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 Post subject: Reactionary Prophet
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:06 am 
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Speaking of our SJW and leftest revolutionaries:
Quote:
Reactionary Prophet

Edmund Burke understood before anyone else that revolutions devour their young—and turn into their opposites

Christopher Hitchens April 2004 Issue


"It has always been with me," William Hazlitt wrote, "a test of the sense and candour of any one belonging to the opposite party, whether he allowed Burke to be a great man." Not all radicals have been so generous. In a footnote to Volume One of Das Kapital, Karl Marx wrote with contempt of Burke,

The sycophant—who in the pay of the English oligarchy played the romantic laudator temporis acti against the French Revolution just as, in the pay of the North American colonies at the beginning of the American troubles, he had played the liberal against the English oligarchy—was an out-and-out vulgar bourgeois.

The old bruiser of the British Museum would not have known that he was echoing a remark by Thomas Jefferson, in a letter written to Benjamin Vaughan in May of 1791.

The Revolution of France does not astonish me so much as the revolution of Mr. Burke. I wish I could believe the latter proceeded from as pure motives as the former ... How mortifying that this evidence of the rottenness of his mind must oblige us now to ascribe to wicked motives those actions of his life which wore the mark of virtue and patriotism.

(Continued)
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... et/302914/


What was Jefferson referring too, Burke's 'Reflections on the Revolution in France', Jefferson was happy with the revolution until the 'Reign of Terror' or there abouts. Burke wasn't. That's why I've never been happy with Jefferson.

Here is Burke's view of the French revolution according to
'Civilization: The West and the Rest Paperback – October 30, 2012
by Niall Ferguson (Author)'
https://www.amazon.com/Civilization-Wes ... 0143122061

Gutenberg has Burke's original pamplet it at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15679

There is a google book entry for this, just google the opening two sentences (Reads better then my copy/paste quote.)

Quote:
There was no central note-issuing bank. There was no liquid bond market where government debt could be bought and sold. The tax system had in large measure been privatized. Instead of selling bonds, the French Crown sold offices, creating a bloated public payroll of parasites. A succession of able ministers – Charles de Calonne, Loménie de Brienne and Jacques Necker – tried and failed to reform the system. The easy way out of the mess would have been for Louis XVI to default on the monarchy’s debts, which took a bewildering variety of different forms and cost almost twice what the British government was paying on its standardized bonds.12 Instead, the King sought consensus. An Assembly of Notables went nowhere. The lawyers of the parlements only made trouble. Finally, in August 1788, Louis was persuaded to summon the Estates General, a body that had not met since 1614. He should have foreseen that a seventeenth-century institution would give him a seventeenth-century crisis.

At first the French Revolution was the British Civil War, with only the Puritanism lost in translation. The summoning of the Estates General gave malcontents within the aristocracy an opportunity to vent their spleen, with the comte de Mirabeau and marquis de Lafayette in the vanguard. As in England, the lower house developed a will of its own. On 17 June 1789 the Third Estate (Commons) proclaimed itself a ‘National Assembly’. Three days later, in the famous Tennis Court Oath, its members swore not to be dissolved until France had a new constitution. Thus far it was the Long Parliament in French. But when it came to devising the new ground rules of French political life, the revolutionaries adopted some recognizably American language. At first glance, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 27 August 1789 would have raised few eyebrows in Philadelphia:

2. The natural and imprescriptible rights of man … are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression …

10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views …

17. Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof … 13

So why, beginning with a searing speech on 1 February 1790, did Edmund Burke react so violently against this revolution? Here he is in full flow:

“The French [have] rebel[ed] against a mild and lawful monarch with more fury, outrage, and insult than ever any people has been known to rise against the most illegal usurper or the most sanguinary tyrant. Their resistance was made to concession … their blow was aimed at a hand holding out graces, favours, and immunities … They have found their punishment in their success: laws overturned; tribunals subverted; industry without vigour; commerce expiring; the revenue unpaid, yet the people impoverished; a church pillaged, and a state not relieved; civil and military anarchy made the constitution of the kingdom; everything human and divine sacrificed to the idol of public credit, and national bankruptcy the consequence; and, to crown all, the paper securities of new, precarious, tottering power … held out as a currency for the support of an empire.14”

If Burke had written those words in 1793, there would be no great mystery. But to have foreseen the true character of the French Revolution within a year of its outbreak was extraordinary. What had he spotted? The answer is Rousseau.

