Remembering Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day, typically associated with the start of the French Revolution. In honor of that blessed event, I offer up this classic piece by John Zmirak:

Remember when the L.A. riots spun out of control, and engulfed the whole United States? The key moment was no doubt when police and Army commanders took fright and changed sides, throwing their support to the Committee for Public Safety led by Tom Hayden, along with Noam Chomsky, Barbara Boxer, Michael Moore, and Edward Said. After Hayden’s fall and execution, his successor, Marion Barry, insisted that President Bush and his wife Barbara be tried for treason. Their executions shocked the world but sparked wild celebrations in the capital, as the First Couple’s severed heads danced on poles in daylong parades. A crack whore was duly enshrined in the National Cathedral as the Goddess of Reason.

Of course, Hayden and Barry were each executed in due course, and replaced by the “incorruptible” Maxine Waters. The ensuing Terror killed tens of thousands including corporate executives, Indian software engineers, Korean grocers, many harmless courtiers and celebrities such as Liz Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Bill Cosby and Adam Sandler, and unnumbered professors, priests, ministers and cloistered nuns, all accused of “subversion.”

When conservatives rose up in Arkansas and Louisiana, the Army crushed the counterrevolution, crowded its supporters onto rafts on the Mississippi, then sank them, drowning thousands of unarmed civilians. The Terror only ended when General Louis Farrakhan used a “whiff of grapeshot” to cow the mob. His ruthless secret police calmed the chaos at home – ended the church burnings and massacres, for instance – but his foreign policy adventurism started wars with Mexico, Canada, Great Britain and finally Russia, ending only with his ignominious defeat and exile to Staten Island. But all this is ancient history now. The Revolution and its wars have ended, at a cost of over 20 million lives, and the U.S. standard of living now equals Serbia’s. Was it all worth it?

That little thought experiment should give you an idea of what the French Revolution was really like – a digestive eruption of all the basest instincts in the lowest elements of society, led by power-drunk ideologues of the radical Left. (If you click on the link for any of the imaginary events given above, you’ll find its real-life parallel in the French Revolution.) It was utterly unlike the American rebellion against the English colonial officials – which amounted to a regional secession, led by the responsible members of the upper middle class. And for that fact we should be forever grateful, as should other countries which emulated the American model of political reform, rather than the French, as Hannah Arendt and Wilhelm Röpke have written.

0 Responses to Remembering Bastille Day

  • They have a half-decent natonal anthem. ‘Nuff said.

  • Really interesting article. Thanks for the link.

  • Irving Babbitt divided the world of political philosophy into those who were followers of Edmund Burke and those who were followers of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The contrast between the American and French Revolution beautifully encapsulates this dichotomy. The French Revolution was one of the most disastrous and horrible events in the history of the world, so kudos to Zmirak.

  • Thus beginning the tradition of starting a new French Republic every couple of decades, which has continued down unto the present day…

  • “Blessed Solomon Leclercq, 1745-1792
    “Feast day: September 2

    “Blessed Brother Solomon Leclerq was beatified on October 17, 1926. Born in 1745, he lived in France, during a time of revolution. The common people rose up against the kings of France, and established a more democratic form of government. As part of this revolution, the new leaders made times difficult for the official religion, Christianity. All Christian organizations became illegal. The Christian Brothers and their work were almost totally dismantled. Bro. Solomon was among these Brothers. He joined the Brothers in 1767, was a devoted teacher and skilled financial manager. These Brothers refused to swear loyalty to this new government. They had to live in secrecy. In 1792, he was arrested by the government, imprisoned with several other church leaders, and, in 1727 (sic), executed. (sic) He, and his prison companions were martyred about a month later. (sic)”

    I edited out some of the PC lies, but . . . left some in for your edification. Plus, someone should have proof read the copy.

    See how they gloss over tyranny, thousands of drumhead executions. The quote is from a Christian Brothers high school site. Note: the author doesn’t state that the brothers’ vocations were to educate poor boys, who would not be educated after 1792. The official religion was Catholicism, not “Christianity.” Sound familiar?

  • My favorite rendition of the French national anthem:

    A post about my favorite Frenchman:

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/our-french-founding-father/

  • Great movie: Casablanca.

    Ach! “Die Wacht am Rhein.”

    That was just about all they could do at the time: sing and weep.

    Lafayette, nous voila (I think)! “Lafayette, we are here!” Spoken by one of Pershing’s staff (I think at lafayette’s tomb) in 1917. And 1944. America doesn’t owe them anything.

