[eDebate] iraq talking points: kristol and the french revolution
Sun Jun 18 12:55:41 CDT 2006
i encourage students and teachers to start turning nazicon ideology back
against the nazicons.
the easiest point here unused by the opponents of the war in iraq is
irving's kristol's theory of the french revolution which he claims was too
extreme and did not respect enough the traditions of french society. it is
an easy argument to claim that this nazicon theory explains the failure of
the liberation of iraq an european imposed conception of government is too
extreme for a arab, muslim society have way around the war. the kristol
impacts on reckless violence and murder are also "fair game". the last
twist is to claim that nazicon critiques of their liberal opponents
characterized as heirs of the french revolution apply to the extremist
nazicon foreign policy. this type of colonialist argument was used for
vietnam but not once yet have i seen an opponent of the war use kristol's
argument as the fundamental reason for the failure of the war.
here's on rendition of the fundamental nazicon arg:
Mr. Kristol's thesis is as follows. In the second half of the 18th century,
the formative period of the modern world, there were two distinct types of
revolutionary thinkers, who were responsible for two quite different kinds
of revolution. On the one hand, there were the French, the Encyclopedists,
the men of the Gallic Enlightenment, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau and so
forth, the thinkers who precipitated the French Revolution and all its
violent and totalitarian offshoots from that day to this. These men lived in
a rigidly hierarchical and compartmentalized society, in which they occupied
what Mr. Kristol terms a ''marginal situation.'' They were true
intellectuals, a caste apart, different, ''at home in the Parisian salons
but not in the society as a whole.'' They thus originated what Lionel
Trilling called ''the adversary culture,'' seeing their life and work as a
''mission, to be achieved against the massive resistance of tradition,
custom, habit and all the institutions'' of society. French rationalism, Mr.
Kristol argues, ''identified the condition of being progressive with the
condition of being rebellious.''
As he observes, the French concept of revolution and progress has become the
dominant one in the 20th century, at any rate among intellectuals, and this
has led to a needless fundamentalism in the pursuit of change and so in turn
to needless violence. It has also led to the notion that progress is the
peculiar property of an enlightened elite, who have a mission to promote it
and, if necessary, to impose it on society, even against the will of the
members of that society. Naturally, this has been destructive of democracy
in any genuine form. The seeds of modern totalitarianism lie in the
alienation of Rousseau and Voltaire from their social surroundings.
BY contrast, Mr. Kristol points to the ''other revolution'' of the 18th
century, which has its origins in the Unites States and the Anglo- Scottish
Enlightenment, a quite different affair from its French counterpart. He sees
an appropriate significance in the fact that the Declaration of Independence
and Adam Smith's ''Wealth of Nations'' were published in the same year,
1776. The one introduced bourgeois democracy in its most quintessential
form; the other analyzed and illuminated in rational terms the capitalist
system then springing into existence. The empirical politics of the one
married the empirical economics of the other, and the result was the
American Republic, citadel of democratic capitalism, the most stable and on
the whole most successful framework for promoting human progress.
Mr. Kristol notes that George Washington was not a ''revolutionary''
revolutionary; he was very much part of the society of his day, which he
found good. Equally, Smith, Hume, Burke and the other thinkers of the
Anglo-Scottish tradition were also well-adjusted and comfortable members of
their society and never found it necessary or congenial to adopt an
adversary posture. As rational as the French, they expressed themselves ''in
a calm historical sociology rather than in a fervent political messianism.''
They thought that a good deal of progress had already been achieved, often
haphazardly, and that society needed prodding in the right direction, rather
than overthrowing and building afresh. They did not believe in gnostic
elites; on the contrary, in both Burke's organic view of politics and
Smith's view of capitalism, everyone had something to contribute, often
unconsciously. Their calmer view of progress was thus better adapted to a
stable democracy and more likely to avoid totalitarian pitfalls. So it
certainly has proved."
get this to kucinich and other democrats. we need to make this argument in
the upcoming elections. according to the nazicons own definition of a
viable revolution, the iraq war will never work and on that basis violence
will continue to escalate and not subside.
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