The French Revolution and 21st Century America

I have always believed wholeheartedly in the notion that “history repeats itself.”  I believe an adequate knowledge and understanding of history can help one understand the present and give one the discernment necessary to reasonably predict the events of the future.  As I watch the events of today unfold, I attempt to relate them to certain events in history.  Of course, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome come to mind, but just recently I began comparing modern America to the French Revolution, or rather the ten to fifteen or so years leading up to the Revolution, which began in 1789.  My knowledge of this period was broad and vague, so I decided to study it more carefully.  I began reading Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution: A History, and I was shocked at the similarities.  Modern America does not merely look “similar” to 1776-1789 pre-Revolutionary France, but it is practically an exact mirror image.  Though written unconventionally (for a history book), Carlyle’s history of the French Revolution is considered the authoritative account.  While reading it, I wrote down all of the quotes that I believed showed great similarities to modern times.  Below are those quotes, along with my explanations of how I believe they relate to modern America.  As Edmund Burke said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”  If America doesn’t educate itself soon, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of so many other Nations in history, and we will let our Democracy die.

PART I: THE BASTILLE

 

Book I: Death of Louis XV

“Alas, much more lies sick than poor Louis: not the French King only, but the French Kingship; this too, after long rough tear and wear, is breaking down.  The world is all so changed; so much that seemed vigorous has sunk decrepit, so much that was not is beginning to be!–Borne over the Atlantic, to the closing ear of Louis, King by the Grace of God, what sounds are these; muffled-ominous, new in our centuries?  Boston Harbour is black with unexpected Tea: behold, a Pennsylvanian Congress gather; and ere long, on Bunker Hill, DEMOCRACY announcing, in rifle-volleys death-winged, under her Star Banner, to the tune of Yankee-doodle-doo, that she is born, and, whirlwind-like, will envelope the whole world!” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 I believe the first part of this quote paints a picture similar to the state of our nation; the Kingship and the Presidency have become exposed as a farce, as useless; kings and presidents are no more than puppets doing the bidding of the aristocracy.  Our Capitalism, once vigorous, has now sunk decrepit.  It has not failed, but it has been corrupted.  The last part of the quote, describing the American Revolution can be seen as citing the inspiration for the French Revolution, just as the Arab Revolutions have influenced the stirrings that are beginning on our rumbling soil.

“How such ideals do realize themselves; and grow, wondrously, form amid the incongruous ever-fluctuating chaos of the Actual: this is what World-History, if it teach anything, has to teach us.  How they grow; and, after long stormy growth, bloom out mature, supreme; then quickly (for the blossom is brief) fall into decay; sorrowfully dwindle and crumble down, or rush down, noisily or noiselessly disappearing.” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 This quote describes how Ideals grow, through much struggle, and then bloom only briefly before quickly decaying.  The Ideals of America are Capitalism and Democracy (more specifically Republicanism).  Our idealistic vision of laissez-faire capitalism has decayed and rotted into corrupt ashes of what it once was; corrupted beyond mere “crony capitalism”, but corrupted fully and completely into “monopoly capitalism.”  As for Democracy, nobody ever believed it could last.  As John Adams said, “there never was a Democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”  We should not expect to be the exception to the rule, for we can clearly see our Republic is certainly gone, and our Democracy is giving way to Socialism.  

“But of those decadent ages in which no Ideal either grows or blossoms?  When Belief and Loyalty have passed away, and only the cant and false echo of them remains; and all Solemnity has become Pageantry; and the Creed of persons in authority has become one of two things: an Imbecility or a Machiavelism?  Alas, of these ages World-History can take no notice; they have to become compressed more and more, and finally suppressed in the Annals of Mankind; blotted out as spurious,–which indeed they are.  Hapless ages: wherein, if ever in any, it is an unhappiness to be born.  To be born, and to learn only, by every tradition and example, that God’s Universe is Belial’s and a Lie; and ‘the Supreme Quack’ the hierarch of men!  In which mournfullest faith, nevertheless, do we not see whole generations (two, and sometimes even three successfully) live, what they call living; and vanish,–without chance of reappearance?” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 This sad statement certainly describes the current decadent age.  Our Ideals decaying or decayed, no others bloom to take their place.  One could argue that Socialism and Communism are blooming, but we must not consider these to be “Ideals”, for they are the State of Nature.  They are what society is left with when all else fails.  They are destructive, not idealistic. 

“Disastrous indeed does it look with those same ‘realized Ideals,’ one in all!  The Church, which in its palmy season, seven hundred years ago, could make an Emperor wait barefoot, in penance-shirt, three days, in the snow, has for centuries seen itself decaying; reduced even to forget old purposes and enmities, and join interest with the Kingship: on this younger strength it would fain stay its decrepitude; and these two will henceforth stand and fall together.” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 Though our Nation was founded by Deists, not by Christians, and separation of Church and State was one of our founding ideals, Christianity has always been the closest thing to our National Religion.  Christianity was held in the highest esteem.  Now look at it.  Look how hard people, namely atheists and liberals, are fighting to silence it and its influence on our society; how secularism has infiltrated our churches to “open the minds” of the close-minded Christians and make them more tolerant of the wickedness of others; accusing Christianity of being archaic, dated, insisting that it needs to change with the times and the morality of the secular world.  And they have been quite successful.  Not mention how politicians use Christianity to win our votes, wearing their faith like an accessory to their outfit. 

