December 18, 2010

American Thermidor

First there was November 2nd. Then the Donks agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts, with an age-old conservative rationale to justify their lefty intemperance. Next the lard-bucket Obam-nibus spending bill ($58 B in earmarks for Donks, $1 B in earmarks for Repubs) was flagged by the effort of the bug-eyed and generally unreliable Mitch McConnell.

Meanwhile, ObamaCare is under Constitutional scrutiny, and Republicans seem serious about either de-funding or repealing that evil, statist Prog atrocity. We’ll see, but all this is enough to persuade me that this is our American Thermidor, and while the outcome is unpredictable, the signposts are pointing in our direction.

The hell you say? What’s Thermidor? Thermidor entered our political language by way of the ridiculously complex affairs of the French Revolution. It designates a stage in a revolution when the radicals over-reach and face abrupt rejection by the people for their tyrannies. Thermidor begins convalescence and renewal for a society abused and fractured by amoral revolutionary cranks. Managed well, it can undo a lot of damage. Managed poorly, like in France and Russia, you wind up with a Stalin or a Napolean, both of whom were the worst kinds of reactionaries.

In 1794 France, Robespierre, and a few other Jacobins, were unwittingly responsible for the Thermadorian notation, by provoking their own executions on a date derived from the weird Revolutionary Calendar imposed by revolutionaries in 1792.

The date of the executions was 9 Thermidor II - the 9th day of the 11th month (Thermidor) of the second year (II) of the new French Republic (July 27, 1794, Gregorian time). Thus ending the Reign of Terror, it was later called by French historians, the Thermidorian Reaction. Here the tale gets more complicated than I need to explain, but this sums it up:

Events in France from 1793 into 1794 spun out of control, as they always do when radical egalitarians, statist freaks, mad reformers, populist maniacs and raving materialists migrate or bolt from their madhouses, faculty lounges or courtrooms to the plush seats of government. Predictably, they produced a landscape of hysterical accusation, summary execution, murder, property confiscation, civil and local war, bankruptcy, regicide, plunder and paranoia - something akin to the actual careers and private dream lists of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

The French people were sick of it. Close to open revolt against the revolutionaries, they scared the hell out of the corrupt French legislatures (Convention) and the Committee on Public Safety. So Robespierre and his cohorts had to go as a gesture or reform and repentance.

They were all condemned, not because their enablers and co-conspirators had pellucid revelations about their iniquity (think RINO’s and herding Democrats) but because they were scared witless at that mighty beast, an angry citizenry. Our rulers are frightened, as they should be. For now it's loss of power they fear. If it gets worse they need to be admonished with this rule: If the ballot no longer protects our liberty, there’s always rope.

And I am dead serious. The ethos may change, but the potentials and the people don't. They need our confidence in their obedience, not the other way round.


Wetzy said...

I keep a few ropes stored in my garage. Are we there yet?

Anonymous said...

A government frightened by the power of the people is a beautiful thing to behold. It's as beautiful as the 2nd Amendment.

banned said...

This is why I welcome recent edicts from the EvilEU forbidding the Crusifix in Italian school classrooms or forcing Ireland to legalise abortion on demand.
Britains Thermidore moment will come when they try to impose selling beer in litres rather than pints.

Anonymous said...

I remember a few years back when there were EU mumblings about banning the banger.

Anonymous said...

Two words, Don Goomba.


banned said...

Zio Rico, they backed down from banning the banger but we had to reduce the sawdust content :)

Rhod said...

Wetzy, you're on the call list.

Nick, that's the kind of fear I have in mind; too bad it doesn't insure the right to own a guillotine.

Banned, Zio, I polished and oiled my banger yesterday, after a solid breakfast of eggs and sausages. Nobody should trifle with me.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Wow Rhod, did you have to go to school for this stuff? You be one educated dude.

Actually, thanks for the history lesson.

Rhod said...

Nah, Odie. Most of it is useless knowledge, or maybe it's just information, and not knowledge.

Libs of the '60's type (like me, formerly) had to be fluent in the arcane language of revolution in order to be interesting to girls of the same type.

That's what the '60's were about. Sex.

sig94 said...

Rhod - excellent piece. What scares me is the role of the French Army in allowing the Terror to happen and finally the emergence of Napoleon as dictator.

The French Army was effectively immobilized due to war with other European alliances (Wars of the First to Fifth Coalitions) which were initiated by European monarchies in response to the French Revolution. During this time the Committe of General Security was responsible for the imprisonment and execution of counter-revoluntionaries. As many as 300,000 were arrested and as many as 50,000 were executed. In Paris alone, nearly 3,000 were beheaded in a single month.

There was also a De-Christianization Program which abolished Sundays and religious holidays. The seven day week was abolished in favor of a ten day decade. Public religious observations were banned outright.

In Paris they destroyed religious statutes, banned clerical dress and Notre Dame Cathedral was renamed, "The Temple of Reason." A new secular holiday was created, "The Festival of Supreme Being." Festivus?

Generals eager to avoid being seen as counter-revolutionary would carry out any orders to suppress domestic rebellion. Perhaps as many as 250,000 civilians were slain during the peasant revolt against the anti-religious activities of revoluntionary radicals - the War in the Vendee.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Decades old anti-Christian developments in our own country, Obama's call for a national security force and the politically correct manipulation of our own armed forces force me to conclude that we may be in for a rough patch of road.

Keep your powder dry.

sig94 said...

Bear this in mind; France was considered a super power at this time.

Rhod said...

Sig, it all sounds familiar, but I'm always nagged by the idea that big events are mechanistic and Hegelian, that identical or similar results will issue fror identical or similar conditions.

Then, I'm a believer in The Black Swan view of history, that prediction of the probable is ridiculous and based on averages; that the world, human and natural, is propelled most by an explosion of the highly improbable. Last year, who could have predicted Nov 2nd and its immediate result? Time will tell.

This isn't a complaint with your great take on the startling similarity between the nastiness of the French "Enlightenment" and
its wicked Revolution.

The Catholic Church somehow survived in France (the authority of the Pope didn't) in spite of the hellish de-christianization campaigns, probably because none of the secular cult alternatives provided The Answer.

Thermidor brought with it a volcano of liscentiousness and debauchery in France. In re the conduct of the militaary, somehow by 1799, Napolean managed to bewitch them once again. And it was only a mere ten years or so after they failed to support the monarchy/monarchists when people were in the streets.

Brass is brass. I was a soldier once, but I don't respect "the military" as an abstraction. What "they" do never surprises me. They're a caucus with guns.

Rhod said...

Para III should read:

"This isn't a complaint with your great take on the startling similarity between the nastiness of the French Enlightenment, and its wicked Revolution, with the goals of Progressivism".

sig94 said...

Rhod - you are absolutely correct my friend, but it is the transition period that is always the bloodiest.

christian soldier said...

what a great historical overview-thank you!

any way we cn get little lisa murkowski out and the real winner - Joe Miller (Alaska - primary winner-Senate)-in ?
we'd have to side-step the RINO -NRSC-they went up to 'help' little lisa...

christian soldier said...

I was referring to:
"If the ballot no longer protects our liberty, there’s always rope. "

I don't advocate a rope for little lisa or her ilk-
I do not like voter fraud -by Ds or Rs...

Anonymous said...

Was good to come back here and see your work, Rhod. Thank you for this. What strikes me most is your optimism. Longtime readers will note that this is somewhat like the historical lightning bolts that you talk about.

The Demos have pushed too far, and they are still doing so even in a runaway lame duck with Christmas upon us. People are upset and will be heard.

Anonymous said...

Very happy with the Supreme Court ruling. On to re-election!