(continued below)

_________________
“Political Language… is Designed to Make Lies Sound Truthful… and to Give an Appearance of Solidity to Pure Wind.” — George Orwell


Last edited by abradley on Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:32 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Reactionary Prophet
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:10 am 
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If Burke had written those words in 1793, there would be no great mystery. But to have foreseen the true character of the French Revolution within a year of its outbreak was extraordinary. What had he spotted? The answer is Rousseau.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book The Social Contract (1762) was among the most dangerous books Western civilization ever produced. Man, Rousseau argued, is a ‘noble savage’ who is reluctant to submit to authority. The only legitimate authority to which he can submit is the sovereignty of ‘the People’ and the ‘General Will’. According to Rousseau, that General Will must be supreme. Magistrates and legislators must bow down before it. There can be no ‘sectional associations’. There can be no Christianity, which after all implies a separation of powers (the spiritual from the temporal). Freedom is a good thing, no doubt. But for Rousseau virtue is more important. The General Will should be virtue in action.15 Turning back to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the modern reader can begin to see what appalled Burke:

6. Law is the expression of the general will …

10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law …

17. Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it … [emphasis added]

It was these caveats that Burke mistrusted. The primacy Rousseau gave to ‘the public order’ and ‘public necessity’ struck him as deeply sinister. The General Will was, to Burke’s mind, a less reliable selector of a ruler than the hereditary principle, since rulers chosen that way were more likely to respect ‘ancient liberties’, which Burke preferred to the new, singular and abstract ‘freedom’. The Third Estate, he argued, would inevitably be corrupted by power (and by the ‘monied interest’), unlike an aristocracy, which enjoyed the independence that private wealth confers. Burke also grasped the significance of the expropriation of Church lands in November 1789 – one of the first truly revolutionary acts – and the dangers of printing paper money (the assignats) with nothing more than confiscated Church land as backing. The real social contract, he argued, was not Rousseau’s pact between the noble savage and the General Will, but a ‘partnership’ between the present generation and future generations. With astonishing prescience, Burke warned against the utopianism of ‘the professors’: ‘At the end of every vista’, he wrote in the greatest prophecy of the era, ‘you see nothing but the gallows.’* The assault on traditional institutions, he warned, would end in a ‘mischievous and ignoble oligarchy’ and, ultimately, military dictatorship.16 In all of this, Burke was to be proved right.

The constitution of September 1791 upheld the inviolability of property rights, the inviolability of ‘the King of the French’, the inviolability of the right of association and the inviolability of the freedom of worship. Within two years all four had been violated, beginning with the Church’s property rights. The right of free association followed with the abolition of the monastic orders, guilds and trade unions (though not of political factions, which flourished). And in August 1792 the King’s privileged status was violated when he was arrested following the storming of the Tuileries. To be sure, Louis XVI brought it upon himself with the royal family’s fatally botched flight to Varennes, a vain attempt to escape from Paris (disguised as the entourage of a Russian baroness) to the royalist citadel of Montmédy near the north-eastern border. With the election of a new and democratic National Convention in September 1792, the likelihood of a regicide increased still further. But the execution of Louis XVI on 21 January 1793 had very different consequences from the execution of Charles I. In the English Revolution, killing the King had been the finale of a civil war. In the French Revolution it was merely the overture, as power passed via the Jacobin Society of Friends of the Constitution to the Insurrectionary Commune and on to the National Convention’s Committees of Surveillance and of Public Safety. Not for the last time in Western history, the revolutionaries armed themselves with a new religion to steel themselves for greater outrages. On 10 November 1793 the worship of God was prohibited and the cult of Reason instituted, the first political religion of the modern age, complete with icons, rites – and martyrs.

The French Revolution had in fact been violent from the outset.17 The storming of the hated Bastille prison on 14 July 1789 was celebrated with the decapitations of the marquis de Launay (the governor of the Bastille) and Jacques de Flesselles (provost of the merchants of Paris). Just over a week later, the King’s Secretary of State Joseph-François Foullon de Doué and his son-in-law Berthier de Sauvigny were also murdered. When the revolutionary mob attacked the royal family at Versailles the following October, around a hundred people were killed. Seventeen-ninety-one saw the Day of the Daggers and the massacre on the Champs de Mars. In September 1792 around 1,400 royalist prisoners were executed following counter-revolutionary demonstrations in Brittany, Vendée and Dauphiné. Yet something more was needed to produce the carnage of the Terror, the first demonstration in the modern age of the grim truth that revolutions devour their own children.