“The world’s Practical Guidance too is lost, or has glided into the same miscellaneous hands.  Who is it that the King (Able-man, named also Roi, Rex, or Director) now guides?  His own huntsmen and prickers: when there is to be no hunt, it is well said, ‘Le Roi ne fera rien (Today his Majesty will do nothing).’  He lives and lingers there, because he is living there, and none has yet laid hands on him.” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 This speaks more about how the King, or President, guides no people, no nation, but is merely a puppet.  The “Practical Guidance” has fallen into the hands of the Ruling Elite.

“The Nobles, in like manner, have nearly ceased either to guide or misguide; and are now, as their master is, little more than ornamental figures.” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 The Nobles, or the Upper Class (which is the class below the Aristocracy, or the Ruling Elite), was once influential in guiding nations in a positive way, stimulating the economy and creating jobs for the Middle and Lower classes.  But now, ruined and enslaved by their own decadence, they help only themselves and are no more than decorations upon our crumbling society.

 “Close-viewed, their industry and function is that of dressing gracefully and eating sumptuously.  As for their debauchery and depravity, it is perhaps unexampled since the era of Tiberius and Commodus.” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 More on the decadence of the Upper Class and Aristocracy.

“Such are the shepherds of the people: and now how fares it with the flock?  With the flock, as is inevitable, it fares ill, and ever worse.  They are not tended, they are only regularly shorn.  They are sent for, to do statute-labour, to pay statue-taxes; to fatten battlefields (named ‘bed of honour’) with their bodies, in quarrels which are not theirs; their hand and toil is in every possession of man; but for themselves they have little or no possession.  Untaught, uncomforted, unfed; to pine stagnantly in thick obscuration, in squalid destitution and obstruction: this is the lot of the millions; peuple taillable et corveable a merci et misericorde.” – Chapter II, Realized Ideals

 A portrait very similar to that of our times and in our nation, is it not?  Are our young men not “fattening the battlefields” in quarrels which are not theirs?  Afghanistan, Iraq, soon Iran.  Is there anyone left who is not convinced that we are fighting for oil; that we are fighting to maintain and grow an Empire?  “Untaught, uncomforted, unfed”.  Most certainly untaught.  Our educational system has failed our generation, as well as the one before ours and the one after it, which is why only a few of the self-educated will see the similarities between the times leading up to the French Revolution and the times in which we live now.  If we had been educated correctly, then we would have learned from history and we would recognize the great Hell that is about to befall our Nation, and the World. 

Book II: The Paper Age

“Then how ‘sweet’ are the manners; vice ‘losing all its deformity’; becoming decent (as established things, making regulations for themselves, do); becoming almost a kind of ‘sweet’ virtue!” – Chapter I, Astraea Redux

 This is about moral relativism.  Just look at the moral decline of our Nation; how Elvis’ hips were not allowed to be shown on TV in the 50s, but now that just seems so silly and square to us.  Vice has become a sweet virtue. 

“Dreary, languid do these struggle in their obscure remoteness; their hearth cheerless, their diet thin.  For them, in this world, rises no Era of Hope; hardly now in the other,–if it be not hope in the gloomy rest of Death, for their faith too is failing.  Untaught, uncomforted, unfed!  A dumb generation; their voice only an inarticulate cry: spokesman, in the King’s Council, in the world’s forum, they have none that finds credence.  At rare intervals (as now, in 1775), they will fling down their hoes and hammers; and, to the astonishment of thinking mankind, flock hither and thither, dangerous, aimless; get the length even of Versailles.  Turgot is altering the Corn-trade, abrogating the absurdest Corn-laws; there is dearth, real, or were it even ‘factitious’; an indubitable scarcity of bread.  And so, on the 2nd day of May, 1775, these waste multitudes do here, at Versailles Chateau, in wide-spread wretchedness, in sallow faces, squalor, winged raggedness, present, as in legible hieroglyphic writing, their Petition of Grievances . . . their Petition of Grievances has been, if not read, looked at.  For answer, two of them are hanged, on a ‘new gallows forty feet high’; and the rest driven back to their dens,–for a time.” – Chapter II, Petition in Hieroglyphs

 More on the dumb generation.  We have no spokesman, except for the self-appointed ones like Kanye West, who do not wish to guide us into prosperity, but instead guide us into temptation and evil, into decadence and squalor, into nihilism and depression–the life they romanticize.  As for the last half of the quote, this sounds much like the Occupy Wall Street movement who have submitted their “99 Percent Declaration” and they will hold their National General Assembly in Philadelphia on July 4, 2012, which will be their version of the “Committees of Correspondence” of the Founding Fathers.  We have yet to see if this movement will be put to rest in a manner similar to that described at the end of the quote above.

“In fact, if we pierce through that rosepink vapour of Sentimentalism, Philanthropy, and Feasts of Morals, there lies behind it one of the sorriest spectacles.  You might ask, What bonds that ever held a human society happily together, or held it together at all, are in force here?  It is an unbelieving people; which has suppositions, hypotheses, and froth-systems of victorious Analysis; and for belief this mainly, that Pleasure is pleasant.  Hunger they have for all sweet things; and the law of Hunger: but what other law?  Within them, or over them, properly none!” – Chapter III, Questionable

 This describes the emptiness of the French people at the time, united only by their emptiness and nihilism; their lack of belief in anything other than Pleasure.  They are full of self-indulgent philosophies and theories and opinions–pseudo-intellectuals who just like to hear themselves talk.  Again, this describes our times perfectly.  

