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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Après moi, le délug -Louis XV


Old King Louis XV knew things were going to fall apart after his reign. Fifteen years later, the French Revolution took place. That made such a mess of things that this little known Corsican by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte had his opportunity. Interesting times.

So I've been thinking of revolutions and changing times. The French Revolution appears to follow a general pattern. The old fossilized and corrupt system is overthrown. There's celebration in the streets. Lofty ideals are proclaimed. The revolutionaries have difficulties putting ideals into practice. A strong man, taking advantage of the chaos of the times, comes into power.

History doesn't exactly repeat itself, but it does tend to follow certain patterns. Just look to the recent history of Egypt. The Arab Spring overthrew a dictator. A period of high ideals followed. Politics got messy. Now it's basically a dictatorship again.

So I'm a bit leery of revolution. No doubt old and no longer functional systems have to change. The problem is that the high ideals behind the revolution rarely translate into a long term functional government.

The American Revolution turned out better than most. Partly due to the fact that George Washington did not want to become king. There was some amazing restraint, good planning, and no small measure of luck involved. It was a near miracle that a good governmental system was formed.

Even so, tens of thousands of Loyalists were uncomfortable enough that they left the country. Canada took in a lot of them. Even a fairly successful revolution took its toll in human suffering.

It troubles me that so many people today are willing to throw out over two hundred years of successful government. Our system is far from perfect. Parts of it are definitely broken. However, shooting those you politically disagree with never ends well. Those in government right now have a responsibility to fight out their differences in the political arena. Gaming the system for short term political gain will turn out badly in the long run.

Let history be your guide.

-Sixbears


10 comments:

  1. Even most of the members of Congress know very little about history. Things are downhill from here. Trump may delay things for a little while (though I know your opinion of him - lol).

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    1. Interesting times ahead. That's for sure.

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  2. 'let history be your guide'.
    not a chance. never before in history have human beings used logic and foresight- or, in this case, rear sight.
    man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.

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    1. We can let history be our guide, even if most people, including those in power, do not.

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  3. So much discontent by those whose party lost. Makes me wonder.

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    1. We have winner take all government right now, something in common with third world dictatorships. I'm talking about both sides too!

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  4. Seems to me that we are in the same environment the country was in during the 1850's. You just reach a point where reconciliation becomes impossible and the slide into chaos can't be halted.

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    Replies
    1. We have backed away from the edge before. One can only hope that we fix things before there is no turning back.

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