A generation of historians in thrall to the ideas of Karl Marx (see Chapter 5) sought the answer in class conflict, attributing the Revolution to bad harvests, the rising price of bread and the grievances of the sans-culottes, the nearest thing the ancien régime had to a proletariat. But Marxist interpretations foundered on the abundant evidence that the bourgeoisie did not wage class war on the aristocracy. Rather, it was an elite of ‘notables’, some bourgeois, some aristocrats, who together made the Revolution. A far subtler interpretation had already been offered by an aristocratic intellectual named Alexis de Tocqueville whose two major works, Democracy in America (1835) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856), offer an unrivalled answer to the question: why was France not America? There were, Tocqueville argues, five fundamental differences between the two societies, and therefore between the two revolutions they produced. First, France was increasingly centralized, whereas America was a naturally federal state, with a lively provincial associational life and civil society. Second, the French tended to elevate the general will above the letter of the law, a tendency resisted by America’s powerful legal profession. Third, the French revolutionaries attacked religion and the Church that upheld it, whereas American sectarianism provided a bulwark against the pretensions of secular authorities. (Tocqueville was a religious sceptic but he grasped sooner than most the social value of religion.) Fourth, the French ceded too much power to irresponsible intellectuals, whereas in America practical men reigned supreme. Finally, and most important to Tocqueville, the French put equality above liberty. In sum, they chose Rousseau over Locke.

In chapter XIII of Democracy in America, Tocqueville hit the nail squarely on the head:

The citizen of the United States is taught from his earliest infancy to rely upon his own exertions in order to resist the evils and the difficulties of life; he looks upon social authority with an eye of mistrust and anxiety, and he only claims its assistance when he is quite unable to shift without it … In America the liberty of association for political purposes is unbounded … There are no countries in which associations are more needed, to prevent the despotism of faction or the arbitrary power of a prince, than those which are democratically constituted.18

The comparative weakness of French civil society was therefore a large part of the reason why French republics tended to violate individual liberties and to degenerate into autocracies. But Tocqueville added a sixth point, almost as an afterthought:

In France the passion for war is so intense that there is no undertaking so mad, or so injurious to the welfare of the State, that a man does not consider himself honoured in defending it, at the risk of his life.19

_________________
“Political Language… is Designed to Make Lies Sound Truthful… and to Give an Appearance of Solidity to Pure Wind.” — George Orwell


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 Post subject: Re: Reactionary Prophet
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:00 pm 
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Quote:
The American Vs. French Revolutions
A Freedomist Interpretation

R.J. Rummel
https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COMM.5.1.05.HTM

The intellectual struggle worldwide today is now between the beliefs encapsulated in the American Revolution and those in the French. It is interests versus reason.
COMMENTARY ARCHIVE

First, some background. During the Middle Ages, the power of kings was checked by the a belief in the higher laws of God, to which kings and commoner alike - the nation, country, or kingdom, in short, the State -- were subject. But with the 16th century Reformation and the conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism, the battle was decided for the State. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Wars of Religion, and established the modern nation-state system. The power of the State in the person of kings, now unchecked by the Church, was now supreme. However, kings needed legitimacy, money, and men for wars, all of which required the approval of the aristocracy. Jealous of their own power, stingy in supporting their kings, the aristocracy as a counterweight to the State enabled Freedom to survive. For most of the 17th and 18th centuries, the State and Freedom therefore existed in uneasy equilibrium -- neither complete, both limited.

Then, in the late 18th century two momentous revolutions destroyed this balance, triggered a great battle between the State and Freedom. Freedom emerged victorious in one; the State in the other. The great historical struggle since has been between the principles and conception of these two revolutions, for as the old balance between kings and aristocracies was destroyed, the success of Freedom or advance of the State has depended on the triumph of one of these two sets of principles and conceptions.

The American Revolution was the first. As a struggle against monarchical and aristocratic power, it was an explicit attempt to establish the greatest possible common Freedom. The leaders were careful historians who knew their political philosophy. Descendents of the English tradition of common law and rights, they were influenced by the great liberal philosophers, such as Sir John Harrington and John Locke. They understood that Freedom would be short-lived, that defeating an imperial State would only unleash a new State at home, unless the power of the State could be shackled. Their efforts, after a short experiment with the Articles of Confederation, were soon enshrined in the Constitution of the United States in 1787. In simple words, the Constitution was a conscious attempt to bound the State and preserve Freedom.

The Constitution's basic conception is that man pursues different, and often selfish, interests. The maximum satisfaction of all these interests requires that no one interest dominates. And what prevents such domination is a balance among opposing interests. The Constitution makers saw interests as different species in nature. A balance among them is established as each in nature pursues his different and often contradictory desires and instincts. The balance then assures the life and independence of each.