 “Their King has become a King Popinjay: with his Maurepas Government, gyrating as the weather-cock does, blown about by every wind.  Above them they see no God; or they even do not look above, except with astronomical glasses.  The Church indeed still is; but in the most submissive state; quite tamed by Philosophism; in a singularly short time; for the hour was come.  Some twenty years ago, your Archbishop Beaumont would not even let the poor Jansenists get buried: your Lomenie Brienne (a rising man, whom we shall meet with yet) could, in the name of the Clergy, insist on having the Antiprotestant Laws, which condemn to death for preaching, ‘put in execution.’  And alas, now not so much as Baron Holbach’s Atheism can be burnt,–except as pipe-matches by the private speculative individual.  Our Church stands haltered, dumb, like a dumb ox; lowing only for provender (of tithes); content if it can have that; or, with dumb stupor, expecting its further doom.” – Chapter III, Questionable

 A popinjay; a vain or conceited person.  Could you think of a more accurate way to describe President Obama?  “Blown about by every wind”?  Describes him to a T.  It continues to describe the battle between Religion and Philosophy which took place in the Age of Enlightenment, and how Philosophy and Reason won.  We had that same battle here in America in the 60s; the battle between Moral Objectivism and Moral Relativism.  The latter won.  Now, everything is permitted, as Dostoevsky wrote.

 “What to do with the Finances?  This indeed is the great question: a small but most black weather-symptom, which no radiance of universal hope can cover.” – Chapter V, Astraea Redux without Cash

 France was bankrupt due to its involvement in wars, namely the Seven Years War and the American Revolution, just as we have been bankrupted by wars.  France’s financial situation pre-Revolution mirrors our current financial situation almost exactly.  We’ll get into that more as we go. 

 “Remark, accordingly, as acknowledged grounds of Hope, at bottom mere precursors of Despair, this perpetual theorizing about Man, the Mind of Man, Philosophy of Government, Progress of the Species, and such like; the main thinking furniture of every head.  Time, and so many Montesquieus, Mablys, spokesmen of Time, have discovered innumerable things: and now has not Jean Jacques [Rousseau] promulgated his new Evangel of a Contrat Social; explaining the whole mystery of Government, and how it is contracted and bargained for,–to universal satisfaction?  Theories of Government!  Such have been, and will be; in ages of decadence.” – Chapter VII, Contrat Social

 As in Frances Age of Decadence just before the Revolution, with the saloons, coffee shops, and parties filled with self-indulgent pseudo-intellectualism, so it is in America’s current Age of Decadence.  Our brainwashed, misguided youth have plenty of “theories of Government” and think they know what’s best, though I doubt many of them have read Rousseau’s Social Contract, which I suppose we should be grateful, for the last thing we need is a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals trying to apply Rousseau’s Enlightenment Era theories on Government to the Modern Age.

 “That a new young generation has exchanged the Sceptic Creed, What shall I believe? for passionate Faith in this Gospel according to Jean Jacques, is a further step in the business; and betokens much.” – Chapter VII, Contrat Social

 Our new young generation has exchanged our skepticism for passionate Faith in the Gospel according to Marx, or Che, or Mao.  We have been brainwashed out of our skeptic Nature, and it has been replaced by blind Faith in Liberalism. 

“Blessed also is Hope; and always from the beginning there was some Millennium prophesied; Millennium of Holiness; but (what is notable) never till this New Era, any Millennium of mere Ease and plentiful Supply.  In such prophesied Lubberland, of Happiness, Benevolence, and Vice cured of its deformity, trust not, my friends!  Man is not what one calls a happy animal; his appetite for sweet victual is so enormous.  How, in this wild Universe, which storms in on him, infinite, vague-menacing, shall poor man find, say not happiness, but existence, and footing to stand on, if it be not by girding himself together for continual endeavour and endurance?  Woe, if in his heart there dwelt no devout Faith; if the word Duty had lost its meaning for him!  For as to this of Sentimentalism, so useful for weeping with over romances and on pathetic occasions, it otherwise verily will avail nothing; nay less.  The healthy heart that said to itself, ‘How healthy am I!’ was already fallen into the fatallest sort of disease.  Is not Sentimentalism twin-sister to Cant, if not one and the same with it?  Is not Cant the materia prima of the Devil; from which all falsehoods, imbecilities, abominations body themselves; from which no true thing can come?  For Cant is itself properly a double-distilled Lie; the second-power of a Lie.” – Chapter VII, Contrat Social

 This describes an Age of Ease and plentiful Supply, where man is happy and vice is cured of its deformity.  In such an Age, man cannot find happiness, much less existence and meaning; he will forget his Duty and that word will become meaningless; he will lose faith, for when all is provided and abundant, faith is unnecessary.  It’s saying trust not such times, for they are an Illusion, a Farce, Cant, Hypocrisy, the work of the Devil.  Such were the times before the French Revolution, and such are the times now.  In such times men are vulnerable to Ideals, for they long to belong to something of true substance, and they are too easily swept up into revolutions born out of selfish, shallow, unintelligent, materialistic Ideals, masquerading as Intellectual Ideals.   

