The Queen of new European conservatism?

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is a rising star of the French right. Lately, she's embraced a new breed of conservatism bringing together nationalism, statism, protection of the family and the environment in ways that can be appealing to many.

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
The Queen of new European conservatism? - NewsMavens
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

We are used to thinking that there are two big categories on the right of the political spectrum: the mainstream center-right (neoliberals usually, socially liberal) and the far-right. But a new form of conservatism is emerging and, in France, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is embracing it.

This new conservatism brings together the protection of the natural family -- opposing the extension of women's and LGBTQ rights, environmental protection, economic nationalism and protection of domestic workers coupled with rejection of immigration, and finally the promotion of a strong state that can ensure social protection for citizens.

It is a very organic and internally coherent conservative vision.

And a vision, as the yellow vest protests in France as well as other popular mobilizations across Europe and beyond show, that could be appealing to many. 

Details from the story:

  • Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, granddaughter of far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, gave an important speech earlier this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US (to an audience full of American conservatives). In a very intellectual speech, she addressed the ills of a society driven by individualism ('the reign of egoism') and which has turned its back on tradition. 
  • Her speech echoed the ideas of a new wave of young French conservative intellectuals whose ideas are becoming more influencial in France. Theirs is a very coherent vision, rooted in the history of continental conservatism, which rested on an organic conception of society -- Europe is a single Christian civilization composed of different nations with distinct languages and customs. These nations are composed of families, which are organisms, too, with differing but complementary roles and duties for mothers, fathers, and children. 
  • Nowadays, European civilization, societies, families are all under threat from both aggressive neo-liberalism and from aggressive liberalization of social norms which even erase distinctions between genders, argue these new conservatives. These French conservatives criticize uncontrolled fluidity in both its neoliberal and cosmopolitan (social value) forms.
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