Friday, June 26, 2020

The French Revolution Redux

How’s your knowledge of history? Is it any better than that of New York Times editors?

OK, I realize that that is not a very high hurdle to clear, because Times staffers already mounted an insurrection over a Sen. Tom Cotton op-ed. They managed to make the company president eat his words. They got the editorial page editor fired.

The issue arose when Sen. Lindsey Graham pointed out that today’s Democratic Party is in thrall to the radical left-- please do yourself a favor and stop calling it progressive.

When Rep. Eliot Engel a thirty year Congressman from Queens lost a primary to an anti-Semitic crackpot called Jamaal Bowman, Graham posited that the Jacobin left had taken over the Democratic Party. For the record, Bowman attacked Engel for being pro-Israeli. In today’s Democratic Party it’s the kiss of death. 

Jews who are supporting Black Lives Matter are in serious need of a brain transplant.

Anyway, Graham wrote this, via Tyler O'Neil:

It appears the French Revolution has now come to the Democratic Party based on initial primary results from New York and Kentucky. If you had any doubts about who is in charge of the Democratic Party ALL doubts should have been removed…

Every elected Democrat in office, and every Democrat running for office, lives in fear of the mob and The Squad. The idea of working with President [Trump] to accomplish objectives to help America is a one way ticket to political exile…. The Democrat Party will be held captive by the most radical political mob in modern American history. Their power and electoral success appears to be growing day by day.

For those who have forgotten their history the Jacobin Party was the most radical part of the political movement that followed the 1789 overthrow of the regime.

Anyway, Graham’s remarks were certainly colorful, but calling out America-hating radical leftists does not seem like an exaggeration.

Consider the New York Times. Tyler O’Neil reminds us that the Times’ revisionist history of the United States laid the groundwork for hating the country:

The lawlessness and mob rule across America arguably represents the victory of The New York Times‘s “1619 Project” and its attempt to convince Americans that the true founding of this nation did not come with the Declaration of Independence in 1776 but with the arrival of the first black slaves in 1619. The narrative of America as a racist, sexist, classist, heteronormative force of oppression helps propel AOC’s movement, the riots, and the iconoclasts.

For promoting this slander the Times won a Pulitzer Prize.

But then, a New York Times editor, by name of Don Saltzstein, took grievous offense at the Graham analogy:

The French Revolution, you say? In which rising social and economic inequality led to a democratic overthrow of a monarchy and the establishment of a republic? That French Revolution? 

Not to be outdone in stupid, a Vox writer offered her ill-informed views:

Vox writer Katelyn Burns suggested the French Revolution (1789-1815) was a “forebear” for the American Revolution (1776-1783). [She wrote] “Ah yes, the infamous French Revolution, which overthrew an out of touch royalty and aristocracy out of power to install an American style democracy."

It was slightly embarrassing to see that Burns did not know that the American Revolution predated its French counterpart, so the tweet was deleted.

And James Gleick, notable writer about science stood tall and proud for the madness called the French Revolution:

Is Lindsey aware that the French Revolution, inspired by the American Revolution a few years earlier, toppled an authoritarian regime in the name of equality and natural rights? Liberté, fraternité, égalité, Lindsey!

For the record, if you ask serious French intellectuals they will tell you, with a straight face, that the French rabble stormed the Bastille prison and released the inmates because the authoritarian monarchy had locked up a man by the name of the Marquis de Sade. Why did it imprison de Sade? Well, he had been drugging and raping women. 

No kidding. The same French intellectuals who were defending notable self-proclaimed pedophile, Gabriel Matzneff, more recently, had previously been defending a serial rapist. Why were they doing so? Because they thought that the French Revolution was about liberating libido-- consent be damned.

Among those of greater mental capacity psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan once opined that the only freedom granted by the French Revolution was the freedom to starve.

Anyway, the French Revolution quickly led to a Reign of Terror in 1793. After the economy collapsed, Napoleon took over and produced endless warfare across the European continent. Eventually, France brought back the monarchy.

O’Neil explains:

For those who might not be aware, the French Revolution devolved into a Reign of Terror (September 1973-July 1974) under the Jacobin leader Maximilien Robespierre. After the revolutionaries beheaded King Louis XVI in 1793, the squabbling factions began executing nobles, priests, and eventually revolutionaries who disagreed with them. Robespierre himself infamously found his own head chopped off after he led this terror in the name of republican “virtue.”

Under Robespierre during the Reign of Terror, France renamed the months of the year, swapped the 7-day week for a 10-day week, and murdered hundreds of priests in an attempt to wipe out Catholic Christianity in France and replace it with the Cult of the Supreme Being. Ironically, the revolutionaries cut off the heads of kings on the Notre Dame Cathedral, thinking they were the kings of France — when they were really the biblical kings of Judah.

