Quote of the Day: Burke’s Reflection on the Revolution in France


They were possessed with a spirit of proselytism in the most fanatical degree, – and from thence, by an easy progress, with the spirit of persecution according to their means. What was not to be done towards their great end by any direct or immediate act might be wrought by a longer process through the medium of opinion. To command that option, the first step is to establish a dominion over those who direct it. They contrived to possess themselves, with great method and perseverance, of all avenues to literary fame. Many of them, indeed, stood high in the ranks of literature and science. The world had done them justice, and in favor of general talents forgave the evil tendency of their peculiar principles. This was true liberality, which they returned by endeavoring to confine the reputation of sense, learning, and taste to themselves or their followers.

Edmund Burke

The more things change…

This quote is from Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and I am struck by how well he describes our contemporary culture. The more I read older classics like Burke’s, the more I’m convinced there really isn’t anything new under the sun. In the 21st century, we just have social media and big tech to make it easier for the “spirit of persecution” to insinuate itself into every aspect of peoples’ lives.

Civilization survived the French Revolution, so I’m optimistic we’ll survive our current situation. I’m not ready to give up hope yet!

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  1. Raful Member

    Having finished the abridged _Gulag Archipelago_ (how very Russian for the abridgement to be ~500 pages), I’m currently reading (listening to) Popkin’s _A New World Begins_ about the French Revolution in order to better understand the idolatrous cult of Leftism they bequeathed us.

    Civilization is still threatened by the basic idea from that era:  people jealously feel entitled to others’ property and labor, and will eagerly support tyrants and mobs willing to steal it for them, unfettered by old-fashioned gleefully-abandoned Thou Shalt Not morality.   Because it’s a cult, heretics will be persecuted, often with extreme prejudice.  It all began in France, but we saw it again in the Bolshevik USSR and other countries who experienced cultural and governmental revolutions.   And it’s increasingly popular in the Anglophone world, with those lacking a Bill of Rights (UK, Canada) first in line to walk the plank into _1984_.

    The American ideals of tolerance, liberty, truth and equal-justice are anathema and rightly seen as counterrevolutionary.   The Left is intolerant, coercive, deceptive and unjust, and if the Right can’t reach those in its sway, would the Liberals please step up and deprogram them before it’s too late?


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