Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Conservatism and Sexual Revolution

Previous comments from previous posts, which are very insightful, have led me to take a second look at an aspect of Adams's biography, his arrival to France for the first time as a diplomat.

The biographer, Shaw, explains that Adams was struck by how forthright a bourgeois French lady was about physical intimacy. He also described certain delights that took place in the theater.

What Shaw indicates, is that Adams was ambiguous about this situation. He describes in his letters how much he delighted in these situations. He never seemed to fully repent of them, though, he did not like what he saw in the libertine behavior of Franklin in Paris.

At the same time, he never seemed to speak of in his letters the moral decadence of France leading up to the Revolution. Voltaire and his associates were clearly engaged in a campaign to subvert French morals. The story of Adams on his arrival to France seems to indicate that Adams was ambiguous about France. He did not seem to identify this as part of the problem leading up to the French Revolution. He saw it more as one that involved a lack of knowledge about political institutions.

Is there a blindness here? In other letters, Adams seems aware of the need for a moral order to uphold any constitution. Though, he does not seem to be concerned about the ambiguous at best moral order in France on his arrival. In his critiques of the revolution, he tends to emphasize more the political failings, not the failings of the moral life of France.

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Blogger Tortoise(notHare) said...

Thank you for the clarifications and corrections.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Tortoise(notHare) said...

Another question.
Kevin Phillips made much of the religious backgrounds of the opposing sides in the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War (War Between the States as they say in the South). He did not address any aspects of the FR, even as related to JA, TJ etc.
I thought the best quotation was from King George III who described the American Revolution (in its early stages) as "that damned Presbyterian War".
Is there any consistent pattern regarding the religious background and beliefs of the opposing sides related to the FR and the proper structure of government?

10:32 AM  

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