Celebrating Bastille Day shows about as much cluelessness (or psychosis) as wearing a Che t-shirt: if you know anything whatsoever about what actually went on, you’d maybe put the party blowers away and throw the t-shirt in the incinerator.
(h/t to a Wm. Briggs tweet) A piece at Stream sums it up. Notice, also, that you don’t need to be a Christian to mourn this, any more than you need to be a Jew to mourn the Holocaust.
Tuesday, July 14 probably passes without much fanfare in your home, but the date, Bastille Day, marks the beginning of the greatest organized persecution of Christians since the Emperor Diocletian. This day, the beginning of the French Revolution, also planted the seeds for the murderous ideologies of socialism and nationalism that would poison the next two centuries, murdering millions of believers and other innocent civilians. Between them, those two political movements racked up quite a body count: In Death By Government, scholar R. J. Rummel pointed out that
“…during the first 88 years of this century, almost 170,000,000 men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; or buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens or foreigners.”
But the first such modern genocide in the West took place in France, beginning in 1793. It was undertaken by modern, progressive apostles of Enlightenment and aimed at pious peasants in the Vendée region of France. By its end up to 300,000 civilians had been killed by the armies of the Republic.
This story is little discussed in France. Indeed, a devout historian who teaches at a French university once told me, “We are not to mention the Vendée. Anyone who brings up what was done there has no prospect of an academic career. So we keep silent.”
It is mostly in the Vendée itself that memories linger, which may explain why that part of France to this day remains more religious and more conservative than any other region. The local government opened a museum marking these atrocities on their 200th anniversary in 1993 — with a visit by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who noted during his eloquent address that the mass murders of Christians in Russia were directly inspired by those in the Vendée. The Bolsheviks, he said, modeled themselves on the French revolutionaries, and Lenin himself pointed to the Vendée massacres as the right way to deal with Christian resistance.
This, from the people with simply the best slogans, and a passion for equality and justice that they were willing to act on! One should not take delight in other’s misfortunes, but it worth noting for those who today celebrate the success of the anti-democratic tactic of using the courts to overturn the will of the people as expressed in their laws and votes, that many of the leaders of the Revolution, in the end, were murdered by their brotherhood and equality-loving comrades. This is a feature, not a bug, of revolutions by the people – a Stalin or Mao isn’t an unfortunate accident, he’s the necessary end-game of any revolt built on squishy yet inflammatory ideals. You end up needing a strong man to maintain order, and he’s going to need to eliminate those causing disorder, which will include both those brothers who cling to a different, more primitive, less flexible understanding of those motivating ideals, and those who might someday wish to be the imposer of order themselves. The naifs that man the barricades are often the first to go when barricades are no longer expedient.
Note how getting control of academics is a key early step in making sure history as recounted toes the line on the desired narrative. Academics usually fall first and easily, as the selection process by which one becomes and academic tends very much to favor spineless careerists over people with actual thoughts and principles. Nope, the schools are staffed rather with folks with feelings and values. Much easier to herd that way.
Note also how modern revolutions tend to come down to persecution and murder of the Christian resistance – the French and Russian revolutions, in the ‘Arab Spring’ (Hey – I wonder if the dudes who dreamed that up have Che t-shirts? I’d bet money on it…) and who knows, maybe the sexual revolution as well? It’s almost as if the persecutions and murders are the point of the whole thing.