[eDebate] iraq talking points: kristol and the french revolution

Jake Stromboli infracaninophile
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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