We’ll give them a whiff of grapeshot.Napoleon Bonaparte
Some say the French Revolution turned a corner when Napoleon Bonaparte, on the 13th of Vendemaire (5 Oct.) 1795, ordered 40 cannons to open fire on an armed Paris mob of 30,000. The mob was coming to attack the National Convention at the Tuileries Palace. Between four hundred and a thousand “citizens” in the front ranks of the mob were mowed down by grapeshot and bullets. The mob fled in panic. Power in France remained with five men who, by 1799, gave way to one man — Napoleon.
In America, right now, a revolution is underway. The revolutionaries see themselves as champions of equality, anti-racism and “saving” the planet. The mentality behind today’s revolution may be glimpsed in the “second tactical briefing” of Adbusters Media Foundation (regarding a 50-day siege of the White House scheduled for 17 September). According to Adbusters, America is oppressed by “dark forces,” consisting of “alt-right hordes and white supremacists” allegedly aligned with President Donald Trump. To save American democracy from these “minions of evil,” hundreds of thousands of “peaceful protesters” are being summoned to Washington, D.C. Their stated goal is “to remind this authoritarian regime” of the left’s significance.
The Adbusters Media Foundation is based in Canada. It is not even American. Yet they have decided to intervene in American politics. The left is international, of course, having little regard for borders or nations. The left is also opposed to traditional religion. Their revolutionary ideology is something out of the John Lennon song, Imagine. Some think this song is beautiful. But on close inspection, it is a denunciation of God and country (and also, property):
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world….
Coming from a super-rich rock star living under capitalism, the song is a very peculiar blend of melody and hypocrisy. If you try to “imagine” a world without religious faith, without nations or property, you’d better brace yourself; for people who believe in nothing are dangerous, and people who have no country are called “stateless persons,” like the Jews who were gassed by Hitler. To make a republic of the whole world is to build a Tower of Babel that will collapse in civil war. And a world without property is even less pretty; for as no one owns anything, none will take care of anything. Why would anyone make something, or build something, if it cannot be sold as property to someone else? The communist values expressed in John Lennon’s song are, in practice, an inversion of all those necessary things that make civilization possible in the first place. And yet, our revolutionaries, knowing neither philosophy nor history, see themselves as philosophers and makers of history.
If our young revolutionaries knew even a little history, they would know how much blood was spilled trying to build their socialist utopia in the twentieth century. If they knew a little about political science, they would know that their ideal signifies tyranny in practice. But they know almost nothing. That is what damns these children of revolution. Their ideals were tested in Soviet Russia and Communist China, Cuba and Venezuela — and many other places, too. The result of socialist revolutions is always civil strife, man-made famine, mass executions, secret informers, show trials, gulags and poverty.
To be so dishonest as to affirm a lie, and fight for that lie, is to renounce one’s own humanity. Here is a passage into soul-rotting corruption if there ever was one. To be so careless, so thoughtless, as to unwittingly side with totalitarian “ideals,” is to declare oneself the enemy of all who think, and all who truly care. This thoughtlessness is reflected in the very language of our young revolutionaries. Consider, if you will, the outrageous profanities of Black Lives Matter activist John Sullivan, who gave the following speech on August 29th to a leftist crowd in Washington, D.C.:
…my name is John Sullivan. I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah. My group is Insurgents USA. We [are] about to burn this shit down. Fuck this shit…. Power to the people! Power to the people! Power to the people! [Crowd repeats the refrain] Damn right! We gotta fucking rip Trump out of that office over there, pulling him out of that shit. We [are] not about waiting for the next election. We [are] about to go get that motherfucker. I am about that shit. Because you know what time it is? I want you to repeat after me. It’s time for revolution! It’s time for revolution! It’s time for revolution! [Crowd repeats the refrain.]
This is John Lennon’s song without the prettifying tune. It is, of course, a seditious refrain — inciting rebellion against the government. As such, it is punishable by fines and imprisonment, though it is doubtful Sullivan will ever be punished. This revolutionary agitation is, on all sides, nurtured by the misguided tolerance of the state. What will come of this?
