Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why is the French Revolution Important for America in 2006

Reading the comments from my post of 11/14 has led me to make a statement to explain why we should study the French Revolution. The Revolution was not simply about liberty, equality, and fraternity. It was also about cultural and moral change that was, at its heart, anti-Christian. A fact that shows this is that the Marquis de Sade (the "father" of Sadism) was a prisoner in the Bastille up until the evening of July 13th, 1789. When the revolutionaries rushed the Bastille on July 14th, the first room they ran to, in the hopes of liberating him, was the Marquis de Sade. The French Revolution began what some historians call an over 100 year cultural war in France that was eventually won by the Revolutionaries in the early 20th Century.

The Revolutionaries themselves, I am thinking of Condorcet as an example, thought that culturally, the elite Germans were ahead of the French at the moment the Revoltuion began. As a sign of this, he could point to the 130,000 priests and religious in France that served a population of 26 million. Germany, on the other hand, had far far fewer vocations and the Church's influence on culture, especially in Prussia, was waning. By the 1820s, France ordained six or so priests a year, far from replacement levels. There was a revitalization of the Church in France in the 19th Century, but the Church seemed to have lost the "war" of French culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries. This was due, in part, to way in which the revolutionaries controlled the media, the culture, spread pornography throughout the country, and, in general, was able to control the minds and hearts of Frenchmen, at least as far as they behaved.

Due to the two great European civil wars in the first half of the Twentieth Century, wars that were the fruit of the moral combat of the 19th Century, many of the cultural revolutionaries of France and Germany came to the United States. They have been promoting cultural revolution here since the late 19th Century. This is what Adams feared, the erosion of a moral culture that would undermine political concord. The fruit of an stable moral culture could be an easier acceptance of great wars that will either build up or destroy an empire. And so, it is worth looking into the unfolding of the Revolution, not simply to understand the particular dates and events, but to understand the nature of the tension that exists between the Christian way of life and the revolutionary way of life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm both amazed and a little intimidated that I'm the only one who has posted comments. Perhaps it is because I am such a dim bulb and my experience of "the light going on" was not common to other readers of the blog. I had never considered the cultural impact of the FR (vastly, vastly more significant than any of its political "achievements").
I think that it's ironic that a couple of years ago, in response to France refusing to grant access to their air space to our war planes, blowhards like O'Reilly were calling French fries "Liberty Fries" or some other dumb name which never caught on...when the damage the FR has done to our culture is far more dangerous than that done by the 9-11 murderers and their fellow-terrorists. Wow, this blog is a real eye-opener for me.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Joe Philipowicz said...

Don't worry, there several readers who do not leave comments. Also, there are some who email me comments. Finally, even if no one read it, it gives me an impetus to get going on a book; so, I appreciate even one set of comments.

12:07 PM  

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