Published from 1982-96, Fidelity magazine was the predecessor of Culture Wars.
From the October, 1989 issue of Fidelity magazine
The year 1989 A.D. was the cause for celebrating the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution in many countries. By the year 1880 in France, July 14, the day of the fall of the Bastille, had already been the occasion for all sorts of frivolity. By then the last witnesses to the revolution were long dead. One was dependent by then on historians who idealized this far-reaching event in our history, because with the French Revolution, democracy underwent a revival after the moral nose dive it had taken with the death of Socrates.
The French Revolution, however, didn't come like a bolt out of the blue. Charles I had been executed 140 years before In Whitehall by religio-political fanatics, and as Jean Lacroix has convincingly argued, the Republic rests on "the death of the Father." Fraternity and Equality can apparently only be realized through parricide. The impetus for change in France came not only from Switzerland, rather It came from French Anglophiles and a completely false understanding of what had just happened in America. It was, in a way, the first great Euro-American misunderstanding. On the other hand, Governor Morris, the American envoy to Paris, told the conceited Lafayette at the beginning of the revolution: "I am against your democracy, Monsieur de Lafayette, because I am for freedom." In 1815 he began a speech with the words, "The Bourbons are back on the throne; Europe is once again free" -something which today hardly an American would understand after so many years of school-inculcated fatuity.
THE VULGAR INTERPRETATION
The vulgar interpretation of the French Revolution (not unlike that of the Russian Revolution) is based on the theory of the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction. The impoverished and oppressed people, led by highly intelligent idealists shook off the unbearably oppressive rule of monarchs, aristocrats, and priests and created a new order, in which Liberty, Fraternity and Equality were realized. Hadn't Goethe already told us that legislators and revolutionaries who announce Freedom and Equality simultaneously are frauds and charlatans? When there is no such thing as a "natural equality," it can only be brought about by raw violence. In order to bring equality to a hedge, one needs garden shears. Equality, the left-wing ideal, is closely bound up with identity. One hundred pennies makes a dollar, but each dollar of a certain year isn't identical with every other dollar printed at that time.
The first phase of the French Revolution, which played itself out as economic boom, as well as state financial crisis and a series of liberal reforms, had a predominately aristocratic character. The "new ideas" of the first enlightenment - the misunderstood American war of independence, Anglomania, the visions of Rousseau, Voltaire's (a man who held the common man in contempt) critique of religion, and the still turbulent Jansenist controversy - all this had confused the spirit of the upper classes. Freemasonry, newly imported from England, also played a role in this transformation. It is possible that even Louis XVI was a freemason. Beyond a doubt he was a devoted reader of the Encyclopédie. As a result a huge vacuum of belief came into existence, which was quickly filled by radical left-wing ideology, which just as quickly infected large segments of the population. The left-wing "Intelligentsia " acted as the ice- breaker for the revolution in such a way that, at the beginning at least, the monarchy's existence was hardly questioned, while aristocracy and clergy abdicated and "married" the bourgeoisie.
The signal event of the French revolution wasn't so much the alliance between the estates after the meeting at Jeu des Paumes as the storming of the Bastille, in which one man played a role every bit as crucial in the course of events as that of Rousseau:
I'm talking about the Marquis de Sade. He is mostly known now as the eponym of "sadism." However in his endless pornographic and extremely boring writings, there are long philosophical and political passages in which he reveals himself as a rabid, leftwing, materialist atheist. He was primarily responsible for the storming of the Bastille because at the request of his mother-in-law he was - thanks to a lettre de cachet - held prisoner in the Bastille along with seven counterfeiters, cardsharps, fools, and people in debt. From the Bastille, Sade incited the people of the quartier through his makeshift megaphone into coming to their assistance and liberating them. De Launay, the governor of the Bastille, was helpless. He didn't dare put the prisoner in a straitjacket (or in a dungeon) but instead asked the king to deliver him from this prisoner. As a result Sade was transferred on July 4, 1789 to the hospital for the criminally insane at Charenton and released in 1791. He then became chairman of the revolutionary Section des Piques in which "Citizen Sade" was active as a radical Jacobin until he quarreled with Robespierre and was once again committed to the hospital for the criminally insane. Sade, along with the masochistic neurotic Rousseau, who wrote pedagogic novels and committed his children to orphanages, is the true renewer of democracy in our time and naturally also a hero of our left-wing intellectuals.
THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE/MORAL COLLAPSE
The storming of the Bastille on July 14 and its immediate consequences showed what the French Revolution was all about, namely, the consequence of a moral collapse that had been prepared by the left-wing, radical chic, literati of its day. De Launay negotiated with the mob, which promised him and his tiny garrison of invalids and Swiss mercenaries free passage. Yet no sooner were the defenders in the open, than the mob attacked them and murdered in the most brutal manner possible. It was above all the invalids, who couldn't flee, who were torn to pieces. For a while the mob tried in vain to decapitate de Launay; however, their knives were too dull. Finally someone got a hold of a butcher's assistant, qui savait faire les viandes, to cut the governor's head from his by then cold body. It was then carried in triumph through the city.
Attempts to establish a constitutional monarchy failed. The drive for identity and equality, brought to a boiling point by hate and envy, prove the truth of Benjamin Constant's words: "In some epochs one must travel the entire gamut of madness in order to come to reason again." Everything even remotely different was damned and persecuted. Conformity celebrated orgies.
Only the fall of Robespierre in July of 1794 hindered further leveling plans, which Babeuf in all probability would have realized. So Robespierre planned not only to put all Frenchmen (and women) in uniform (like Mao's "blue ants"), he also planned to raze all church steeples as "undemocratic." They were higher than the other buidlings and as a result stood out because of their "aristocratic" bearing. (In Strassburg, preparations were already underway for the barbaric mutilation of the cathedral there.) Another problem that needed to be solved was the language of the Alsatians, qui ne parlent pas la Iangue républicaine, otherwise known as French. Someone suggested taking the children away from those in Alsace-Lorraine or resettling the entire German-speaking population throughout out all of France. Those were costly plans and as a result a more practical solution was worked out, namely, the complete extermination of the germanophone population. As one can see, the French Revolution was not only interested in the good Doctor Guillotin's deployment of mechanical mass murder, it was also interested in genocide and not only in Alsace but also in other regions of the République Une et Indivisible.
The French Revolution has been seen by most authors as predominately a political, social or (under Marxist influence) even as an economic event. Burke, Young, Rush, as well as other British and American visitors to France before the revolution point the finger at the aristocracy, the clergy and the upper classes; however, both skepticism and atheism had made inroads into the highest circles, and there existed among the clergy what Spengler called the "priestly rabble," or what we would call today our left-catholic "progressives." Censorship in the hand of the forerunners of the liberals, who suffered from moderno-snobbery, favored the left-wingers and persecuted the right, so as not to be labeled "reactionary. " All that gradually influenced the middle and lower classes as well.
There is no other way to understand the nightmarish circumstances surrounding the slaughter of Princess de Lamballe. This friend of the queen was arrested but refused to take the oath to the constitution in the La Force prison. As a result of her refusal she was handed over to the screaming mob. That happened just before the September murders of the year 1792, so carefully organized by Danton, a "moderate" Republican. The protagonists in this bloodbath received six livres apiece and all the wine they could drink for their troubles. The jails were emptied in a veritable orgy of killing, during which not only politcial prisoners but also prostitutes and juveniles, often mere children, were slaughtered. Scenes which remind one of Goya's desastres de la guerra took place in Bicetre and Salpetriere. (The extermination of prostitutes was also carried out mercilessly by those favorites of the left, the Spanish Republicans, probably brought on by the spread of venereal disease among the brave defenders of democracy.) In the year 1792 at the fall of the Tulieries, the Swiss guards, true to their oath, fought to the last man. The Swiss who fell into the hands of the mob alive were then mutilated and cut to pieces. A cook's helper, who attempted to defend the royal couple, was basted in butter and then burnt alive.