“Ideas have consequences,” noted Richard M. Weaver, in a book of the same title. Absolute truth exists; and we are obligated, as human beings, to find that truth and live by that truth. Otherwise, civilization declines or collapses; for civilization rises only so far as truth is honored. The violent revolutionary of today, however, doesn’t believe in absolute truth. He may not even believe in reality. False notions, taught by socialist professors, have degraded him. The same can be said about our dreadful politicians — whose sickening fabrications are no longer endurable.
The false ideas of the left, which underlie today’s revolution and may prove fatal to our country, are nurtured and transmitted by our universities. They are winked at by politicians and repeated ad nauseam by the media. In their present form, they demonize one man: President Donald J. Trump. As in the “second tactical briefing” of the Adbusters Media Foundation, we find Trump described as “this howling void of a president” with “sins too many to name….” But the real “howling void” is found on the left. The Canadian Adbusters claim to be working for “a global movement of systemic change — a Global Spring — a cultural heave towards true world order.” But it’s all nonsense. They wouldn’t know what a “true world order” is. In the first place, if they cared about oppression, they’d be agonizing over the slave labor camps of China and North Korea. But no. They are preparing to attack the White House; and after that, the suburbs.
Who, indeed, will defend the suburbs? Which officer, assigned to defend, would say with Bonaparte, “We’ll give them a whiff of grape”? Who has the nerve?
In 1850 Thomas Carlyle wrote, “The French explosion [of 1848], not anticipated by the cunningest men … [defied all] computation or control. Close following which … all Europe exploded….” He added. “Everywhere immeasurable democracy rose monstrous, loud, blatant, inarticulate as the voice of chaos.” Carlyle said that civilization “was scandalously laid bare to dogs and the profane….” The kings of Europe “stared in sudden horror, the voice of the whole world bellowing in their ear, “Begone, ye imbecile hypocrites … Off with you, off!” What was most damning, thought Carlyle, was the weakness of the official response. None “stood upon his Kingship, as upon a right he could afford to die for, or to risk his skin….” Carlyle called this weak response an “alarming peculiarity.” He wrote, “Democracy, on this new occasion, finds all Kings conscious that they are but Play-actors.”
Today we do not have a king, but a Constitution. Is our Constitution, now, a play-acted Constitution? Will anyone seriously uphold it? For if you have pledged to defend the Constitution, what is your obligation regarding its enemies? Are you not obliged to deal with them? If you have pledged allegiance and you are a mayor, a governor, a president, a commanding general, what are you waiting for? Are you not sworn to defend the Constitution against “all enemies, foreign and domestic”? Or is it a play-acted oath that all these play-acting officials have pretended to take?
Ah, of course, they never intended to keep the oath! When they swore, they were all just pretending. The whole of our officialdom, then, is a fraud! Here is Carlyle’s “alarming peculiarity” in our own time, in which solemnly constituted laws and forms of government are done away with by the “squeak” of Antifa’s juvenile voice. Was Napoleon a butcher on 13 Vendemaire? Yes. Was it horrible? Yes. Being sworn to uphold the Constitution of France, did he have any choice? No. There was, before him, a duty to defend. Did you have the mistaken idea that defending is nice?
Order is a necessary thing. It is not to be set aside. The collapse of order, by its very nature, always signifies blood-soaked carnage. If violence is required to enforce order, then it is a necessary violence. Yet order cannot be established by fraudulent men sporting fraudulent ideas. That is why, at this juncture, only the truthful can save us. As Carlyle noted,
A more scandalous phenomenon … never afflicted the face of the sun. Bankruptcy everywhere; foul ignominy, and the abomination of desolation, in all high places: odious to look upon, as the carnage of a battlefield on the morrow morning; — a massacre not of the innocents … but a universal tumbling of Impostors and of Impostures into the street!