Dodge like a Vendéean

If the neighbouring states had taken advantage of these intestine troubles, France must inevitably have sunk under such a complication of misery. Equally fatal would have proved her ill-success in the immense requisitions of men which were demanded from each province. But in this they succeeded. Each village, city, and borough was to furnish a prescribed number of men according to their population, every person between the age of sixteen and twenty-five being subject to this law; and the smallest hamlet provided ten men. In such an extended and populous kingdom as France, it is easy to judge what numbers of soldiers were thus put in motion by the Convention through these means, if we say 1,800,000, it will not be an exaggeration. But for the first three months of this ordinance opposition was almost universally made, and on the prescribed day, when every parish ought to have drawn lots, the Convention received intimation in general from each department that they judged it unprofitable to carry the ordinance into effect. But the Convention at last fell upon a plan more successful, by giving orders that the drawing of lots in each parish should be on different days, when by an arrangement, and continual movement of the military force, and by the most compulsive measures, this edict was carried into effect throughout the kingdom, with the exception of a part of Anjou and of Poitou, where being armed they defended themselves against this edict by the famous league of La Vendee.

The ancient province of Anjou is separated by the Loire, a very considerable river which loses its name at Paimboeuf, at a distance of ten leagues from Nantes, where it discharges itself into the sea. That part to the north of the river, or Upper Anjou, was in a state of insurrection, and Lower Anjou would have risen also, but the local situation did not favour such enterprise. In consequence, the ruling power in the department of Maine et Loire had sufficient authority easily to prevent the assemblies of the people who wished to meet to resist the edict. However, there was a very considerable meeting at about three leagues from my residence. It was in the district of Segre, a little town on the confines of Brittany, that about three thousand villagers and others assembled, and were proceeding to the town, but were checked by three pieces of cannon which were in the town, and proved its preservation as well as that of the officers. This ill-armed, and as badly-appointed, troop then turned towards Le Lion d’Angers, a small city in the neighbourhood, where an engagement took place which proved pretty obstinate. But the Patriots having had time to collect some additional troops, by their help this mob was put to flight, with the loss of many killed and wounded. Among them were three domestics of my brother-in-law, the Chevalier de la Grandiere, whose cook was killed, his valet de chambre and gardener being wounded. In consequence, the department issued an order for investing the house of my brother-in-law, under the idea that his servants, who appeared to be the leaders of this body of men, could not have been there but by the orders of their master. He was therefore seized that night, and with my sister taken to Le Lion d’Angers at three leagues distance, from whence on the succeeding day they were conveyed, with irons on their hands and feet, to the prison of Angers, the capital of Anjou, where were held the sittings of the primary assembly of Maine et Loire. Three months did they remain in that prison, by which time the royalist army had become so formidable as to lay siege to Angers.

On the succeeding day I learnt this new source of inquietude, which filled my mind with bitter reflections for the fate of my unfortunate sister and brother-in-law.

The affair of Le Lion d’Angers only served to increase the cruelty of the Patriots, and the ordinance for the levy of men in Upper Anjou was carried into effect with every possible rigour. At this time I had with me my two sons, one of the age of fourteen, the other just entered into his sixteenth year. Of course the latter came within the age prescribed by the edict, and, though absent, I was obliged to draw for him, and my unlucky fate drew the black billet. At the instant this did not occasion to me so much uneasiness, because I meant to avail myself of the edict by which it was permitted to any one to be released on laying down the sum of 1500 livres, which was supposed adequate to finding a substitute properly equipped. I therefore took the proper steps on this occasion, but they proved useless. The department refused to accede to the decree in my favour, and I had the grief of seeing my son depart for the frontiers, of whom I have never since heard any account. “Ah! unhappy father,” said I to myself, ” when will thy misfortunes end? Already two of thy sons are snatched from and in a manner lost to thee.” Alas, little did I think that at the time I was thus complaining I was only at the beginning of my afflictions.

At this time there remained with me my son aged fourteen, and three daughters of the ages of eighteen, sixteen, and twelve. This was my situation at the end of the year 1792, when the Patriots were taking the most insufferable and cruel means to deter the country people from thinking of any meetings, carrying their malice to such an extent that on the smallest rumour of insurrection — which in many instances was spread by themselves — they fired on the innocent labourer while at his daily occupation.

Memoirs of the Count de Cartrie (publ. 1906) [source]


Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst on the manners of the Roman aristocracy

A worthy reminder that stern ethic is more valuable than great amounts of schooling, and that enforced custom can mitigate a lacking in virtue. Rusticism-versus-pomp is less pertinent.

