A Cautionary note from history

The American and the French revolutions both shared an intellectual and philosophical underpinning.  They also shared some key actors.

However, the trend of “liberty” in each of the countries took sharp turns away from the other rather quickly.  Some will say the main difference fell on whether we were discussing the rights of “man” or the rights of “men.”

Although an important distinction, it is not the cautionary note I was thinking of; although it does move us towards it.

Robespierre’s Reign of Terror did more to derail an American-style liberty in Europe than anything else.

Franklin and Jefferson were there.

But it took a bloody and sharp turn Left.  Creating in its wake the beginnings of a new European dictatorship, whose collectivists trappings still drape across her shoulders today while wearing the mask of liberty.

Most revolutions bring about something worse than that against which it fights.  We used to say the American one was different, but maybe we were just on a weird time-delay…

More to the point, as I read the blogs from “our side” lately, from some corners I get a feeling that there is a suggestion that we take a page from Robespierre’s playbook.

I would strongly advice that we think good and hard about what that means, what the consequences are, and if we’re really willing to pay them.  Although the context is different, the quote is fitting, nonetheless

….death is not the worst of evils.

– Cato, the American.

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  1. […] posted about the French Revolution awhile back.  I still maintain many of those concerns, but this book (and if you haven’t […]



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