Ultimately, the French Revolution failed. Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself emperor in 1804, conquered large swaths of Europe, and then lost the definitive Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The victorious allies installed a new king, Louis XVIII.

Anyway, Saltzstein, good Timesman that he is, declared that of course he understood perfectly what happened during the French Revolution. He just wanted to trash Lindsey Graham. And who cares about facts when you are trashing Lindsey Graham.

O’Neil concludes:

If Saltzstein knew about the trajectory of the French Revolution, as he now claims, why did he initially defend it? Could it be that some leftists are inspired by the French Revolution, Reign of Terror included? The proto-Communists in the Paris Commune were, and Karl Marx hailed the Paris Commune as a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” Rioters have burned churches and the City of Birmingham, Ala., canceled a church’s lease because the pastor had “liked” supposedly offensive tweets.

The mob rule spreading across America certainly does echo the Reign of Terror, and now is not the time to be defending the French Revolution. Let’s not forget: the American Revolution was far better, though it was hardly a “revolution” at all.


whitney said...

Not that I want to be fair to a New York Times Reporter but that's what I was taught in high school. I remember being confused by it because the French Revolution was all good good good but then there with his Guillotine phase that they mentioned a few times but we just sort of glossed over. At the time I didn't really care about history so I didn't look into it but I remember the disconnect. The ignorance is intentional.

JPL17 said...

The French Revolution in a nutshell:

"Liberté, fraternité, égalité. Pick one."

Anonymous said...

Did they mention the thousands in the Vendee executed as well? That part usually gets left out because indiscriminate killing of men, women and children doesn't reflect well on the liberal values of the revolutionaries.

Giordano Bruno said...

Burke is excellent on the French Revolution. I enjoy Simon Shama's account as well. It was a catastrophe and a farce; it stands as a testament to human vanity and foolishness. It's difficult to communicate just how stupid and preposterous most of it was. The lesson of the French Revolution is twofold: 1. Men are not capable of being led by reason. 2. Men plan to do something and do entirely the opposite--and then lie that this is what they intended.

The stupidity of the French Revolution is alive and well today--nothing has changed except the average French peasant has more common sense than the average American SJW.

The truth of the French Revolution is not discussed because it was the seminal event of leftist thought in action--and they are incapable of having to defend it because it is indefensible. So, like the Spanish Civil War and the Bolshevik Revolution, it gets simplified, and then they bury all the parts they do not like. People who point out facts are now fascists.

I know de Sade. Nietzsche gave him syphilis. Try reading Justine sometime and tell me it isn't the cadence of modern leftist nihilism.

Giordano Bruno said...

One additional note. The French Revolution was just mob violence with high sounding phrases. It was insanity. When large mobs form, ask yourself, "Am I more likely to be on the receiving end of this violent mob or on the delivering end of this violent mob?" If you are reading this, then you are on the receiving end.

I'll say one thing openly, the mob that is forming in America will try to kill the Jews. No doubt in my mind whatsoever. There is a deep and pronounced streak of Jaw hatred in the BLM/Antifa composition, and it will release its full fury against, initially, religious Jews, but then any Jew. Has there ever been a mob that didn't get around to identifying Jews as a target? Ever? Anyone who has followed black racist psychology these past 50 years knows this. Vote and act accordingly. Money is no object.

Sam L. said...

"The issue arose when Sen. Lindsey Graham pointed out that today’s Democratic Party is in thrall to the radical left-- please do yourself a favor and stop calling it progressive." The word "progressive" always reminds me of cancer. Progressivism is a cancer.

Sam L. said...

This lends creedence to the statement, "Some people just need killin'."

Freddo said...

Every revolution is an attempt to ride the tiger, and while history mostly recounts of those on the top, those at the bottom get mauled the hardest. But it is easier to stoke the revolutionary fire if there is a basis of legitimate grievances.

With regard to the French revolution it is clear that the abolishment of the nobility and the redistribution of their lands as well as the holdings of the Catholic church were proper, if perhaps improperly executed.
With BLM/Antifa the irony is that they live in blue states, blue cities, with blue government and blue police forces and therefore enjoy the high crime, bad education, lack of jobs and corruption that comes with electing that same party. As to the (suspected) financiers and targets of BLM/Antifa I'll carefully avoid that discussion.

Anonymous said...

The French monarchy didn't eventually come back; it came back immediately at the fall of Napoleon, escorted into Paris by the Allied powers, and his Empire vanished. sic transit gloria mundi.