Posted by Lexington Green on June 26th, 2003 (All posts by Lexington Green)
The French, man, you want so much to hate them, but they always come up with something. Here is a picture of the new champion of freedom, Sabine Herold. (See this and this.) This appears to be her organization’s website. Her hero is Hayek. She led a pro-War rally. And she doesn’t want to leave France — she wants to take over.
She’s speaking in Milan on June 27th, for something called the Centre for a New Europe. (That’s tomorrow. Too late for a road trip.) They have this blurb up:
Mademoiselle Sabine Herold is a 21-year-old student who is challenging France’s silent majority to revolt against the strikes crippling her country. On May 25, she addressed a 2,000 people demonstration in front of Paris’ townhall. On June 15, she organized and addressed 80,000 people demonstrating against the Unions’ tyranny. Miss Herold has been nicknamed “the Joan d’Arc of the liberals” by Le Figaro and, by the London Times “Mademoiselle Thatcher”. She is “Rédactrice en chef” of the Paris-based free-market association “Liberté j’écris ton nom”.
(Of course I found out about her from Instapundit.)
I note that Mlle. Herold has been compared to Jeanne D’Arc, which is hyperbole, but harmless. I am however appalled to see certain bloggers saying nasty things about the Maid of Orleans. (No, I won’t link to them.) To all of our uncynical Chicagoboyz readers with open minds and youthful hearts, I commend to your attention the stirring and factually sound chapter from Edward Shepherd Creasy’s Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: From Marathon to Waterloo. You will need to Scroll down to Chapter IX, “Joan Of Arc’s Victory Over The English At Orleans, A.D. 1429.” Creasy, a fair-minded Englishman was forced by the facts to conclude that the Warrior Maiden was ” the truest heroine that the world has ever seen. ”
Seeing such unfounded slander of St. Joan, who is not here to defend herself, reminds me of Edmund Burke’s wonderful passage about Marie Antoinette, which doesn’t really have anything to do with the point of this post, but I like and so here it is. The Queen had just been executed by the Jacobins. Burke tells us his thoughts when he heard the news, “It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles … ”
…little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.
But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.
Ten thousand swords, gentlemen, leaping from their scabbards … .
And Lex is feeling like a very sentimental old fellow as he reads these lines again. (Proving once again that he is a conservative, and not a libertarian.)
OK, I’ll make some effort to tie all this together, sort of. God willing, Mlle Herold by her efforts, and the efforts of those she inspires, will restore some scintilla of the greatness her country once had and could yet have again.