The French and Russian revolutions are probably the two most important events in contemporary Western history. They have been studied from every angle, but they continue to be studied by scholars. One reason for the enduring interest is these events still cast a shadow over the present. The constructs that arose from the French Revolution are still with us. The great divide between East and West as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution still haunts the world.
Another reason for keeping these two great revolutions in the front of the mind is they are examples of how a ruling elite can bring about its own demise. The violent end of the regime was made inevitable by regime actions. The French king could have plotted a different course, but he made every mistake available to him. The Tsar was in a much more difficult position, but he had plenty of warnings about what was coming and he could have prepared accordingly.
These two revolutions are as much about ruling elite error as the social and political movements we associate with them. If the French king had been a bit more prudent it is possible the revolution would not have happened at all. If there were betting odds on such things, regicide would have been the longest of long shots on the board prior to the start of unrest. Most of the people pushing for change prior to Lenin seizing power were hoping the Tsar would help with the process.
The compelling feature of these events is that the major players seemed blind to that which should have been obvious. The forces of change and the defenders of the status quo operated like two black boxes. Neither side could see inside the other, so they were left to guess about the motivations behind the observed actions. Inevitably, they assigned the worst motives to the other side. Killing the sovereign, thereby killing the system he represented, was easy when he was seen as evil.
We seem to be seeing the same dynamic form up in present day America as the ruling class operates by motives that baffle those outside. The raid on former president Trump by the FBI is the latest event without an obvious explanation. A feature proudly celebrated by the American political class for a long time is that Americans do not criminalize politics like other countries. The losers of elections are not jailed and former officer holders are not persecuted.
For two years the political class has been waging a war against the former president and his supporters for reasons that continue to baffle. There must be a reason as there is a reason for everything, but no logical reasons make sense. Again, we look at our political class and see a black box at the center of their actions. It is what motivates them but what is going on inside is a mystery. As a result, we are left to speculate as to their motivations and that always leads to dark motives.
Like the ruling elites in the two great revolutions, this ruling elite seems to be obsessed with finding the worst option. The right answer in the aftermath of the 2020 election was for Washington to be reminded of Jefferson’s timeless question. “And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” The right response was “to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.”
Instead, we have pogroms. This raid on Trump’s home not only raises questions about the motives of the administration, but it colors the January 6 events. An organized war by the deep state against reformers is a narrative that explains both the persecution of the protestors and the attacks on the former president. Even for those highly skeptical of the “deep state” narrative will start to come around. It also helps explain side events like the attacks on Alex Jones and Nick Fuentes.
In those prior revolutions, a logic took over that naturally led to the conclusion that the system was the problem. It was not just the polices that emanated from the system, but the system itself that was the problem. In Russia and France, the man at the top was the personification of the system. A point was reached where anything the king said or did was viewed through this logic. The trust between the people and their sovereign was irrevocably broken and the end became inevitable.
One strange difference between the current age and those revolutionary ages is the roles are reversed. In 18th century France, it was the people at the top defending the old order and the people challenging it. The same was true in Russia. In America, the people at the top see themselves as the revolutionaries and the people view themselves as the defenders of the old order. A big part of this crisis is the ruling class mocking the history and tradition of the people.
What makes it even more bizarre is that if the ruling class is successful in discrediting the old system, the people will no longer have restraint. It is the lingering trust in the system, the desire to vote harder, that prevents January 6th from spreading to every state capital in the country. These efforts by the ruling class to burn it all down can only lead to one end for them. The FBI raiding Trump’s house convinced a lot of people that the system is now too far gone to save with an election.
It is a good example of how history can be a guide, but the parallels are never perfect, so we are left to feel our way through things. Lenin knew his history, which is why he quickly had the Tsar and his family murdered. He knew where his revolution should end so he moved quickly to the closing scenes. On the other hand, despite their study of history, none of the Bolsheviks saw Stalin and his terror coming. Even when you know the script, it is sometimes hard to accept the plot.
Perhaps that is what is happening in the black box at the center of the Cloud People society that seems to control their actions. Perhaps inside it they are feverishly hoping to write a new ending to an old story. Their actions, however, are the main plot device of that old story. The harder they work to create a new narrative, the more their actions seem to confirm the oldest of narratives. The great plot twist they think they are fashioning is that there is no plot twist to their story.
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