“In such a practical France, let the theory of Perfectibility say what it will, discontents cannot be wanting: your promised Reformation is so indispensable; yet it comes not; who will begin it–with himself?  Discontent with what is around us, still more with what is above us, goes on increasing; seeking ever new vents.” – Chapter VIII, Printed Paper

 As I said above, in such a decadent, empty, materialistic society, man finds himself vulnerable and unsatisfied and searching for substance. 

“How is our bright Era of Hope dimmed; and the whole sky growing bleak with signs of hurricane and earthquake!  It is a doomed world: gone all ‘obedience that made men free’; fast going the obedience that made men slaves,–at least to one another.  Slaves only of their own lusts they now are, and will be.  Slaves of sin; inevitable also of sorrow.  Behold the mouldering mass of Sensuality and Falsehood; round which plays foolishly, itself a corrupt phosphorescence, some glimmer of Sentimentalism;–and over all, rising, as Ark of their Covenant, the grim Patibulary Fork ‘forty feet high’; which also is now nigh rotted.  Add only that the French Nation distinguishes itself among Nations by the characteristic of Excitability; with the good, but also with the perilous evil, which belongs to that.  There are, as Chesterfield wrote, ‘all the symptoms I have ever met with in History!’ ” – Chapter VIII, Printed Paper

 Reading the headlines daily, one can clearly see that the sky is growing bleak with signs of hurricane and earthquake, or signs of war and social unrest, and though we can see this great, dark doom approaching on the horizon, we will do nothing about it because we are slaves to our own lusts.  Instead of learning from the mistakes of the French that caused the Revolution which ended in tyranny, we are damning ourselves to the same fate.  Not to mention, America distinguishes itself from other Nations in the same way France did at the time.

 “Shall we say then: Woe to Philosophism, that it destroyed Religion, what it called ‘extinguishing the abomination (ecraser l’infame)’?  Woe rather to those that made the Holy an abomination, and extinguishable; woe to all men that live in such a time of world-abomination and world-destruction!  Nay, answer the Courtiers, it was Turgot, it was Necker, with their mad innovating; it was the Queen’s want of etiquette; it was he, it was she, it was that.  Friends!  It was every scoundrel that had lived, and quacklike pretended to be doing, and been only eating and misdoing, in all provinces of life, as Shoeblack or as Sovereign Lord, each in his degree, from the time of Charlemagne and earlier.  All this (for be sure no falsehood perishes, but is as seed sown out to grow) has been storing itself for thousands of years; and now the account-day has come.” – Chapter VIII, Printed Paper

 Turgot and Necker were Finance Minsters of France in the 1770s, just before the Revolution.  This quote is saying they blamed the actions of a few when they should have been blaming the inaction of the masses.  That is precisely what is going on at Occupy Wall Street right now.  Everybody wants to blame the bankers and the politicians when we should be taking the blame ourselves for giving them power and allowing this to happen.  If you gave a man all of your money and then realized you’re broke, but when you went to ask for the money back only to find out he spent it already, would you blame him or yourself? 

 “Thus is our Era still to be named of Hope, though in the saddest sense,–when there is nothing left but Hope.” – Chapter VIII, Printed Paper

 This sad phrase certainly rings true today.

Book III: The Parlement of Paris

“To the Oeil-de-Boeuf it remains inconceivable how, in France of such resources, the Horn of Plenty should run dry: did it not use to flow?” – Chapter I, Dishonoured Bills

 Americans are shocked and angered that we’re now 15 trillion dollars in debt, having no idea how we got here, and wondering how we had so much before. 

“Be it ‘want of fiscal genius,’ or some far other want, there is the palpablest discrepancy between Revenue and Expenditure; a Deficit of the Revenue; you must ‘choke (combler) the Deficit,’ or else it will swallow you!  This is the stern problem; hopeless seemingly as squaring a circle.  Controller [finance minister] Joly de Fleury, who succeeded Necker, could do nothing with it; nothing but propose loans, which were tardily filled up; impose new taxes, unproductive of money, productive of clamour and discontent . . . And so, towards the end of 1783, matters threaten to come to a still-stand.  Vain seems human ingenuity.  In vain has our newly devised ‘Council of Finances’ struggled, our Intendants of Finance, Controller-General of Finances: there are unhappily no Finances to control.  Fatal paralysis invades the social movement; clouds, of blindness or of blackness, envelope us: are we breaking down, then, into the black horrors of NATIONAL BANKRUPTCY?” – Chapter I, Dishonoured Bills

 This describes America’s current financial crisis exactly.  Necker would be Alan Greenspan.

 “Under he circumstances of tristesse, obstruction and sick languor, when to an exasperated Court it seems as if fiscal genius had departed from among men, what apparition could be welcomer than that of M. de Calonne?  Calonne, a man of indisputable genius; even fiscal genius, more or less; of experience both in managing Finance and Parlements, for he has been Intendant at Metz, at Lille; King’s Procureur at Douia.  A man of weight, connected with the moneyed classes; of unstained name,–if it were not some peccadillo (of showing a Client’s Letter) in that old D’Aiguillon-Lachalotais business, as good as forgotten now.  He has kinsmen of heavy purse, felt on the Stock Exchange.  Our Foulons, Berthiers intrigue for him:–old Foulon, who has now nothing to do but intrigue; who is known and even seen to be what they call a scoundrel; but of unmeasured wealth; who, from Commissariat-clerk which he once was, may hope, some think, if the game go right, to be Minister himself one day.” – Chapter II, Controller Calonne

 If Necker is Alan Greenspan, then M. de Calonne is a combination of Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson. 