But this conception is abstract and needs a supporting structure of rights to guarantee interests can compete and balance. If all interests share absolute Rights, then the aggrandizement of any one would be prevented. So, with this conception of Freedom being the outcome of a balancing of interests, each sustained by natural rights, the Constitution embodies three principles. One is that all men have certain inalienable Rights standing above and limiting government, the agency of the State. Among these, as enshrined in the First Amendment, are the rights to the freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and petition.

The second principle is that all governments carry within themselves the seeds of tyranny, of the absolute State, which can be limited only by a system of checks and balances. Thus, the Constitution balances aspects of monarchy, aristocracy, and the commons in the independent powers of the executive, judiciary, and legislature; it balances a democratic tendency to mob rule by protections of minority views and rights. It balances popular representation in the House of Representatives against the equality of large and small states in the Senate. And it balances the need to satisfy popular interests with the requirement for their careful and dispassionate consideration.

The third principle is that Freedom must reign, that no man working in his own interests can be unjust against himself, and that therefore, government must be limited to defining and administering the common law. Government is to be an arbiter between interests, to serve a janitorial role of defending and maintaining the commonwealth. All else is the preserve of Freedom.

A conception of Freedom as an outcome of contending interests, each guaranteed inalienable Rights, and the three principles of Rights, checks and balances, and limited government, constituted the American Revolution -- a revolution that established and preserved Freedom down to modern times.

Only a few years after the American Constitution was founded, a second revolution -- a Counter Revolution -- occurred in France. The French Revolution of 1789 was also a revolt against the power of a monarch and aristocracy. Its motto was Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; its end was Social Justice; its means were to establish the sovereignty of the people, and to eliminate social and political inequalities.

(Continued Below)Burke saw the difference pointed out in this article at the beginning, others didn't.

_________________
“Political Language… is Designed to Make Lies Sound Truthful… and to Give an Appearance of Solidity to Pure Wind.” — George Orwell


Last edited by abradley on Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Reactionary Prophet
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:01 pm 
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Continuing from above.
Quote:
Only a few years after the American Constitution was founded, a second revolution -- a Counter Revolution -- occurred in France. The French Revolution of 1789 was also a revolt against the power of a monarch and aristocracy. Its motto was Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; its end was Social Justice; its means were to establish the sovereignty of the people, and to eliminate social and political inequalities.

Unlike the American Revolution, whose philosophical ancestors were the English liberals, the French Revolution was fundamentally fathered by the French radical philosophers, especially Jean Jacques Rousseau, and inherited the faith in reason engendered by The Enlightenment. RenŽ Descartes' trust in geometric like reasoning and Rousseau's belief in the common will and sovereignty of the people framed the conception guiding the French Revolution. This conception is mechanical. Government is a machine, fueled by coercive power, and driven by reason; and its destination is Social Justice. Government is thus a tool to reach a future goal -- improving man. Those in charge of the State would therefore use reason to apply government to further and create Social Justice.

This conception is clearly different from that of the American revolutionaries. For the Americans, interests were the guiding force; for the French, reason. For the Americans, Freedom was to be preserved against the State; for the French, the State was used by reason to achieve Social Justice. For the Americans, individual rights were essential to protect interests; for the French, the collective, the sovereignty of the people, the general will stood above rights. Finally, for the Americans, no one interest could be entrusted with the State -- all interests had to be limited and balanced by their opposition; for the French, the State was a tool that should have no limit so long as Social Justice was pursued according to the common will.

The two conceptions -- one of a natural realm of competing interests with happiness and justice as an outcome of Freedom, the other of Social Justice achieved through the State directed by Reason -- entails opposing principles. Those of the American Revolution, as I have mentioned, were of rights, of checks and balances, of limited government. Those of the French were also three, and they are in direct contradiction.

The first principle is that the benefits to the Community outweigh individual rights. This is what the common will or sovereignty of the people means -- that individuals are members of a Community which takes precedence over the individual, and that the Community has a will to be gratified, a justice to be sought, which no individual should bar.

The second principle is that the State, and thus government as its agent, can be beneficent instruments of progress, a tool to be used to pursue the common will, the Community's betterment. Government, of course, had been feared when ruled by kings and aristocrats. But in the hands of the people, government can only serve the people's ends. Therefore, government should not be checked and balanced. Its powers should not be divided, for then the State is severely restrained. The Application of Reason to further Social Justice is crippled. Unlike the Americans, the French revolutionaries did not fear the State as such, but only the State in the service of the wrong class and bad ends.

