Orwell famously argued that controlling the past let you control the future, but now it often appears that controlling the past is an end in itself. When it comes to immigration policy, letting the future get out of control is a small price to pay to continue to control the past.
From the New York Times
For Marine Le Pen, Migration Is a Ready-Made IssueBy ADAM NOSSITER, OCT. 5, 2015AMIENS, France — At a recent campaign rally in this economically gloomy northern city, Marine Le Pen, the gravel-voiced leader of the far-right National Front party, barely mentioned the word migrant. But, then again, she did not have to.The supporters who turned out for her at the event here along the Somme river brought up their fear of migrants, unprompted. Ms. Le Pen’s presence alone seemed enough to evoke it. …Ms. Le Pen has worked hard to sanitize the National Front’s image, to the point of backing the expulsion of her blustering father in August from the party he founded 40 years ago in large part on strident opposition to immigration.But when it comes to the latest wave of migrants who have arrived in Europe fleeing war and poverty, her views are hardly distinguishable from those of her father. Makeover or not, it is the same old National Front. …“Maybe Mrs. Merkel thinks she will get a cheaper work force,” Ms. Le Pen said.For all Ms. Le Pen’s efforts to project a mainstream image for the National Front and break with its racist past, historians point out that an anti-immigrant stance was the party’s backbone from its origins in the early 1970s.The first posters highlighted hostility to migrants — “Two Million Unemployed is Two Million Immigrants Too Many!” reads one from 1978. “Immigrants weigh on the economic life of our country,” Jean-Marie Le Pen told an interviewer that year — words that could have come from his daughter.“Immigration was its central theme,” writes the historian Valérie Igounet about the National Front’s early days.“Rejection of immigration, this is what it is has been for more than 40 years,” Laurent Bouvet, a political scientist who specializes in the National Front, said in an interview. “There’s this side of them, a hierarchy of civilizations.”Ms. Le Pen’s supporters in the party — defensive about charges that she manipulates fear of foreigners — reject the accusation, without being asked.“People accuse us of playing on fears. It’s exactly the opposite,” said Hugues Sion, a departmental councilor who attended the rally here. “It’s not a question of fear. It’s the reality.”But on both points, Ms. Le Pen’s recent anti-immigrant initiative suggested the opposite. Manipulation of fear and of facts have appeared to shadow her words.In a recent radio interview, for instance, she claimed that among the Syrian migrants, “for the immense majority who are coming,” they were not fleeing the government of Bashar al-Assad, “because once again it is not Bashar al-Assad who is persecuting the Syrian people, it is Islamic State.”But most analysts suggest, as do interviews with the migrants, that government bombing campaigns are as much, if not more, to blame for the wave of refugees, than persecution by the Islamic State.
So, it’s better for Europe if the newcomers are more enemies of the secular regime than of ISIS?
“There is only a tiny minority of political refugees,” Ms. Le Pen claimed, saying that she “would fight” if her own country was at war — an irony since among the National Front’s important early founders were avowed Nazi collaborators.“In the coming years, we could be in the presence of the invasions that were lived through in the Fourth Century,” said Ms. Le Pen, referring to the Barbarian invasions of Western Europe.Those invasions largely targeted what is now France in the Fifth Century, historians say. But no matter, the point was made.