“Nay, in seriousness, let no man say that Calonne had not genius: genius for Persuading; before all things, for Borrowing.  With the skillfullest judicious appliances of underhand money, he keeps the Stock Exchanges flourishing: so that Loan after Loan is filled up as soon as opened.  ‘Calculators likely to know’ have calculated that he spent, in extraordinaries, ‘at the rate of one million daily’; which indeed is some fifty thousand pounds sterling: but did he not procure something with it; namely peace and prosperity, for the time being?” – Chapter II, Controller Calonne

 This describes exactly what Bernanke and Paulson did with TARP; Paulson for his genius for persuading the politicians to allow the bailout and genius for persuading the Wall Street bankers to take the bailout.  And Bernanke with his genius for borrowing, or inflating.  This is how they kept the Stock Market going, but it was nothing more than a temporary band-aid for a wound that requires surgery. 

“The misery is, such a time cannot last!  Squandering, and Payment by Loan is no way to choke a Deficit.” – Chapter II, Controller Calonne

 Squandering and Payment by Loan is precisely how our economists and politicians are trying to “choke the Deficit”. 

 “At all events, for these three miraculous years, it has been expedient heaped on expedient: till now, with such cumulation and height, the pile topples perilous.  And here has this world’s wonder of a Diamond Necklace brought it at last to the clear verge of tumbling.  Genius in that direction can no more: mounted high enough, or not mounted, we must fare forth.” – Chapter II, Controller Calonne

 The genius of Bernanke and Paulson is not that they fixed our financial problem, but that they were able to find ways to keep pushing back the economic collapse.  That kind of genius will work no more, just as it ceased to work for France.  Like France, our debt and deficit have grown too high and there’s no way to prevent the economic collapse any longer. 

 “What are we to do?  Surely to adopt healing measures; such as the magic of genius will unfold; such as, once sanctioned by Notables, all Parlements and all men must, with more or less reluctance, submit to.” – Chapter II, Controller Calonne

 The “Notables” are the Ruling Elite, the Bankers, the Aristocracy.  The Notables, like Warren Buffett, will call for new taxes, or higher taxes, and Congress and the American citizens will reluctantly have to submit their laws, for it is they who make the laws, not the government.  It was the Notables like Warren Buffett who created the loopholes in the current tax code that gave them such outrageous tax breaks.  The tax increases they’re proposing now on the wealthy will not affect them, just like the current ones don’t affect them.  They will affect the Middle and Upper Classes.

 “In deep obscure unrest, all things have so long gone rocking and swaying: will M. de Calonne, with his alchemy of the Notables, fasten all together again, and get new revenues?  Or wrench all asunder; so that it go no longer rocking and swaying, but clashing and colliding?” – Chapter III, The Notables

 Bernanke and Paulson, with their influence over the Elite (for they are the Elite) had the power to fix our economy, but have instead decided to allow it to crumble, or “clash and collide”. 

“Alas, what to answer?  The force of private intrigue, and then also the force of public opinion, grows so dangerous, confused!  Philosophedom sneers aloud, as if its Necker already triumphed.  The gaping populace gapes over Wood-cuts or Copper-cuts; where, for example, a Rustic is represented convoking the Poultry of his barnyard, with this opening address: ‘Dear animals, I have assembled you to advise me what sauce I shall dress you with’; to which a Cock responding; ‘We don’t want to be eaten,’ is checked by ‘You wander from the point (Vous vous ecartez de la question).’ ” – Chapter III, The Notables

 The Notables treat the American people and the economy as if our destruction is inevitable, asking us how we’d like to be destroyed.

“Calonne’s plan was gathered from Turgot’s and Necker’s by compilation; shall become Lomenie’s by adoption.” – Chapter III, The Notables

 Lomenie became the Finance Minister after Calonne.  He represents Timothy Geithner.  From Greenspan to Bernanke, from Paulson to Geithner, it is just a constant recycling of failed economic policies. 

“It is Spiritual Bankruptcy, long tolerated; verging now towards Economical Bankruptcy, and become intolerable.  For from the lowest dumb rank, the inevitable misery, as was predicted, has spread upwards.  In every man is some obscure feeling that his position, oppressive or else oppressed, is a false one: all men, in one or the other acrid dialect, as assaulters or as defenders, must give vent to the unrest that is in them.  Of such stuff national well-being, and the glory of rulers, is not made.” – Chapter IV, Lomenie’s Edicts

 Spiritual Bankruptcy leads to the destruction of society.  History has taught us this.  We need not look further than Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome, and 18th Century France is just another example of this.  Empires are destroyed by Decadence.  America is poised to repeat this historic inevitability.  At the end of the quote it says man must give vent to the unrest in him, and this is not in the best interest of national well-being.  The unrest that our Spiritual and Economic Bankruptcy is creating within the American people right now will lead to social unrest and violence and revolution, and this will not save our country, but only ensure our destruction and open the door to tyranny and totalitarianism, as it did in France. 

