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Which French Party Would You Vote For?
Update: My answers are now here.
Let’s take a break for a bit of mild amusement. My friend Arun has translated the questionnaire below, designed to see which French political party you should vote for, into English. As he notes:
[T]his is a multiple choice questionnaire developed six or seven years ago by former students at Sciences Po, to determine where one is situated on the French political spectrum. There are questions on twelve key issues, with some of the choices complex and only slight nuances of difference between them, so as to identify precisely which political party or current within a party—of a list of some 25—most closely articulates one’s views (and with a runner-up). So the algorithm is sophisticated. N.B. It does not speak to how one may actually vote, just which parties one is politically closest to. The test’s satisfaction level has been very high (see ‘Les taux de satisfaction’ tab), particularly for those supporting the major parties of government.
Here are the rules. You’re on the honor system:
- Don’t click on Arun’s site until you’ve taken the test (so you don’t prejudice yourself), and — although his comments are very interesting — don’t write anything about what he says until tomorrow, after everyone’s had the chance to take the test and come up with their own thoughts about what they think their score might mean.
- Take the test before reading anyone else’s comments and before seeing how everyone else did.
- Answer the questions, as much as possible, based on your own political principles, instead of trying to second-guess what you might think if you were French.
- Be honest about your results, even if they surprise you. It’s fine — encouraged, even — to speculate about why they were or weren’t what you expected, but again, take the test before reading everyone else’s results and before reading their thoughts about why they scored the way they did!
- Were you surprised? If so, why? Why do you think you scored the way you expected to, or why do you think you came up with a surprising result?
- I’ll tell you my results, why I think I got them, and what I think that means, tomorrow.
Here’s the translation from Arun’s website. (Remember, take the test first before clicking on that link. Ideally, don’t look at his site at all until after you’ve reported your results and speculated about why you scored the way you did — it’s not apt to influence you hugely, but it may prejudice you a bit. And we’ll talk about his hypotheses tomorrow, not today.) Some of the questions may have more than one answer that seems right to you; just pick the statement with which you most strongly agree.
TAXES (1 /12)
1. There should be a tax cut for everyone when government has the means to do so and a tax increase for everyone when this is necessary.
2. There should be an across-the-board tax cut to enable business and individuals to invest more money in the economy and in order to create more jobs.
3. There should be a tax cut for lower-income persons and a tax increase for the rich or on business, in the interest of social solidarity and to finance public services.
GLOBALIZATION (2 / 12)
1. Globalization should be regulated. International institutions (or even national governments) should impose rules to better protect the rights of working people, the environment, and sensitive sectors of the economies of each country (for example, agriculture or culture).
2. All customs barriers should be abolished, as well as subsidies and national regulations that distort competition, so that competition between firms throughout the world may take place in all areas and without impediment. It is by these means that optimal economic efficiency will be realized and which will be in the interest of all.
3. Globalization can be an opportunity. It enables firms to find new markets. Jobs that are lost due to outsourcing and plant closings are generally compensated for by those that are created elsewhere in the economy, which are higher skilled and raise living standards. But government should help those who lose out due to globalization.
4. Globalization of the economy aggravates the exploitation and pollution of poor countries, and brings about outsourcing and plant closings that destroy jobs in rich countries. International institutions that are truly democratic should protect the rights of people (and not multinationals). The profits of business that are generated by globalization should be taxed in order to help poor countries develop.
5. Globalization is an opportunity, as the opening up of borders gives firms access to new markets and which enables them to create jobs. “Barriers” that prevent goods and services from circulating freely should thus be brought down. But in order for national firms to fully benefit from this, they should be freed to the utmost from regulatory constraints that place them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis foreign competitors.
POVERTY AND EXCLUSION (3 / 12)
1. Rather than having people depend too much on public assistance (or in tempting them to profit from the system) they should be made responsible [for their own fate], so they will depend more on themselves and less on government in order to get out of the situation they find themselves in.
2. Government should come to the aid of the poorest members of society, though they should not become too dependent on government.
3. Government should do what is necessary so that each person receives what he or she needs to live decently.
PUBLIC SERVICES AND THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT (4 / 12)
1. Government should focus its efforts on the principal missions of public service and share other missions with the private sector (such as health insurance, postal service, universities…), in order to lower their cost and increase efficiency.
