By Antoine Humbert
On Monday, the association Think Liberal’s theme week started with an event co-organized with Revolte-Toi and Politiqu’elles on whether or not Feminism is compatible with liberalism. We have interviewed Yann Le Meillour, president of Think Liberal in order to explain the group’s focus and purpose.
How would you describe Think Liberal in a few words?
Think Liberal is a non-partisan association with French and foreign members with different political and social backgrounds. It is a subsidiary of the Paris campus’ chapter of Think Liberal, which is itself embodied in a larger organization at the European level called “Students for Liberty.” We are aiming at promoting liberalism but also at challenging what liberalism means. We really want to develop its different approaches. Last year we mainly focused on the economic side but this year we wish to widen what is liberalism towards social issues. For instance on drug legalization, the end of life question and so on. We hope students to really reflect on these issues and not only suffer the usual stereotypes on liberalism.
As the president of the Association, how would you describe what is Think Liberal looking for vis-a-vis the other students?
We really want to make them think about the term “liberal,” which can have various meanings. If you take liberalism in the US for instance it means left-wing people, in France liberal is associated to right wing and economic policies, etc. We want them to understand how this term differs and how it can be applied in our everyday life. I believe that at Sciences Po, people in general believe they are liberal in a way but this is according to the very strict definition. We want to go further and make them really understand what to be liberal means.
You have launched this week your first big events within the Liberal Week, what else are you planning to organize in the upcoming months?
For this week, we have invited an En Marche representant to discuss Macron’s reforms, but we are also planning on inviting Hervé Mariton, a former MP from Les Républicains, to discuss on what is the future of liberalism for Les Républicains. Even though we are a non-partisan association, we’ll have this political approach. We are also planning on organizing a big event on the issue of open borders, the issue of Immigration as it is at the core of liberal debate. They are many different views on it, for example the libertarian one claiming to open all borders. We hope to invite scholars to defend this view but also to contrast it with for instance a French right-wing MP from the South of France to discuss the genuine reality of migrants. We must keep in mind the reality to nuance our liberal view as I’ve personally experienced it in my birth town (ndlr. Lorient) where liberalism is challenged by many due to the European regulations affecting fishermen and others.
In your opinion, is Macron the ‘ideal’ Liberal president?
Macron was considered as the new liberal paradigm in France. An interesting article from Generation Liberal (one of our partners) is about creating the perfect French liberal president, and in fact, this ‘ideal’ president would take bits from every candidates of last election to reach this liberal perfection. Hence, we cannot say that Macron is the perfect Liberal president as we’ve seen for example with the STX case [where France nationalized a shipyard to preempt a sale to Italian owners]. This is why we want to broaden our view as liberalism is not only about economy but it takes in account many other variables.
Featured image: Logo of “Think Liberal Sciences Po”. Source: Facebook.