“In speaking of Roman society, one has to divide it into three distinct groups: Roman society proper i.e., the Roman aristocracy, the Diplomatic Corps, and the foreigners. Roman aristocratic society is one of the best in the world. The good breeding which is a peculiar and inborn characteristic of the Roman people, this fine feeling for good form natural to all the higher classes, is specially developed in the aristocracy and gives to society a polish of manners and behaviour which makes a most agreeable impression on all persons of taste. There is a certain stiffness which strikes one at first, but disappears on further acquaintance, and there remains in intimate relations an impression of exquisite reserve and courtesy. There is not much education among the higher classes. The men, with few exceptions, are very ignorant. The women are more cultivated though their education is very imperfect. The men do not go to public schools, or try in any way to acquire knowledge. When a young man has got beyond the elementary stages and knows a little French his education is at an end, and he is turned out into the world very carefully dressed. A few go on to study at the Universities. They have no prospect of making a career for themselves, so they have no incentive to complete their education. They drive about the streets and the Pincio, and flutter from one party to another; they serve their time in the Guardia nobile if their rank entitles them; they marry as early as possible if they have any prospect of an independent position, and enjoy life. For the most part they are harmless creatures, the more accomplished in all the ways of their world as that world is the end and aim of their existence, careful as all Romans are to avoid the difficulties and dangers of life, and much astonished if they hear that there are people who have ample means and yet give themselves up ‘to drudge and slave and die in their travail.”

“The women have mostly a French education, but a few of the younger ones an original Italian cultivation, with some acquaintance with their own authors, and an interest in their own country and its history. Their knowledge comes little to the surface, however, as they fear above all things to be called Blue-stockings.”

“Their morals are, on the whole, good. At least one doesn’t see much wrong in society. Flirtation, so called, is tabooed. One may guess that certain relations exist between men and women one meets in society, but there is very little to be seen. I am only speaking now of the highest classes, i.e., the Roman princes; of what goes on in the mezzo ceto (middle-class society) I cannot say. The nobles of the second rank, who are admitted into this patrician society and are on sufferance there are not of much account, and all kinds of scandalous gossip is current about them.”

“Family life amongst the Roman aristocracy is still quite patriarchal. They all meet together for prayers, morning and evening, in the best families. Marriages are not made from inclination, but are arranged by agreement between the heads of the two families, et les jeunes gens ne s’en trouvent pas plus mal. Extravagance in a young girl in the best families is impossible. When a marriage is arranged all the details of daily life are set down in the contract, so that the young couple have their existence mapped out for them, and not only the amount of the dowry is known, but also the amount of their expenditure, how often they may go to the theatre, how much travelling they can afford, how many servants, horses, and carriages they can keep, &c. &c. This is necessary as marriages are contracted very early, and husbands and wives are mostly of the same age, and equally inexperienced.”

“Nor are these peculiarities confined to the aristocracy. With some modifications the same customs are found among the lower classes also, and these last think it perfectly correct that the same habits should prevail amongst the aristocracy, only on a different scale. The Roman aristocracy, with all their faults, have a greater regard and respect for the lower classes than we have in Germany, and are more in touch with them. The envy of the higher classes and the democratic revolutionary spirit which with us extends through all society exists here only amongst the heads of the revolutionary societies, and not in the hearts of the people.”

Memoirs of Prince Chlodwig of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfuerst (1906), taking place c.1857, (source)

Leninism and scale

Before such “innovations” as humanism, autonomism and the redefinition of alienation from an economic to a psychological category, a common understanding of Marxist-Leninist praxis is that it would inevitably involve socializing a concentrated and cartelized industrial structure, and that this would be desirable for reasons of productivity. Antitrust was thus historically retrograde. See e.g. Jay Lovestone (CPUSA) against Wisconsin’s Sen. Robert LaFollette:

LaFollette is and has been trying to fly in the face of industrial development. The fact of the matter is that, economically, great industrial units are both desirable and inevitable. Instead of demanding that these highly organized industries be socialized and controlled by the working class, LaFollette has been seeking to return to the old system of competitive, small industrial units.

If attempted prosecution of trusts is to be considered a criterion of friendship to workers and poor farmers, then Coolidge and his anti-labor crew have at least as much right to be deemed friends of the working masses as the Wisconsin Senator. Since the Harding-Coolidge administration came into office it has brought no less than sixty-one anti-trust suits. The contractors and manufacturers in the building trades, the sugar, lumber, pottery, and harvesting machinery corporations have been amongst the targets of the reactionary Republican administration.

Of course, nothing dangerous or harmful has happened to these groups of powerful exploiters.

Lenin himself infamously noted in The State and Revolution (Ch V) that the process of socialization would involve making all citizens workers of a country-wide syndicate:

Accounting and control–that is mainly what is needed for the “smooth working”, for the proper functioning, of the first phase of communist society. All citizens are transformed into hired employees of the state, which consists of the armed workers. All citizens becomes employees and workers of a single countrywide state “syndicate”. All that is required is that they should work equally, do their proper share of work, and get equal pay; the accounting and control necessary for this have been simplified by capitalism to the utmost and reduced to the extraordinarily simple operations–which any literate person can perform–of supervising and recording, knowledge of the four rules of arithmetic, and issuing appropriate receipts.