2. Public sector employment should be increased and with much more money allocated to public services, so that each user, whatever his or her means, has access to quality public services (health, education, culture, water, energy, communication, public transportation…). Public services have a social mission and must not seek to make a profit.
3. All public services have a social mission—not to leave anyone by the wayside—that private enterprise cannot assume. They should have sufficient means to serve the public, but government should also seek to make them more efficient.
4. To ensure their mission but without representing too heavy a burden for government, public services should become both more efficient and less costly. Some of them (the postal service or rail transport, for example) can be made to compete with private firms and even be partially privatized (though where government maintains majority control), which will motivate public services to improve.
5. Government should focus only on its three veritable missions, which are the police, justice, and national defense. All the rest can be given over to the private sector, whose methods of management are much more efficient.
BUSINESS (5 / 12)
1. Laws benefiting working people (e.g. health care, pensions, collective bargaining, paid vacations and maternity leave) should be imposed on business, and indemnities paid to laid off employees by profitable companies should be increased.
2. Government should give business total freedom by doing away with the various taxes and regulations that impose handicaps on their development.
3. Priority should be given to aiding small business, by lowering their taxes and lessening regulations, and government should not interfere in labor-management relations.
4. The profits of companies should benefit employees before they do shareholders. Moreover, there should be a law that forbids mass layoffs by profitable companies, under penalty of being requisitioned by the state and to the benefit of the employees.
5. The tax burden on business should be lessened and regulations reduced, so that companies will create more jobs and be more competitive.
RELIGION (6 / 12)
1. Whether or not one is religiously observant, one must not neglect the moral values conveyed by religion.
2. One must tolerate all types of religious practices so long as they are freely consented to, even when they may be shocking to some.
3. Religious morality should be combated, as it prevents people from living and thinking freely.
4. Religion may sometimes be incompatible with personal freedom but it can, at the same time, offer answers to the profound questions of human existence.
5. The message of religion is primordial, as it helps us distinguish good from bad in our lives.
HOMOSEXUALITY (7 /12)
1. LGBT parenting should be recognized, with gay couples enjoying the same rights as heterosexual couples, and who should be able to openly live their homosexuality as they wish.
2. Homosexuality is dangerous for society. Anything that encourages it should be opposed.
3. The attitude of society toward gays needs to change so as to do away with discrimination that they may be subjected to, but gay marriage should not be authorized nor should gay couples be allowed to adopt children.
4. There should be total equality of rights for gays, who should be able to live normally, marry, and adopt and raise children.
5. If homosexuality in itself does not pose a problem, it may do so when it is openly displayed. The traditional couple—with a father and a mother raising children—should be defended.
ABORTION (8 / 12)
1. The right of abortion should be guaranteed but women should also be made aware that abortion is not a trivial act.
2. Women should be able to have abortions but only in cases of rape or if their health in is danger.
3. The right of women to freely have abortions must be defended.
4. Abortion should be illegal. To abort an unborn child is a crime.
DRUGS (9 / 12)
1. The legalization of cannabis would be a serious error. The use of all drugs must be opposed.
2. Soft drugs should be legalized. The consumption of hard drugs should be decriminalized.
3. Cannabis should be legalized, though, as with alcohol, it should be consumed only in moderation.
4. The issue of drugs is complex; the viewpoints of specialists should be accorded particular consideration.
DELINQUENCY/CRIME (10 / 12)
1. Each person is responsible for his or her acts and has it within his or her power to decide not to engage in delinquency. To deter people from committing delinquent acts, the punishment they risk should be truly dissuasive (i.e. sufficiently severe).
2. Delinquency often develops in difficult contexts (unemployment, ghettos, family problems, difficulties in integrating into society…) but context does not explain everything. In order to effectively counter delinquency the right balance between dissuasive punishment and preventive measures (i.e. getting at the causes) should be sought.
3. Delinquency is above all the result of difficult contexts (unemployment, ghettos, family problems, difficulties in integrating into society…). In order to obtain lasting results in countering delinquency, tackling its causes should be given priority.
VOTING RIGHTS AND NATIONALITY (11 / 12)
1. All foreigners who have lived in France for a long time, regardless of where they come from, should have the right to vote at least in local elections. The acquisition of French citizenship should also be facilitated for them.
2. Only French citizens should have the right to vote, and, except in special cases, one cannot be French without having at least one French parent. The mere fact of having been born in France should not lead to the automatic acquisition of French citizenship.