  • Thus beginning the tradition of starting a new French Republic every couple of decades, which has continued down unto the present day…

    Constitutional government in France has, since 1860, been interrupted only by German invasion and occupation (in 1870-71 and 1940-46).

  • Constitutional government in France has, since 1860, been interrupted only by German invasion and occupation (in 1870-71 and 1940-46).

    I would consider the May 1958 crisis, if not technically an interruption of constitutional government, then at least close enough for purposes of the witticism.

  • The 1968 Riots are another potential disruption of civil government.

    They rioted for the right to be over-payed government workers.

  • Thanks for the post! My favorite version of the French anthem is the royalist parody, sung by the heroic Catholic rebels of the Vendee:

    Here’s the French text and an English translation (reproduced, with sheet music in my “The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Wine, Whiskey and Song”:

    I

    Allons armées catholiques
    Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
    Contre nous de la république
    L’étendard sanglant est levé (repeat)
    Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
    Les cris impurs des scélérats ?
    Qui viennent jusque dans nos bras
    Prendre nos filles, nos femmes !

    Refrain: Aux armes vendéens ! Formez vos bataillons ! Marchez, marchez, Le sang des bleus Rougira nos sillons !

    II Quoi des infâmes hérétiques
    Feraient la loi dans nos foyers?
    Quoi des muscardins de boutiques
    Nous écraseraient sous leurs pieds? (Repeat)
    Et le Rodrigue abominable
    Infâme suppôt du démon
    S’installerait en la maison
    De notre Jésus adorable

    Refrain

    III Tremblez pervers et vous timides,
    La bourrée des deux partis.
    Tremblez, vos intrigues perfides
    Vont enfin recevoir leur prix. (Repeat)
    Tout est levé pour vous combattre
    De Saint Jean d’Monts à Beaupréau,
    D’Angers à la ville d’Airvault,
    Nos gars ne veulent que se battre.

    Refrain

    IV Chrétiens, vrais fils de l’Eglise,
    Séparez de vos ennemis
    La faiblesse à la peur soumise
    Que verrez en pays conquis. (Repeat)
    Mais ces citoyens sanguinaires
    Mais les adhérents de Camus
    Ces prêtres jureurs et intrus
    Cause de toutes nos misères.

    Refrain

    V
    Ô sainte Vierge Marie
    Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs!
    Contre une sequelle ennemie
    Combats avec tes zélateurs! (Repeat)
    A vos étendards la victoire
    Est promise assurément.
    Que le régicide expirant
    Voie ton triomphe et notre gloire!

    Refrain

    Translation by Charles A. Coulombe

    I Let us go, Catholic armies the day of glory has arrived! Against us, the Republic Has raised the bloody banner. (Repeat) Do you hear in our countryside the impure cries of the wretches? Who come—unless our arms prevent them— To take our daughters, our wives!

    Refrain To arms, Vendeeans! Form your battalions! March, march, The blood of the blues [revolutionaries] Will redden our furrows!

    II What of the infamous heretics Who would make the law in our homes? What of the mercenary cowards Who would crush us under their feet? (Repeat) And abominable Rodrigue [Antoine Rodrigue, a local bishop who defied papal authority to cooperate with the Revolution] Infamous henchman of the demon Who would settle in the house Of our adorable Jesus?

    Refrain

    III Tremble you perverse and timid, Before the bonfires of the adversaries. Tremble, your perfidious intrigues shall finally receive their due. (Repeat) All are raised to fight you From Saint Jean d’Monts to Beaupréau, From Angers to the town of Airvault, Our lads want to only fight.

    Refrain

    IV Christians, true sons of the Church, Reject your enemies and The weakness and the servile fear Which you see in a conquered country. (Repeat) But these bloody “citizens,” These allies of Camus, [Armand-Gaston Camus, Secretary of the Revolutionary Convention, who led in the move to seize Church property and execute the king.] These treasonous and imposed priests [This refers to the “Constitutional” priests who had sworn loyalty to the government over the pope, and were rewarded with the parishes of priests who refused; the latter were considered heroes.] Are the cause of all our miseries.

    Refrain

    V
    O Blessed Virgin Mary,
    Lead and support our avenging arms!
    Against an enemy gang,
    fight alongside your zealous warriors! (Repeat)
    To your standards
    is promised certain victory.
    The regicides’ death
    Shall be your triumph and our glory!

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