Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day!

Today is Wednesday, 14 July 2010.

The Museum of the Bourgeois is pleased to welcome a guest columnist, Mr. Victor Laszlo:

The English Revolution of 1642-1649, the French Revolution of 1789, and the February Russian Revolution of 1917 can all be fairly understood as “bourgeois revolutions”. Until those events, in their respective nations, an essentially medieval and feudal ethos dominated political affairs. That is, political power largely resided in the hands of those deemed to possess royal, noble, or aristocratic “blood”, which is to say descent, from the adventurers and political gangsters who had originally established the various dynasties. Economically, the ancien regimes were fundamentally based on ownership of large tracts of land, and exploitation of the agriculturalists who actually worked them.

The “bourgeois revolutions” occurred because the previous managements had failed to understand that economic productivity had increasingly passed into the hands of merchants and artisans of many kinds, who, though some were significant landowners, derived their real fortunes from business. Thus, the previous managements had failed to accommodate the growing bourgeois classes by significantly sharing political power. As history worked out, it required the shed blood of many members of the previous managements, plus the deaths and sufferings of far more innocent victims, to gain the attention of the various “blood” aristocracies.

As the bumper stickers on the back bumpers of the carriages of Charles I, Louis XVI, and Nicholas II purportedly read: “I’ll give up my divine right to rule when they pry my cold, hard fingers from my sword”.

How did the “bourgeois revolutions” work out? Perhaps it’s best to go with Zhou Enlai’s reply, when asked about the impact of the French Revolution: “It’s too soon to tell”.

At any rate, “Happy Bastille Day!” to all.

Note to ‘weary of the crap”:

I don’t see why classifying the Event of ’76 as a coup within the ruling elites, rather than as a revolution, should be deemed “outrageous”. Certainly, the majority of residents of the American Colonies at the time wouldn’t have noticed any revolutionary change in the social order: Blacks remained slaves, Native Americans remained vermin (“merciless Savages”, in the Declaration) to be hunted down and exterminated, females remained bitches and property, most white males still lacked the net worth necessary to vote, etc.

And what’s with this dis France thing that’s so popular? Such ingratitude. Were it not for the French army and navy forces which the government of Louis XVI committed in the final years of the rebellion, and, perhaps even more important, the fact that the struggle between England and France over European primacy was far more important to England than the Colonies, the Brits might well have won.

I don’t deny that some good has issued from the American experiment. However, my studies in and reflections on philosophy, theology, history, etc. have led me to the conclusion that our attentions must be directed far more toward victims than victors.

And, I gave up saying things just to stir up shitstorms back during the Second Indochina War. When I say/write something, I do so because I believe it’s true, and that people should consider it. The state of humanity and the planet is far too perilous, there is far too much pointless and unnecessary suffering, to indulge in grandstanding. And that’s always been the case.


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