Archives for posts with tag: 1789

As an avowed Radical Centrist and student of history, Mr. Blunt and Cranky is of the belief that no revolution is “inevitable”. Looking at example after example throughout time, we can see that if Leader So-and-So had paid attention and done the needful, Revolution XYZ need not have occurred.  As Isaac Asimov phrased it, conflicts can be “evitable”.

Such was the case in the French Revolution: the monarchy was informed by their ministers and experts of the steps that had to be taken to avert catastrophe, but said royals did not take the required actions. Result: a very bloody and damaging revolution that killed and despoiled the innocent along with the guilty. Read up on the Terror to see how bad things got at that time.

Bad as that was, a breakdown in 21st-century America would be far worse. Reasons:

Number A: At the beginning of the French Revolution, there was a clear pair of sides – the 1% of the day, versus everybody else. Not so in 2012 America; we are fractured across lines of ethnicity, religion, income, geography and culture. If things go to Hell, we will find ourselves in a confusing, cluster-f***ed multi-sided conflict that would make our previous Civil War look tame by comparison.

Letter 2: Not that many people in 18th-century France had firearms, and those they did have were primitive. Modern Americans own millions of sophisticated weapons. Add in related hardware and other supplies, and it is clear that we can pretty much kill anyone and everyone in the nation if we think we “have to”.

Thirdly: We live in a society that is more interconnected than any other in the history of Earth. Our banking, food, shelter, safety, transportation, health care; these and many more essential elements of modern life are dependent on a stable society. Any breakdown in society would cause us to lose the most basic tools we need to secure the essentials of life. That means that millions upon millions of us would die.

And this need not happen. Our new ruling class of Politicians, Plutocrats and Pundits (a load of Pee, as it were) may be too stubborn, vain, stupid, narcissistic, greedy and deliberately myopic to see beyond the next media cycle, but We The People have the power to change things. Power vested in us by the Constitution.  No guns required.

Folks, it is just this simple: if we keep our heads buried in the sand, our asses will be kicked in. Only by pulling our heads out and working together can we avoid yet another “evitable” revolution.

Tomorrow: some peaceful, bipartisan actions we could take to save our national a**es.

Mr. B & C

Mr. Blunt and Cranky was made to study entirely too much history in his youth, and after reading Twain and Dumas chose to study the French Revolution in more depth. Recent events in our own country have brought that bloody, mindless, and savage period back to mind: and the parallels are eerie. A few examples:

Number A:  Poverty and malnutrition were increasingly common due to economic instability, governmental ineffectiveness and a distribution network that failed to deliver food to those who needed it. Indeed, the nation’s overall  infrastructure was antiquated and crumbling, and no one was willing or able to take the needed steps to update and repair it.

Letter 2: Previous wars of choice had left the French government deeply in debt, and the dire economic situation led to a steep drop in revenues, effectively bankrupting the national treasury.  There was a huge wealth gap between the very small percentage of the nobility (and other rich folk) and the rest of the population. The legislature spent its time taking potshots at the head of state (and each other) instead of addressing the problems of the nation.

Thirdly: Those who had wealth and power were disconnected from the vast majority of the nation.  While Marie Antoinette did not exactly say “let them eat cake”, the aristocracy did express such sentiments: this further inflamed the anger of a population who were already frustrated by the actions of disinterested royals, priests and plutocrats.

The resulting revolution destroyed an entire culture, killed uncounted people, and left much of Europe destabilized for over a decade.  If the monarchy had listened to their ministers and adopted the needed reforms, it is likely that any needed societal changes would have been made in a far less traumatic fashion. As we know, the ruling class did no such thing, and they (and France as a whole) paid with their lives.

This writer trusts that the present-day situation is sufficiently similar to his readers as to not require a long-winded explanation: many Americans are suffering while a very few live high on the hog; we have members of the new aristocracy like Carly Fiorina, Mitt Romney, Lloyd Blankfein  et.al. saying very Antoinette-ish things; and the legislature is far too busy playing reindeer games  to solve the urgent problems that are slowly destroying the social fabric of our country.

If we do the same things that France did in 1789, we will have the same results. Want to avoid winding up like they did? Work to change the current paradigm in a firm but peaceful manner. Or just sit around hoping for divine intervention, and watch centuries of progress go up in flames.

Next time: why a revolution would be even worse this time around.

Mr. B & C