Monday, April 24, 2006

The Terror

A great piece in the City Journal about Robespierre and the Terror during the French Revolution. The key passage:
Castigating Robespierre more than 200 years after his death would have little point if he were not the prototype of the ideological frame of mind that is very much with us today. If we understand him, we understand that it is utterly useless to appeal to reason and morality in dealing with ideologues. For they are convinced that reason and morality are on their side and that their enemies are irrational and immoral simply because they are enemies. Negotiation with such people can succeed only if we have overwhelming force on our side and have shown ourselves unsqueamish about using it. Justifying its use to the electorate of a democratic country—used to thinking of politics as a process of reasonable negotiation and compromise—must involve showing in sickening detail the monstrosities committed in the name of the ideology. And that is the point of reminding ourselves of the crimes of the long-dead Robespierre.
History repeats itself. Human nature does not change. It is important to remember that not everyone can be reasoned with or can be trusted.

Read the whole thing.

1 comment:

MmmmMuffins said... any Snausages?