From these and other similar occurrences one sees something else very clearly: from a purely quantitative point of view the atrocities of the red and brown socialists were worse than those of the French Revolution, however, from a qualitative point of view the whole business takes on a different hue. The crimes of the National and International Socialists were carried out for the most part in concentration camps and dungeons by their own trained thugs, whereas the atrocities of the French Republicans were committed under the slogan of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality to a great extent by the people themselves or at least accompanied by the applause of delighted spectators - all in broad daylight with full publicity. The guillotinings were not just general holidays; they were carefully thought out, sadistic happenings, during which (to give just one example) an aristocrat with his hands bound and his head already on the block was forced to listen to a long-winded ironic speech about the victories of the Republican armies so that he could share them with his forbearers in the afterlife. The completely natural transformation of democracy into socialism, from political to financial equality, had its beginnings back then. Not only aristocrats but the rich as well because of their wealth were handed over to notre chére mère la guillotine. (Actually only 8 percent of those guillotined were from the aristocracy: over 30 percent were peasants.)
The "moderates" fared just as badly. Cities like Lyon, Toulon and Bordeaux, which were led by the Girondists against the Jacobins, were partially leveled and their inhabitants decimated. When the guillotining threatened to go too slowly, many victims were drowned and others were executed with shotguns, so that the crowds could revel in seeing them slowly bleed to death. (Napoleon, a Jacobin, and close friend of Robespierre, achieved his first victory by subduing "unruly" Toulon.)
ONE HUGE SADISTIC SEX ORGY
The French revolution didn't really become one huge sadistic sex orgy until after the uprisings in Brittany and the Vendee were crushed. One must keep in mind that the Vendee was a peasant's revolt that carried the aristocracy along with it. The leadership of the Chouannerie was partially peasant (Cathelineau) and partially aristocratic (Larochejacquelein); in addition Charles Armand Tuffin, Marquis de la Rouerie, a friend of Washington, met their end in this battle. (His corpse was dug up and decapitated after the fact.) The terror involved in this deliberate genocide was announced in advance by the atrocities in Paris, especially in the extensive defiling of graves and cemeteries, because the main who can rage against the dead - against kings, and aristocrats but also against saints - will have no qualms about doing the same thing to the living. (I have to confess here, however, that the defilement of corpses practiced by the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War - especially in the cemetery of Huesca - is in the same league with what the French Republicans did.) In his forward to Reynold Sechers' book. Le Génocide Franco-Francais. Professor Jean Mayer says that the author held much back and that the worst could not be described here. The truth is much more appalling.
The German Revolution, which began in the year 1933, also went through a relatively humane phase; however, June 30, 1934 was a flaming warning signal, which was followed by a steep and ineluctable plunge, like the kind described in Greek tragedy, into the hell of totalitarian left-wing tyranny. As with the French Revolution, the way had been paved in this direction from the beginning. The same thing is true of Russia. Just as in France it was the writings of the Encyclopedists, Morelly, Rousseau, Diderot, and Sade, and in Germanic countries, the writings of Haeckel, Chamberlain, and Rosenberg as well as those of Hitler and Goebbels, so in Russia it was the writings of Marx, Tschernyschewsky, Plechanow and Lenin which determined subsequent political development. What eventually took place in the the French Revolution, especially in the Vendee, in Brittany, and in Anjou was in its internal logic simply the realization of the great materialistic atheism of the first Enlightenment.
In situations like this we are forced to confront once again Dostoyevsky's dictum:
"If there is no God, then everything is permitted."
Even in Arras, where the Jacobin leader Lebon observed the mass guillotinings from his balcony with his dear wife, the decapitated corpses of men and women were undressed and then bound together in obscene poses as batteries nationales maniacs out of Sade's 120 Nights of Sodom. Similar practices took place in the Noyades in the Loire where men and women were tied together naked and then thrown still alive into the river as a "repubilican wedding." When the mob couldn't find enough men and women, they organized the "tying of the knot" in homosexual fashion. Carrier, who also finally ended up losing his head, was the director of all this. He called these atrocities, Le flambeau de la philosophie, an expression he got from the Marquis de Sade. Quite naturally the main victims of these male-perpetrated atrocities were women (as well as their children, often murdered before their eyes.) The sadistic misogyny of the Revolution reached unbelievable proportions.
