The Assault on Notre Dame
In a recent e-mail to a family member I described the Black Lives Matter movement of today as being somewhat akin to the Jacobins of the French Revolution. In 1789 there were many groups seeking to reform the French monarchy and create a more equitable system of government. Progress was being made, but some believed that improvements were insufficiently radical and much too slow. These radicals formed the Jacobin party, and gradually they took the reins of power.
During the next several years there was chaos and rioting in the streets of Paris and elsewhere in France. Assault, arson and murder ran rampant. Statues were toppled and graves desecrated. (Seems familiar, does it not). Some revolutionaries occupied many of the great cathedrals of France, including Notre Dame. Christian symbols were torn down and altars were erected to Reason, the new god of the age. King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette had been executed by this time, and the Jacobins began to rule the nation by means of so-called committees of public safety. Some semblance of order was restored, but group think (political correctness) was rigorously enforced, and thousands of aristocrats and non-conformists had their heads removed by a guillotine. It was labeled the “reign of terror”, and no one was really safe.
Eventually, the Jacobin leadership began to eat its own, and party leadership was replaced by a more personal one, first by a council of three and then by one man. Within a few years that had evolved into an absolute dictatorship.
As Santayana wrote, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
I believe leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement are our current Jacobins. What is their agenda? What sort of republic do they wish to establish? What reforms would truly satisfy them?
They should answer those questions.