“Shallower but also louder, there is magnetic D’Espremenil, with his tropical heat (he was born at Madras); with his dusky confused violence; holding of Illumination, Animal Magnetism, Public Opinion, Adam Weishaupt, Harmodius and Aristogiton, and all manner of confused violent things: of whom can come no good.  The very Peerage is infected with the leaven.  Our Peers have, in too many cases, laid aside their frogs, laces, bag-wigs; and go about in English costume, or ride rising in their stirrups,–in the most headlong manner; nothing but insubordination, eleutheromania, confused unlimited opposition in their heads.  Questionable: not to be ventured upon, if we had a Fortunatus’ Purse!  But Lomenie has waited all June, casting on the waters what oil he had; and now, betide as it may, the two Finance Edicts must out.  On the 6th of July, he forwards his proposed Stamptax and Landtax to the Parlement of Paris; and, as if putting his own leg foremost, not his borrowed Calonne’s-leg,–places the Stamptax first in order.” – Chapter IV, Lomenie’s Edicts

 Here, Thomas Carlyle alludes to the Illuminati’s involvement in the French Revolution.  This is well-documented, common knowledge now, but in 1837, one had to be more subtle about such things if one was an unestablished writer trying to climb the ladder of success.  Aside from using the phrase “holding of Illumination”, he also states that D’Espremenil was a peer of Adam Weishaupt who was the founder of the Bavarian Illuminati.  What he’s saying is that the peers of those making the decisions in France’s Parlement that led to the Nation’s collapse were the Illuminati and other “special interest groups”, and they were the ones really pulling the strings behind the scenes, trying to bring the Nation to Revolution to destroy the Monarchy and replace it with Democracy (temporarily), or rather their own version of Democracy.  This is what is currently going on in America and the EU: Governments are being pushed into collapse by the corporations, the banks, the Elite, the Illuminati, who own them.  They are leading us down the path they’ve had created for us all along; from Monarchy to Democracy, from Democracy to Socialism, and from Socialism to International Communism, i.e., One World Government.

 “Alas, the Parlement will not register: the Parlement demands instead a ‘state of the expenditure,’ a ‘state of the contemplated reductions’; ‘states’ enough; which his Majesty must decline to furnish!” – Chapter IV, Lomenie’s Edicts

 This is similar to the partisan politics going on between Congress and the Senate and Congress and the President.  Congress proposes their financial plan, and the Senate and/or the President shuts it down.  The President proposes his financial plan and Congress shuts it down. 

“After a dull month, the Parlement, yielding and retaining, makes truce, as all Parlements must.  The Stamptax is withdrawn: the Subvention Landtax is also withdrawn; but, in its stead, there is granted, what they call a ‘Prorogation of the Second Twentieth,’–itself a kind of Landtax, but not so oppressive to the Influential classes; which lies mainly on the Dumb class.  Moreover, secret promises exist (on the part of the Elders), that finances may be raised by Loan.  Of the ugly word States-General there shall be no mention.” – Chapter V, Lomenie’s Thunderbolts

 Washington does this all the time, and has done it ever since the creation of the Central Banking System by Alexander Hamilton in 1791.  One tax or bill is proposed and shot down, and then that same tax or bill is proposed again under a different name, and the American people fall for it every time.  Like the French government, our government also forces the heavy burden of taxes on the dumb Middle Class while the Influential classes shoulder none of the weight.  This is because secret promises exist between the government and the Influential classes, because the Influential classes own the government and exempt themselves from taxes.  This is precisely why the Founding Fathers were so vehemently opposed to a Central Banking System; they knew that it would benefit only the businesses and the Notables who owned the businesses, and alienate and burden the Middle and Lower Classes. 

“Over the Frontiers, behold Holland invaded by Prussia; the French party oppressed, England and the Standtholder triumphing: to the sorrow of War-secretary Montmorin and all men.  But without money, sinews of war, as of work, and of existence itself, what can a Chief Minister do?  Taxes profit little: this of the Second Twentieth falls not due till next year; and will then, with its ‘strict valuation,’ produce more controversy than cash.  Taxes on the Privileged Classes cannot be got registered; are intolerable to our supporters themselves: taxes on the Unprivileged yield nothing,–as from a thing drained dry more cannot be drawn.  Hope is nowhere, if not in the old refuge of Loans.” – Chapter VI, Lomenie’s Plots

 President Obama, the Senators, the Congressmen, and all of Washington will not tax the Privileged Classes because it is the Privileged Classes’ donations that fund their political campaigns.  They can’t bite the hand that feeds them.  Now, we’ve got the Republican candidates saying they believe everybody, even the impoverished Lower classes, needs to pay taxes, even if it’s just a dollar, as some of them have said.  Both parties are fueling a class war that will lead to revolution.  A revolution of the people against an oppressive government is one thing, but a Proletarian Revolution against the Bourgeoisie is a whole other monster.  The former (usually) ends in Democracy (e.g. American Revolution) while the latter can only end in tyranny, as is the case with the French Revolution.  A Proletarian Revolution like the one Washington and the Banks and the Ruling Elite are pushing us towards is messy and ugly and breeds the most horrify atrocities committed by man.  Such a revolution will have the people begging for their Government to save them, begging for a Dictator to fix everything and tell them what to do, begging for Martial Law to protect them.  That is precisely what happened at the end of the French Revolution with Napoleon, and it is what will happen in America if the Elite’s attempt at manufacturing a Proletarian Revolution is a success. 

