When the rage of downtrodden French peasants, living-on-the-edge city dwellers and frustrated bourgeois towards the ruling nobles and royalty final exploded into a kind of civic wildfire, there was no appeasing their collective anger. A handful of wary and fleet-footed aristocrats, or those who had made a good living out of serving the royals and the nobility fled from France in all directions. The slow and unwary made a humiliating appointment with Madame Guillotine before a contemptuous and jeering crowd, if they had not already run afoul of a mob with pikes and knives, and ropes at the foot of civic lampposts. (The fury of the French Revolution flamed so furiously that it that eventually it burned a good few leading revolutionaries themselves. As the Royalist pamphleteer Jacques Mallet Du Pan remarked pithily, “Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children.) For a long time, my sympathies as regards parties in the French Revolution tended to be with those who fell out with it, sympathies formed by popular literature and music: The Scarlett Pimpernel, A Tale of Two Cities, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and other tales which basically tut-tutted the madness which overcame all reason and discretion, and championed those who had the brunt of it fall on them, either justly or not. How fortunate that our own very dear revolution had been able to escape such conflagrations: Loyalists in the colonies might have suffered being tarred and feathered and ridden out of town or having to leave in an undignified rush when Yankee Doodle went to town and made their independence stick. But the jailhouse regrets of those who called up and inflamed that conflagration, even inadvertently is not my concern here.
It is, rather, the arrogant, condescending incompetence, and corruption of our current ruling class, and the hardships they have and continue to blithely inflict on us all – Covid, inflation, civic disorder, energy shortages, unequal application of law when it comes to public protests, the ruination of our domestic industries, our currency, and a possible war. Our political ruling class and their allies in mass media and academia have all played a part in bringing about all these disasters, while blandly denying blame and responsibility. Clueless arrogance is mingled with single-minded conviction of their own competence and absolute determination to double down on failure, failures which have already ruined lives, businesses, and industries alike, and promise to ruin more. These ruinations have left the ruling class serenely unaffected, and even wealthier than ever, and prone to issuing condescending suggestions to us all that if we can’t afford gas, maybe we ought to buy an electric car. It’s infuriating; but to this point, we feel only a cold, sullen fury. To carry on with the wildfire simile – it’s as if the wood is not only dry, but soaked with gasoline, and these fools are only lacking the book of lighted matches. What will that metaphorical lighted match be, that sends ordinary citizens howling ‘Aristos a la Lanterne!’? Most likely something that affects our children; the insistence of schools in pushing CRT brainwashing and inappropriate sex education to children who are barely aware of sex as it has already had parents lighting up local school boards and teachers’ unions. Discuss as you wish, and have insight into what will send us into the streets singing Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira, or quietly sabotaging the ruling class.