3. Only French citizens should have the right to vote. All persons who were born in France and live here, whatever their origin, should have French citizenship.
4. All foreigners resident in France should have the right to vote, whatever their nationality.
5. Only French citizens should have the right to vote. The only immigrants who should be able to become French citizens are those who have demonstrated their attachment to France in making an effort to integrate, and who have applied for French citizenship on their own volition (and including children born in France to foreign non-naturalized parents).
IMMIGRATION (12 / 12)
1. Integration works when immigrants feel that they not only have rights but also responsibilities. It is also important to fight against illegal immigration.
2. Problems linked to immigration do not come from immigrants themselves but rather from the various contexts (economic, social, historic…) in which immigration occurs. The first order of business is to make sure the rights of immigrants are respected, whether the immigrants are legal or not.
3. To facilitate the integration of immigrants it is necessary to fight against unemployment—which hinders their integration—and to make sure that the rights of immigrants are respected in countering discrimination of which they may be victims.
4. In order for the integration of immigrants to succeed they must not suffer from discrimination but, at the same time, they should respect the values of the host country.
5. Some immigrants will always remain foreigners. They should therefore return to their home countries, for our good and for theirs.
OPTIONAL QUESTION — THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU IN FEELING CLOSE TO A PARTY OR POLITICAL PERSONALITY IS SHARING THE SAME CONVICTIONS ON:
1. Economic issues.
2. Social and moral issues.
3. The idea one has of France, Europe, or the world.
4. None of these in particular.
OTHER ISSUES NOT MENTIONED IN THE PRECEDING LIST:
1. Defense of the environment, and particularly ending nuclear power.
2. Defense of rural life.
3. Defense of republican equality (i.e., refusing special treatment based on the specificities of regions or individuals, such as Corsica, homosexuals, those who practice such and such a religion, etc).
4. None of these in particular.
Have fun! I’ll refrain from weighing except in response to specific, factual questions, or problems of translation, until tomorrow — so that I don’t prejudice anyone’s answers or thoughts about their results.
And a bonus for those of you studying French, or interested in French politics …Published in General
It’s being reported here, too — and it looks as if the French are livid, but trying to be diplomatic about it. (I don’t know this: It just seems that way from the French diplomats’ Twitter accounts I follow.) Italy doesn’t surprise me. Moscow’s got them in their pocket and has for a while. Germany, though — that surprises me. I should probably try to learn more before shooting my mouth off about why, but a few theories come to mind: 1) They may be sincere in saying that they can’t sign off on this before the forensic tests have been conducted and their results are shown to be unequivocal — trust in the Trump Administration is pretty epically low in Germany right now, especially after Trump refused to shake Merkel’s hand on her visit and shot his mouth off about Germany’s “unpaid bills” afterward — also, Germany tends to be very letter-of-the-law about these things, especially after we got burned on the Iraq WMDs; 2) They may be worried we have no strategy and no plan for follow-through, so they’re scared to get on the bandwagon; 3) They may believe the Trump Administration’s connections to Putin are sufficiently weird and worrisome that they’re just not sure what’s going on and whether it’s safe to get on board with a plan that will make Putin livid; 4) There’s a significant pro-Putin camp in Germany that Merkel may be afraid to anger before the election. But I’m truly just speculating off the top of my head. It’s a good question, and I wish I could be more helpful.
Italy’s easy though: Moscow’s bought them off. On that, I’m confident.
Are the French generally more concerned about Russian power or German power? I’d expect that history and proximity would make them more concerned with Germany’s growing economic and political influence than about Russian imperialism or meddling in the Middle East.
I’m not saying that’s what they should be worried about. But Steyn’s recent remark that the EU was created to contain Germany and has instead empowered Germany is still rattling in my head.
Deep down, at a primordial level, I think they’re still more concerned about German power, and always will be, whether or not it’s rational. Some experiences just can’t ever be put to rest. When you talk about the French birth rate — with which people here are obsessed — people often smile with shy pride and say, “We’re beating Germany!” It never occurs to them to say, “We’re having more babies than Russia.”
France is very divided now between its Atlanticists and its Putinists. This election will be decisive.
