about politics, that makes complete sense. The “Political Revolution” which Bernie Sanders campaigned for was first and foremost a fight for free universities, getting corporate money out of campaigns, and universal healthcare. In that case… mission accomplished! All three of those things are a fact of life in the French Republic and are not in any way on Macron’s chopping block.
As far as Europe goes, France is among the most left-leaning nations on the continent, meaning that a Centrist such as Macron over there would likely be viewed as a nutjob radical in America – since a great deal of that country still presumes that anyone to the left of Mussolini is obviously a Communist.
There was a candidate distinctly to the left of Macron in the first round of the French election, and Kyle does mention him as someone he would be likely to endorse. Now, I’m going to give Kulinski the benifit of the doubt and assume he doesn’t know that Jean-Luc Melenchon wants to slap a 100% income tax on those earning a little over 300,000 Euros. If he does, well, then maybe he doesn’t quite know where the centre-ground of European politics actually lies.
France is a nation in dire need of economic reform, and Macron’s candidacy ensures that the person delivering that reform will not instead be Francios Fillon, a man often cited as the French version of Margaret Thatcher. Modern France actually makes a rather good comparison to 1980s Britian – a nation in dire need of economic overhaul, but also one whose ultra-powerful unions fight every attempt at reform by grinding the country to a standstill; reforms which, by the way, are often attempted by its left-wing governments. Hopefully, in Macron, the French finally have someone with the guts to push a reformist agenda through, while doing so in a way which avoids gutting their public services (as happened in Thatcher’s Britain). French Presidents have made such promises for decades, only to succumb to strikes and unrest, but here’s hoping for the best.
Anyway, if you end up reading this, Kyle, I hope you can see that a Centrist in France is not nessesarily the same as Hillary Clinton.