And this led to the third principle of the French Revolution -- unlimited government. As the State's implement of Reason working on behalf of the Community, government should not be limited. If necessary to pursue Social Justice, government should centralize, regulate, and control. No local or provincial government, no local council, court or judge, should be able to limit or contradict the pursuit of Social Justice by the State; no minority interest should have precedence over the General Will.

No wonder, then, that the American Revolution forged a Freedom that has survived for most of America's history, while the French Revolution created a bloodbath and State surpassing that of previous kings and aristocracies, a despotism ending in a Napoleon whose perfidy, aggression, and power was eventually defeated by the combined arms of the frightened monarchies of Europe. But the conception and principles of the French Revolution lived on to gain new vigor.

They underlie the revolutions of 1848 in Europe, the first stirring of socialism, the writings of Marx and the birth of communism and democratic socialism. The French Revolution was defeated but the Revolution was victorious. Infesting intellectuals everywhere, its ideas eventuated in the successful Russian Revolution.

So, the American and French Revolutions launched an historic struggle between two conceptions and two sets of principles. One fosters Freedom and peace; the other furthers a statism which mankind has seldom, if ever, before known, a disease that not only blighted half the world, but even with the defeat of its most monstrous version, communism, it still infests European politics and the American liberals, and especially, the socialist left.

The opposition between these principles remains the major schism today, the major historic battlefront. It is happiness and justice as an outcome of a free balance of opposing interests, each guaranteed inalienable Rights, versus justice to be sought by reason using the State. The principles are those of individual rights versus a collective benefit; of checks and balances versus government as an unchecked instrument; of limited government and common law versus reason using government to create new law to further justice. To put this into the current political framework, we have here the opposition between Leftists and Freedomists.

Now, consider which set of principles governs the American federal, state, and local scene today. Is it not an assumption of legislators, courts, and executives at all levels that they have a responsibility to use the State to create Social Justice? Are not laws, regulations, and rules created to this end, and individual rights forced to give way before the presumed needs and requirements of communities, groups, or minorities? Is not Reason (often in the cloak of science) applied through government, presumably to better our lives and to protect us against our own interests? Is not planning -- that incarnation of Reason -- king?

Of course. And the best measure of all this is that largely in the service of reason's drive for Social Justice, the State now confiscates directly and indirectly somewhere between 40 to 50 cents of every American's earnings, more than kings generally dared to take from commoners. One is now forced to work five to six months of the year for government. Without pay. And this is not counting the governmentally induced, hidden tax, called inflation.

In all this lies my assertion: the Freedom established by the American Revolution has been losing the struggle against the Counter-Revolution. Yes, Freedom still lives. But our diminishing freedoms must not blind us to the State's grip on our lives. As a professional, as a businessman, as a family member, as one simply seeking happiness, most of what one does now is subject to government rules, regulations, and laws, and can be vetoed by judges or bureaucrats who are backed up, ultimately, by the gun.

Now, on this I should also avoid misunderstanding. It is fashionable in intellectual circles to soundly condemn the American political and economic system. Usually, what is desired in its place is one variant or another of democratic socialism or communism. I take a diametrically opposite stand. I say that we are gradually being converted from the American to the French revolutionary principles.

Political terms are slippery and often are used or misused for political advantage. The Constitution of the United States with its First Amendment established a republic and minimum, balanced government. Its economy was initially agrarian, but the freedoms of the republic were congenial to vigorous free market growth. Today, however, the United States is neither completely free market nor agrarian. In over 200 years the republic has turned into an industrial, mixed free market-socialist democracy, less than the European, democratic socialisms of England, Denmark, or Sweden, to be sure, but along the socialist path nonetheless in adopting the conceptions and principles of the French Revolution. In this lies the source of many of our social ills and domestic violence, and not in the free market or democracy.

But, we can still reverse directions. We are still heirs to the American Revolution; we still have sufficient freedom, and the future is what we make it to be. This task alone could be the focus of all our energy and ingenuity, were it not for the thug regimes and terrorists they support that threaten us from abroad. Nonetheless, I think we can fight both battles and win. It all depends on democratic peoples understanding that the American Revolution is dying from a possibly malignant cancer - the statism of the neo-French revolutionaries - and in one form or another, domestic or foreign, it threatens us. The people's common sense and their desire for freedom will in the end win out, if they comprehend the battle being waged against them. It is the freedomist's mission to assure this understanding.

_________________
“Political Language… is Designed to Make Lies Sound Truthful… and to Give an Appearance of Solidity to Pure Wind.” — George Orwell


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