Update: I meant to post today about what Arun thinks the quiz means and what I think it means, but I’m late on a deadline, and I haven’t got to it yet, which means I probably won’t by bedtime tonight. I think everyone’s had a chance to take it though, so if anyone wants to comment on Arun’s interpretation, go for it — I think his observations are pretty much right on, especially the parts I’ve marked in bold:
So one of the points I’d make if I had the time to make it — and it seems I’m going to make it anyway — is that the impression many Americans have of France being socialist in the sense that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was socialist is just way off base: The socialist party here is really very close to the mainstream wing (not the far-left wing) of the Democrat Party. And there are many parties here in which a conservative in the US would feel at home, including a number described as “centrist.” France is — this is the main point I would have made if I hadn’t been on a deadline — a lot more conservative than people think, partly because the word “socialist” throws them, and partly because the French left is so loud and so popular in the US. Way more than it is, in fact, in France.
Also, as I expected, not many of us found ourselves naturally in the National Front camp. (I honestly don’t know how two of you did, because you basically have to want the state to take care of everything, and you’ve got to believe in things that no normal American believes to wind up in that camp. For example, that under no circumstances should you be able to become a French citizen unless you have one French parent. That would rule out citizenship for someone born and raised and completely integrated in France, with no other country at all — someone who’s served in the military, even — but who happened to have, say, Portuguese immigrant parents. Maybe there’s some permutation of answers to the other questions that can get you into that camp, but I played around with it a bit and couldn’t figure out what it was. (It’s possible that choosing “defense of rural life” above all other issues gets you there, but I can’t imagine that warming the hearts of American conservatives more than answers (3) or (4) to that question).
The final thing I would have said if I weren’t doing the work I’m supposed to do, instead of procrastinating by having fun on Ricochet, is that the test was written way before this election, and thus didn’t have a few questions that might have moved many of you more sharply away from the LR candidate this year (Fillon). I bet for most of you the attitude the candidate has toward the United States would be pretty decisive. Fillon is, regrettably, very close to Putin, and short of Le Pen (who’s Putin’s girl, 100 percent), he’s the candidate — or at least, the only candidate with any chance of winning — least favorable to the US and closest to Russia. He talks about taking a strong stand against “American imperialism” and uses other weirdly anachronistic locutions to describe the US position in the world, and I’m sure he’d be a complete pain in the tuchus to us.
So I wouldn’t vote for him, if I had the vote, unless the only alternative were Le Pen — which I very much hope it won’t be, but it might. Especially since, sadly, we learned after the primaries (when it was too late) that Fillon is corrupt as the day is long. This was deeply disappointing (and genuinely shocking). Even though he’s wobbly to the point of dangerous on foreign policy, I did like his economic proposals, and thought they’d do the country a world of good. I also liked (what I thought was) his stature as a serious, dignified politician from a traditional French Catholic background, one with the experience and gravitas suitable for the Presidency.
And, well, one final thing: I confess that I like the French electoral system, with its broad spectrum of parties and its two-round vote runoffs. I think it — well, I’m not a traitor, our Constitution is the absolute bestest — but I think it has some advantages (for a second-rate, foreign constitution, that is). It does a good job of giving a voice to people who’d have nowhere to go in the US two-party system. This year is, of course, very unusual because we might even see a runoff between two candidates from parties that have never held power before. But that this can happen shows the way that this system can be a bit more responsive — in a healthy way, I think — to people’s concerns, while also ensuring the very low likelihood that a malignant figure like Le Pen (père or fille) could actually end up winning.
And since I’ve written off getting anything done for the evening, I may as well say: Even though I too fall under the “liberal-wing Républicain” penumbra, I’m close enough to the French center that if I had the vote, I’d vote for Macron. He’s pro-American, he doesn’t shoot his mouth off about France not being responsible for the Vel d’hiv (the piece I should be writing now is about that comment and just how sinister it is in the context of the National Front’s history), and he seems to understand, basically, that France just has to liberalize its labor market, cut spending, and lower taxes. I also think he’d work well with Merkel to reform the EU without destroying it, which is a subject for another post — and that one, really, has to wait for another day.
A nice Macron moment:
He reminded me (just a little) of Thatcher there …
Update: I just realized there are no subtitles on that clip. If anyone feels like trying to translate it as a French homework exercise, I’ll correct it (not you John W., you don’t need homework). Otherwise, I’ll translate it later today. Sorry I didn’t spot that before I posted it!
