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Robespierre’s Radical Liberalism: Reflections on Ruth Scurr’s Fatal Purity

Were Robespierre and the Jacobins Proto-Socialists?

Having recently finished Ruth Scurr’s biography on Robespierre, Fatal Purity, I have had my world turned upside down on the actions of Robespierre and the course of the French Revolution. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the French Revolution was a disaster, a massively overblown response to legitimate grievances against the ancien regime. But Scurr’s biography blew apart many preconceptions that I had about what the French Revolutionaries really wanted, the differences between the various revolutionary factions, and the conditions that lead to the infamous Committee of Public Safety that summarily executed thousands of innocent French citizens.

Like any biography, particularly one about a controversial figure such as Robespierre, Scurr’s biography is subject to different criticisms. She seems to me to try to be objective as possible, but of course, no history is perfect, and is always subject to different interpretations. This being said, the book seems to be generally favorably reviewed, and I am no expert on the French Revolution, so I am not going to review the book. Instead, I am just going to make some general observations about things I learned and what some valuable lessons from Robespierre’s life and role in the French Revolution could be.

I think the most important myth that Scurr’s book shatters is that Robespierre and the Jacobins were some kind of Proto-Socialists. This is a view held by both Robespierre’s admirers and detractors.

“Last Best Hope of Earth,” or Mass Graves and the Gulag?

Some Thoughts on Griff’s Cultural Dispatches from the Alamo…

I make it a point to read Griff’s “Cultural Dispatches from the Alamo” as soon as I see them pop up on Liberty Island. (But “from the Alamo,” Griff? Are things that bad? Fannon has been massacred at Goliad, no one is coming, and Santa Anna’s band is striking up El Deguello every day?)

Griff repeatedly and accurately traces the roots of so-called “Progressivism” and its attendant cultural paroxysms back to Marxism, but the divergence of classical liberalism (modern American conservatism) from the left actually took place almost a century before Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto came out. It is found in the vast differences between the American shopkeepers and farmers who stood at Lexington and Concord to “fire the shot heard round the world” and the peasants who stormed the Bastille – their respective causes and their leadership.

Faith In Our Fathers

The FBI and Journalists’ Collusion to Throw the Election Will Corrode America’s Soul

One of the best books you haven’t read is called Flags of our Fathers. Written by James Bradley, the son of Corpsman John Bradley, one of the six men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, it is a gripping recounting of the little known fates and history of the men on Mount Suribachi in that most iconic of photographs.

As a boy, young James knew that his father was famous and respected in their little town for something, but since his father would neither talk about the mysterious event and even trained his children to deflect the telephone calls that continually came in asking for interviews, it was not until his father died that the boy learned his father was famous.

What You Believe Can Kill You… Or at Least, Kill Your Soul…

Last Thursday (June 6, 2018) was the 74thanniversary of World War II’s , the Allied invasion of Europe that began the final, inexorable push to get the Nazi foot off the neck of… well, the World.

Google (one of the most valuable companies in the world) decided not to feature a remembrance of that day on the splash page of their search engine. Apparently, it wasn’t important enough to note. On Sunday, June 10, 2018, this was featured on their splash page….

A Man, Measured

The newest installment in an ongoing series of essays on culture

Having a birthday this week lead me to some reflection.  Not on myself, of course, since I’m already too hip for the room. But I’d just seen the very decent 12 Strong the weekend before and I’d been contemplating why this enjoyable story of duty, heroism, and general smack-down of some very real, very bad guys had performed rather poorly at the box office after receiving the traditional golden shower from a lot of film critics.

To ask the question is to answer it: because it’s an enjoyable story of duty, heroism, and a general smack-down of some very real, very bad guys.

Justice, Inc.: A Global Freedom Manifesto for Libertarian Hawks

Behind J.P. Medved’s exhilarating new sci-fi thriller novel lies an exciting set of ideas

If “politics is downstream from culture,” as a wise man once said, where does one put new innovations and business breakthroughs? Could technology and entrepreneurship be more important and influential than both culture and politics?

 

 

Recommended Viewing for Patriots: ‘Monuments Men’

This fine film never had a chance.

I know a lot of conservatives (myself included) had some hesitation about this film.  I mean, we’ve got Clooney (Conservatives are Scum) and Damon (Sarah Palin is Stooopid), together again – admittedly, not quite as funny as Hope and Crosby, but in these troubled times, we take what we can get.

The Remnant 100

You’ve heard of the 300 defending the “Hot Gates” (Thermopylae)? Well, with apologies to Longfellow, “Listen my children and you shall hear of the 100 men who saved all we hold dear.” You may have also heard or seen the movie Darkest Hour about Churchill, the advent of the Battle of Britain and all that, but the “darkest hour” for the Anglo-Saxon race was not May-June 1940; it was January 878….

Killing Dictators for Fun and Profit: How the Private Sector does Foreign Intervention Better Than the Government

Could a private company do a better job in places like Iraq and Afghanistan than the U.S. government?