“Paris is what, in figurative speech, they call ‘flooded with pamphlets (regorge de brochures)’; flooded and eddying again.  Hot deluge,–from so many Patriot read-writers, all at the fervid or boiling point; each ready-writer, now in the hour of eruption, going like an Iceland Geyser!” – Chapter VII, Internecine

 Newspapers and magazines are not the only outlets to “flood” America with Washington’s rhetoric.  Instead of pamphlets, we have Blogs (like this one); we have Twitter and Facebook and social networking.  The Occupy protesters are even writing pamphlets and manifestos and petitions now. 

Book IV: States-General

“How to shape the States-General?  There is a problem.  Each Body-corporate, each privileged, each organized Class has secret hopes of its own in that matter; and also secret misgivings of its own,–for, behold, this monstrous twenty-million Class, hitherto the dumb sheep which these others had to agree about the manner of shearing, is now also arising with hopes!  It has ceased or is ceasing to be dumb; it speaks through Pamphlets, or at least brays and growls behind them, in unison,–increasing wonderfully their volume of sound.” – Chapter I, The Notables Again

 This could be said of the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement.  The people are “waking up” in some ways.  They are starting to see how they have been the slaves, the sheep, of the Government and the Banks and the Corporations, and more, they’re starting to see those things are one in the same.  They’re speaking through Pamphlets, or social networks and blogs, and they growling and chanting in unison, and their voice is spreading around the country and the world.  But awakening from one nightmare does not mean they have awoken from the others.  The people are still sheep, being led in the direction the Elite’s desires, making them feel as if they’re revolting against the system when in reality they’re merely continuing to play into the game, pushing it to the next level. 

“–you behold how this multitudinous French People so long simmering and buzzing in eager expectancy, begins heaping and shaping itself into organic groups.  Which organic groups, again, hold smaller organic grouplets: the inarticulate buzzing becomes articulate speaking and acting.  By Primary Assembly, and then by Secondary; by ‘successive elections,’ and infinite elaboration and scrutiny, according to prescribed process,–shall the genuine ‘Plaints and Grievances’ be at length got to paper; shall the fit National Representative be at length laid hold of.” – Chapter II, The Election

 This is exactly what the protesters at Occupy Wall Street did.  The reason they have been such a success is because soon after they gathered as one group at Wall Street, they quickly began to break down into multiple groups.  Each group had representatives interacting with the representatives of the other groups, organizing the movement as a whole, so that each part was working in unison, as opposed to just one giant mob marching aimlessly.  They also have written their Declaration, and they will hold a National General Assembly July 4, 2012, at which they will draft and vote upon a Petition of Grievances.  This Petition of Grievances will then be submitted to every member of Congress, the Supreme Court, the President, and all Political Candidates running in the 2012 Election.  They go on to state in their Declaration that if the Petition of Grievances is not acted upon to the satisfaction of the Delegates of the National General Assembly, they will organize a third party to run candidates for every seat in the mid-term Election of 2014. 

“If poor famishing men shall, prior to death, gather in groups and crowds, as the poor fieldfares and plovers do in bitter weather, were it but that they may chirp mournfully together, and misery look in the eyes of misery; if famishing men (what famishing fieldfares cannot do) should discover, once congregated, that they need not die while food is in the land, since they are many, and with empty wallets have right hands: in all this, what need were there of Preternatural Machinery?  To most people none; but not to French people, in a time of Revolution.  These Brigands (as Turgot’s also were, fourteen years ago) have all been set on; enlisted, though without tap of drum,–by Aristocrats, by Democrats, by D’Orleans, D’Artois, and enemies of the public weal.” – Chapter II, The Election

 The “Brigands” of the French Revolution were co-opted by Aristocrats such as the Duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe II, and Charles X (Comte D’Artois), both of whom benefited greatly from the Revolution.  Though D’Orleans’ was guillotined in the Reign of Terror in 1793, his son became King of France in 1830 in the July Monarchy, taking the throne from Charles X who had become King in 1824 in the House of Bourbon.  Just as D’Orleans and D’Arois co-opted the French Revolution to steer it in a direction that would benefit them, so it is with George Soros, Van Jones, and others with the Occupy movement, and the Koch Brothers with the Tea Party; the co-opters of the Occupy movement being likened to the liberal D’Orleans, and the co-opters of the Tea Party being likened to the conservative Charles X.  Proletarian Revolutions are guided by puppeteers, and the Revolutionaries are the puppets. 