I’d vote for Le Pen just on immigration and the EU alone. If all she did was those two things she would be a massive success.
Some might choose this because of the latter condition, rather than the former. Survey options with multiple parts are often measured in parts.
If a respondent likes partB (no anchor babies) but is less sympathetic to partA (French parents), then as a whole this option might be weighed against another which is likewise a combination of conditions. If the favored part of one option is preferred to the favored part of another, then an option might be chosen despite the less agreeable part the primary interest is carrying.
Also, all political questions are loaded. Behind every answer is a perception of context. A respondent likely suspects assumptions surrounding the stated option, so his or her choice reflects not just the stated proposal but related concerns.
Surveys are guides, never conclusions.
There are pictures – multiple pictures in multiple places – of Trump shaking Merkel’s hand during the visit. Google “trump shaking merkel’s hand” – I dare you. Prepare for your self-created world to crash around you, though.
Nobody knows why why he didn’t shake her hand that one time, but it doesn’t stop people like you from blaming everything everywhere in Europe on that one moment, every chance you get.
Like my mother used to say, “If you go looking for a reason to dislike someone, you’ll always find it, because people are human.”
When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home. — Sir Winston Churchill
My experience in France and with the French has been that they still hate the Germans. Well they don’t really like anyone who isn’t French, ha, but they reserve a special dislike for “les Boches.”
Should he shake her hand for bringing terrorists to Europe? She got what she deserved IE. Humiliation.
Did you really find that? When and where were you here? I don’t sense that at all anymore from the French, especially the younger ones. It might be because I speak French, but I’ve also seen them go out of their way to try to speak English and other foreign languages to guests. Paris is the world’s number-one tourist attraction, so they just can’t afford to be rude to the people who make this city’s economy hum. I wrote about this for City Journal a while back — I think the French have been much-maligned, awfully unfairly, on this score. They try very hard, and they’re very curious about other people and cultures.
It may be a generational thing. If you get out in the countryside, they’re even nicer, as small towns everywhere tend to be.
I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but I’d encourage you to try again: You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much it’s changed.
I went to boarding school in France for a brief time as a teenager, and worked for Air France for 11 years, during which I went there all the time. I honeymooned in Paris and the Riviera. In addition, I spent a summer in college traveling around Europe but mostly staying in France. I had so many rude encounters I lost count, but I have to admit they mostly happened in Paris. Especially the shop girls. I remember one of them was so awful to me (and I speak fluent French, and often French people thought I was French) that I finally thought to myself, “Wait a second! I’m the customer here!” I haven’t been back in years, though, so maybe it’s changed.
And I wrote about my rude (yet comical) French waiter in a post, I forget which one. I ordered a Pepsi with my seafood dinner and he gave me a lecture on white wine and the atrocity I was about to commit on my palate haha. It felt rude at the time, but it makes me laugh now.
It has! Come back and see! You’ll be really surprised.
Oh, that’s not rude! That’s the waiter trying to be helpful. Genuinely. If you didn’t get a lecture about which wine would go best with your meal, that would be rude. It would suggest he didn’t care about your eating pleasure. He really wanted you to have the experience that he believed would show off the seafood and wine menu to maximum advantage and give you the best possible gustatory enjoyment.
Yes, it does sound like that on paper! In person, he had an unpleasant tone and look on his face. I don’t drink very often because I get drunk instantly and wine gives me a headache, so this wasn’t the first time I did something so gauche. I should be used to it.
Anyway, you are a great ambassador for France, and I still love it so much.
In Texas, the complaint would have been that it was Pepsi and not Coke.
Fixed that for you.
I finally remembered to do this and I got Fillon and the Republicans.
That will do it. Tone is more important than the actual words every time. I’m sorry that happened, and I still say — along with many people here, you’ve probably noticed! — that it has really, noticeably changed. Come back!
Oh I intend to! It’s been weird going from several trips a year to France down to zero. But ever since 9/11, flying has lost a lot of its appeal.
Hasn’t it, though. I dread every flight — the lines, the crowding, taking off my shoes and taking out my computer, the whole ritual.
I know! The last time I flew, they searched my ponytail. Must be my shifty eyes.
Maybe they had a crush on you. Isn’t that what boys do in school, pull your ponytail when they like you?
You need an inkwell, if you’re into the classics.
I just can’t imagine what contraband they thought they’d find.
Jane Bond, or Mrs. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang