Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Of Revolutions and Coups

Today is Tuesday, 13 July 2010.

Here perhaps WDR (“weinerdogzrule”) and I reach another impasse.

A revolution does indeed intend to fundamentally transform an established social order. I submit that the Event of ’76 fails to meet that definition. The Founding Fathers were part of the ruling elite, in the same sense that non-royal and non-noble persons of wealth and/or influence were on the Mother Island. The FFs didn’t intend to upset the social applecart, and create, for example, direct democracy and/or socialism. The FFs meant to sever their connections with the layers of elite above them, on the Mother Island, and usurp their places, while, economically, for example, the social order carried on as usual. The American republic was intended to preserve the basic social order “Under New Management”, in a classic American phrase. (Blacks, Females, Native Americans: Need Not Apply.)

Thus, I call the Event of ’76 a coup. I think WDR defines the latter too narrowly, in the sense of the mechanics of the classic Latin American version. The FFs raised alternative military forces, which they directed to depose the representatives of the rightful (by the Law of the Land) king, and replace the latter and his minions with themselves. Substituting, by force, a new boss for an old boss, is a coup, not a revolution.

As to the FFs being creatures of their culture, their time and place, I would identify them, not as creatures of colonial America in the late 18th Century, but as creatures of the culture of the ruling elite mentality, which remains fundamentally constant over times and places. That is, the elites always and everywhere exploit the masses.

Creation myths abound, and it’s usually, and boringly, all about Exceptionalism.

“Daddy/Mommy/God/History likes ME better!”

The creation myth of an American “revolution” is no exception.

(Personally, were I to wish to savour a creation myth, I'd go with Coyote the Trickster. That whole stealing-fire-from-the-gods thing appeals to me. And Coyote isn't stuck with that nasty liver complication.)


Anonymous weary of the crap said...

WTF are you doing, HH? You are just trying to stir up discussion. Oh ya, I guess that is the idea. It seems the only way you can get people to comment on your blog is for you to throw out some outrageous comment/thought and hope the dogs chew on it.

F*ck man, when are you going to move to France? You seem to distain everything about the United States. That old rubarb is getting o-l-d. Some of us are not as amused as we once were.

And yes, it is your blog, so you have every right to put out whatever you want.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous my mama raised me better said...

Dear weary,

Yes, it is HH's blog, and yes, I perceive that he likes to stir up discussion. Since you answered your own questions, I fail to see the reason for the gratuitous nasty and insulting remarks. If you are not amused, turn off the TV.

Legitimate disagreement is one thing; using the anonymity of a blog to make pointless disparaging remarks is another. I see no reason to retire civility and adopt rudeness just because my identity is hidden.

2:29 PM  
Blogger fubarbeliever said...

Again with the redefining of terms.

WDR again defines something (coup) "too narrowly", that is, within the common context, usage and understanding of the meaning of the word. Seems your arguments hinge on your redefining words or terms to conform with your rationale.

AND the FFs were not part of the ruling elite; although many of them came from some wealth, many others did not. John Adams was no rich man (at least prior to his stint as Ambassador to France), and he and Abigail struggled mightily to raise and educate their children on their meager earnings and small farm (usually with her left behind to bear the lion's share of the workload).

The FFs WERE, however, absolutely creatures of their culture, inhabitants of their time and place - how could they be otherwise? And their efforts in breaking away from the British crown and forming a new nation were hardly an "exploitation" of the masses.

(Personally, I've never been a big fan of Prometheus, either. Kronos appeals to me.)

11:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home