The story of the atrocities perpetrated by the Jacobins in Girondist cities has yet to be told. Most of what we know concerns the pandemonium in the Vendee and neighboring regions. Here the Republicans (as well as their brave Girondist collaborators) planned nothing less than the complete extermination of the population, even if that entailed the destruction of "patriots" and their families as well - One couldn't be too choosy. An entire "treasonous landscape" complete with its inhabitants was to disappear from the face of the earth. We're talking here not about the type of genocide practiced by the Russian international socialists or the German National Socialists; we're talking her about the satisfaction of perverted sexual lust, something undertaken with diabolical thoroughness. Saint-Just had declared (10/X. 1793) that not only the traitors but also the indifferent would have to be exterminated. Danton had said that aristocrats and priests were guilty because they placed the future in question by their very existence, and Robespierre wanted a "quick, strict and unflinching Justice as result of the virtue and consistency of democratic principles." All of this focused itself on the Vendee, whose name was officially changed into "Vengee," or "revenged."
"THERE IS NO MORE VENDEE"
General Westermann eventually reported to the welfare committee: "There is no more Vendee, my republican fellow citizens! It died beneath our sabers along with its women and children. I just buried them in the swamps and woods of Savenay. According to your orders, the children were trampled to death beneath the hoofs of our horses; their women were slaughtered so that they couldn't bring any more soldiers into the world. The streets are full of corpses; in many places they form entire pyramids. In Savenay we had to make use of massive firing squads because their troops are still surrendering. We take no prisoners. One has to give them the bread of freedom; however, mercy has nothing to do with the spirit of the revolution." Westermann, however, soon met his nemesis; he was guillotined a short time later with his friend Danton.
Le Mans was the scene of further brutality; women, the aged, and children hiding in the houses of this large city were discovered and then under the eyes of Barbott and Prieure had their clothes torn from their bodies with sabers and bayonets; women and girls were raped, and since there weren't enough living females for the "boys in blue," the corpses were violated as well. This at least partially necrophilic orgy ended when the mob, accompanied by the rejoicing of the government's soldiers, bound the cadavers together as "republican batteries" as they had done at Arras. In Angers, however, the mob decapitated those it had already hanged and demanded of the doctors that they prepare the heads so that they could place them on the battlements of the wall surrounding the city. Since the physicians were too slow at their work, the mob quickly decapitated another group of prisoners, among who was a saintly, 82-year-old abbess.
Another amusement for the "Bleus," who referred to themselves as colonies infernales, was to roast women and children in baking ovens. In order to get maximal sadistic pleasure from this practice, the victims were placed in cold ovens, which were then heated. One general, who couldn't stop this sort of entertainment among his troops - Mergeau Desgraviers - became so melancholy that he was happy to die in 1796 in the battle against the Austrians. General Turreau was told that his soldiers behaved worse than cannibals; however, he he himself had given the order to burn down all houses (which was also carried out). Everywhere one could see the batteries nationales made up of human corpses. Turreau, the leader of these Promenades, as the death marches were termed, was to go onto a long successful career. From 1803 to 1811 he was the French envoy to the United States (where he worked on the alliance against England); he was later immortalized in stone on the east face of the Arc de Triomphe.
As we have already indicated, the Girondists were hardly less involved in these atrocities than the Jacobins. Barere, who began his career as a Girondist, declared that he intended to to transform the Vendee into a cemetary. It is, however, especially the units which were promoted in the last years of the revolution, which reveal its fully sadistic and masochistic character. Because the men of the Vendee fought in battle, the atonement had to be made by their women and children - even the smallest. (The British did the same thing in principle in their concentration camps during the Boer Wars.) In the Vendee, however, a particularly popular sport among the Blues was to throw children out of windows and to catch them with their bayonets. Equally popular was the practice of slicing open pregnant women in order to chop their unborn children into pieces and then let the mothers bleed to death. Other pregnant women were crushed to death in wine and fruit presses. Also popular was the burning of victims in houses and churches. This bloodlust increased so vehemently that Commander Grignon gave the order that everyone they met was to be immediately killed, even if they were Republicans. A particularly gruesome case involved one girl who was tied naked to two tree branches after being raped and then had to undergo repeated attempts to cut her in half. The Bleus lacked nothing in imagination. With hindsight, one can see the hardships, the unending suffering that the "progressive" defilers of people, graves and churches have brought over all of Europe. (The interiors of old French churches show to this day what these brutish barbarians have destroyed.)