 Book V: The Third Estate

“There is the indisputablest scarcity of corn;–be it Aristocrat-plot, D’Orleans-plot, of this year; or drought and hail of last year: in city and province, the poor man looks desolately towards a nameless lot.  And this States-General, that could make us an age of gold, is forced to stand motionless; cannot get its powers verified!  All industry necessarily languishes, if it be not that of making motions.” – Chapter I, Intertia

 Though we’re not suffering from a food crisis (yet), we might equate the scarcity of corn in France to our scarcity of jobs here in America, and after nearly three years of 9 plus percent unemployment, the poor man, the jobless man, is certainly looking desolately towards an unpleasant, if not uncertain, future.  The writer also alludes to the possibility that the food shortage was done deliberately by the Aristocracy, or D’Orleans, in order to worsen the condition of the poor and cause them to revolt.  He goes on to say the States-General could fix these problems, but instead stands motionless.  I believe that our current economic crisis was done deliberately, or at the very least, allowed to happen, in order to set the stage and the conditions for revolution, or social unrest, to create a chaotic environment in which the government will be able to capitalize on the vulnerability of the suffering people and establish a totalitarian, Collectivist State.  Like France’s States-General, our Congress could get us out of this and guide us into a golden age, but instead is forced to stand motionless due to the polarized state of our government and our people.

 “So triumphs the Third Estate; and States-General are become National Assembly; and all France may sing Te Deum.  By wise inertia, and wise cessation of inertia, great victory has been gained.  It is the last night of June: all night you meet nothing on the streets of Versailles but ‘men running with torches,’ with shouts and jubilation.” – Chapter II, Mercury de Breze

 This would coincide with the Occupy protests if their National General Assembly on July 4, 2012 is a success. 

“On Monday, the huge City has awoke, not to its week-day industry: to what a different one!  The working man has become a fighting man; has one want only: that of arms.  The industry of all crafts has paused;–except it be the smith’s, fiercely hammering pikes; and, in a faint degree, the kitchener’s, cooking offhand victuals, for bouche va toujours.” – Chapter V, Give Us Arms

 Now, the Revolution is in full swing.  The people have realized they will not achieve social justice through diplomatic means; that the state of the economy will not get any better.  They have no other option but to make Revolution their profession.  We could be heading in that direction. 

 “All shops, unless it be the Bakers’ and Vintners’, are shut: Paris is in the streets;–rushing, foaming like some Venice wine-glass into which you had dropped poison.  The tocsin, by order, is pealing madly from all steeples.” – Chapter V, Give Us Arms

 More of the above.

 “Vain is protesting, entreaty on bare knees: the House of Saint-Lazarus has that in it which comes not out by protesting.  Behold, how, from every window, it vomits: mere torrents of furniture, of bellowing and hurly-burly;–the cellars also leaking wine.  Till, as was natural, smoke rose,–kindled, some say, by the desperate Saint-Lazaristes themselves, desperate of other riddance; and the Establishment vanished from this world in flame.  Remark nevertheless that “a thief” (set on or not by Aristocrats), being detected there, is ‘instantly hanged.’ ” – Chapter V, Give us Arms

 Peaceful protest becomes fruitless.  The peaceful Revolution must graduate to the next logical step: looting.  In the second or third week of the Occupy Wall Street protest, the protesters marched from Wall Street to the neighborhoods and homes of the bank CEOs.  They didn’t break into and loot the homes of the Aristocrats as described in the quote above, but there was an obvious shift in their thinking.  They had shifted from an abstract blame on corporations/banks to blaming the rich themselves; the people.  It was at this moment that it turned into a class war and became a Proletarian Revolution.  So, as this Occupy movement progresses, scenes like that described in the quote above will be a likely occurrence in the logical progression of such a movement.  And once the looting begins, violence is quick to follow. 

Book VI: Consolidation

“Ill stands it now with the Seigneur, who, for example; ‘has walled up the only Fountain of the Township’; who has ridden high on his chartier and parchments; who has preserved Game not wisely but too well.  Churches also, and Canonries, are sacked, without mercy; which have shorn the flock too close, forgetting to feed it.  Woe to the land over which Sansculottism, in its day of vengeance, tramps roughshod,–shod in sabots!  Highbred Seigneurs, with their delicate women and little ones, had to ‘fly half-naked,’ under cloud of night: glad to escape the flames, and even worse.  You meet them at the tables-d’bote of inns; making wise reflections or foolish, that ‘rank is destroyed’; uncertain whither they shall now wend.  The metayer will find it convenient to be slack in paying rent.  As for the Tax-gatherer, he, long hunting as a biped of prey, may now find himself hunted as one; his Majesty’s Exchequer will not ‘fill up the Deficit,’ this season: it is the notion of many that a Patriot Majesty, being the Restorer of French Liberty, has abolished most taxes, though, for their private ends, some men make a secret of it.” – Chapter III, The General Overturn

 Not even the Churches are safe from the wrath of the Revolutionaries, and rightfully so, for it was the Church’s duty and pledge and philosophy to provide for the poor.  That is how a Christian society should function.  It is not the Government’s responsibility to take care of the poor, it is the Church’s.  That is what Jesus taught and that is the foundation of Christianity.  But the Church became selfish, corrupt, decadent, and arrogant like the Aristocracy and the Government, and soon found itself in their pockets, no longer serving the people but their own interests and the interests of the Privileged classes.  This problem continues today as selfish Republican ideology has corrupted the Protestant Churches, making them forget their duty to the poor, just as Liberal ideology has corrupted the Catholic Church with moral relativism.  The quote goes on to say, “rank is destroyed”.  This is the goal of the Proletarian Revolution and class warfare: to destroy the class system.  This sounds good in theory, but it results in a two-class system: the poor workers and the Elite who rule them.  A Proletariat Revolution sets out to destroy the Upper Class, the Aristocracy, the Bourgeoisie, and the Elite, but instead destroys the Middle Class.  

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