Great World Leaders: Sabine Herold of France
Posted by iusbvision on February 17, 2010
Editor’s Note – This post marks the beginning of a new series of articles here at IUSB Vision about great world leaders. Expect to see articles on Lech Walesa, Lady Thatcher, Dan Hannan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mikheil Saakashvili, Ronald Reagan, and more in the coming weeks.
Sabine Herold is the head of Liberté Chérie (liberty most-cherished), a (classic) liberal think tank in France. It’s far from the only libertarian organisation in France, but it is perhaps the most prominent… it functions like an information and PR centre for the promotion of the concept and philosophy of libertarianism.
Its first brush with fame came in 2004, during one of Paris’s predictable general strikes that paralysed the city. Liberté-Chérie called for a counter-demonstration, against the strikers. A little publicity was expected to draw perhaps a few thousand people—instead, 80,000 exasperated Parisiens arrived.
How many people become a leader in a think tank and in politics at such a young age? Hyper-intellect Sabine Herold has been called France’s new Marianne and the new Miss Thatcher. Many so called “intellectuals” consider themselves to be the “social darwin elite” born to rule and be society’s engineers. Herold has the wisdom to understand that economies are too massive to be central controlled and that less intrusive government, more freedom, personal restraint, combined with a geniune classic education, is the best way to ensure the most wealth and happiness for the greatest number of people.
Herold: We advocate freedom in France, and the Iraqis also should be free. They were not genetically created to be slaves. I think that when the people in France demonstrated against war, they didn’t want peace for the Iraqis — they wanted peace for themselves.
TA: I take it you don’t think the value of freedom is “culturally relative.”
Herold: No. Absolutely not! It’s a matter of human rights. I think human rights are more important than culture. To me, cultural relativism is just a way to justify when human rights are being violated.
TA: What do you find to be the greatest challenge to promoting liberty in France?
Herold: There are many things.
For one, the unions block any new reforms by going on the streets and demonstrating and blocking the whole country.
You also have the problem of a political class — people who have been in power for more than thirty years. For example, Jacques Chirac — he was a politician before I was even born. He has been living off the state longer than I’m alive. So, it’s crazy.
And all these people, they’re career politicians. But when you administrate a country, when you’re a politician, you should have a wider view, and I think no one today has that. Of the major parties in France, there’s the Socialist Party and the Union for a Popular Movement, both of which have produced nothing on an intellectual basis for more than twenty years.
So you can understand why French people become disinterested in politics. There are no ideas.
Herold: I’m in business school now, and I don’t know whether I want to go into politics or not. But one thing is for sure: I think you have no legitimacy going into politics when you have not worked in the private sector before. You can’t issue laws that will affect companies if you don’t know how a company works.
And I think you also need a knowledge of economy and political philosophy. You can’t just be a professional politician. It doesn’t make sense.