Did the French Revolution leave anything positive to posterity? Only the metric system, which admittedly grew out of the democratic predilection for eternal measuring and counting. What about then the Declaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen? It was a purely anthropocentric document, a typically declamatory product of the first Enlightenment, which was conceived in 1789 and finally engrafted into the constitution of the Sadist-Republic in 1793. In the schoolbooks one reads about the period of the terror, "Le Terreur était terrible mais grande!" Even with all that a good number of moderates came under the blade too. Historically they had it coming because they hadn't considered what happened when one destroyed the old order. Charlotte Corday d'Armont, an enthusiastic Girondist, murdered the bloodthirsty Marat and was executed; Andre de Chenier, the great liberal lyric poet, died on the scaffold; the Marquis de Condorcet, chief ideologue of the "moderates," committed suicide in order to escape the chére mère. Madame Roland de la Planière, also a Girondist, exclaimed from where she was to be executed, "Oh liberty, what crimes are committed in your name. (Metternich on the other hand comments in the face of such flourishing "fraternity" that if he had a brother he would now just as soon call him a cousin.) Especially tragic was the fate of Chrétien de Malesherbes, a highly enlightened Liberal who remained true to the king. He defended Louis XVI and had to stand by and watch as his daughter, his son-in-law, and his grandchildren were decapitated before the guillotine brought an end to his own despair.
One shouldn't forget that much of what may appear positive to us today - liberality, intellectuality, humanitarianism - had all been already brought to us by the liberal, courtly absolutism, while the French Revolution which used all these words in reality did nothing more than brutally extinguish them. One is reminded of the reaction of Caffinhals, who replied to the uproar created by the defenders of Lavoisier, who cried, "You are condemning a great learned man to death," by saying, "The Revolution has no need of learned men." The good man was right; since the French Revolution only quantities, ciphers and numbers, have any value. The speech of the elite is hardly tolerated anymore.
From an intellectual point of view, the French Revolution was a conglomeration of un-thought out but fanatically believed inconsistencies, but it showed clearly, as so many other revolutions have, the true character of the great majority of the Genus Humanum.
In the French Revolution the scum of France succumbed to blood lust and opened the door to evil. In our day of electronic stultification, it's a sure bet that now, 200 hundred years later, this monstrosity will be the focus of orgiastic celebrations. The average man always clings despairingly to cliches. If one takes them away from him, he has to do his own research, his own thinking and deciding and has to begin anew. One can't really expect this sort of elitist behavior from such poor folks. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first rob of their reason.
· This article appeared originally in Criticon, 22 Knoebelstrasse 36/0, 8000 Muenchen 22. It was translated from the original German by E. Michael Jones.
· Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn resides in Austria. His books include Leftism: From Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse.
· Trianon: A Novel of Royal France is a highly-recommended new work by author Elena Maria Vidal. The fruit of 10 years of research, it presents new and little-known information about the profound Catholic spirituality of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, their family and closest confidantes. Visit the Trianon website at http://emvidal.homepage.com.
The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History by E. Michael Jones. Jews for Jesus versus Jews against Jesus; Christians versus Christians versus Jews. This book is the story of such contests played out over 2000 turbulent years. Dr. E. Michael Jones provides a breathtaking and controversial tour of history from the Gospels to the French Revolution to Neoconservatism and the "End of History." A Must Read. $48 + s&h, Hardback. [When ordering for international shipment, the price will appear higher to offset increased shipping charges.] Read Reviews
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