The French Center Holds -- In a World Coming Apart
"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold."
So wrote William Butler Yeats in the wake of the Great War of 1914-1918 that had ravaged the Christian civilization he had known.
In France on Sunday, the center held, as President Emmanuel Macron rolled up a crushing 59% to 41% victory in the runoff election against ethno-nationalist Marine Le Pen.
Four years ago, Le Pen got 34% in the runoff. And the highest vote that her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front, ever received was 18%. While Marine Le Pen lost Sunday, her positions continue to attract converts.
So terrified of Le Pen was the European establishment that before Sunday's election, the leaders of Spain, Portugal and Germany intervened in France's politics by imploring the French people to vote against her.
This runoff is "for us, not an election like any other," wrote German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Spanish Premier Pedro Sanchez in Le Monde.
France faces a "choice between a democratic candidate ... and a far-right candidate, who openly sides with those who attack our freedom and our democracy."
More than 4 in 10 French voted for the candidate the EU leaders had described as anti-democratic.
In the first round of voting, Le Pen, along with rabid leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon and the hard right's Eric Zemmour, who ran third and fourth, behind Le Pen, together carried 52%.
Thus did three of the top four candidates for the presidency of France, and a majority of the French nation, show support for an idea that all three of them shared -- hostility to NATO.