Now of course this was advertised as merely a necessary “first step,” but it could never be anything than the last.

But most unambiguously and forcefully of all, the Italian Marxist Amadeo Bordiga in “Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class Struggle” (1946) put it like this:

It is quite remarkable that even the few groups in the communist camp which reacted to the opportunist degeneration of the parties of the now dissolved International of Moscow, tend to display a hesitation on this point. In their preoccupation with fighting against the suffocating centralisation of the Stalinist bureaucracy, they have been led to cast doubts on the Marxist principles re-established by Lenin, and they reveal they believe that Lenin – and along with him all the revolutionary communists in the glorious period of 1917-20 – were guilty of an idolisation of the state.

We must firmly and clearly state that the current of the Italian Marxist left, with which this review is linked, does not have the slightest hesitance or repentance on this point. It rejects any revision of Marx and Lenin’s fundamental principle that the revolution, as it is a violent process par excellence, is thus a highly authoritarian, totalitarian, and centralising act.

Such honesty is heard mostly from social democrats and economic nationalists these days. The populist emphasis on trust-busting doesn’t quite square with it, though.

Also to a certain type of literal-minded reactionary personality who responds to liberalism by narrowly idealizing the iron fist, this stuff can be heroin. Hence why many rightists enjoy loud-and-proud Bolshies like Slavoj Žižek. Notice, however, that the reverse phenomenon — a pinko enjoying a fascist — is nearly unheard of.

Woke racism

Durant Drake (1878-1933) was one of many minor American pragmatists who is remembered only in specialized bibliographies, being obscure to an extent that there is an article about him on the French Wikipedia, but not in that of his native tongue. I don’t know why. In any event, his punditry is as interesting a time capsule as any, in America faces the future (1922).

The book’s stated goal is described: “Many books have been written to explain to foreign peoples what we are; such books naturally tend to self-congratulation and eulogy of our virtues, for it is an instinct to speak highly of ourselves to others. This volume takes a graver and more critical attitude; it has been written not as a description of what we are but as a reminder of what we ought to be. Its readers are asked to consider in these pages what our priceless heritage of American ideals actually is, and how far we are being faithful to our inheritance.”

For the most part, it is the standard Eastern seaboard progressivism one would get from The Nation, Harper’s, The New Republic, McClure’s and similar tripe — until we get to race. As always, that’s a very fascinating subject.

What you have is a very interesting transitional state between racial egalitarianism and exclusionism, quite the chimera. Actually it probably wasn’t that unusual a view in its day. However, it quite blatantly violates the common assumption that accepting racial inequality as natural translates to a commitment on inequality in general. Far from it here, the synthesis of opposites has a weird elegance in its obliviousness.

One could regard it as the precursor to Quillette-style liberalism. Just enough biorealism to keep the white cockades indifferent while mobilizing the agenda of “skeptical inquiry” that instrumentalizes human experience in the service of technocracy. A particular example I have been revisiting recently is the flip-flopping in the American liberal press in the build-up to WWII, as extensively documented in James J. Martin’s American Liberalism and World Politics, 1931-1941.


The crux of the negro problem lies in the fact that, on the one hand, we do not want to assimilate them biologically, and, on the other hand, the presence of an unassimilated race so different from our own creates an unhappy social situation. The situation seems permanently unsatisfactory, with no way out. We can, and must, insist on fair treatment for the negroes ; we must respect them and cease to look upon them as inferiors. But we should learn the lesson of our fathers’ blunder in bringing them to our shores, and make sure that another such situation does not arise.

Yet just such another situation might arise if the Chinese or Japanese or Hindus were to be allowed to enter our country in any considerable numbers. It is not, again, that these are inferior races. The Chinese and Hindus were civilized while our Caucasian ancestors were still savages; and the Japanese have already shown a capacity for modern methods that everyone admires. It is likely that within a comparatively short time, as history goes, these nations will all be as civilized as our own.

But do we want to intermarry with these races? Are we sure that it would be wise? Certainly most of our people would vigorously repudiate the idea; and these Orientals would form a separate race in our midst, not so ignorant, and let us hope not so ill-treated as the negroes have been, but still aliens, separate, and made to feel their separateness. Candidly, we cannot count on our courtesy to such an alien race living in our midst. Race-prejudice rests on deep-seated human instincts, and it is Utopian to expect it to disappear. It is far wiser to avoid situations that inflame it. We can respect and admire the Orientals in their own homes; we can gladly learn from them and have a happy interchange of students and scholars, travellers and technicians. But occasions for friction and race-wars will be best averted by restrictions which will, in general, keep each race to its own continent.

The policy of Oriental exclusion, then, does not, or should not, rest on any denial of the doctrine of human equality. It rests on the obvious fact that the hybridizing of races, once done, can never be undone. And the complementary fact that another unassimilated race in America would be a constant source of friction and a danger to democracy. These sources of friction we must be wise enough to avoid, whenever possible.

“With the two races physically on different sides of the ocean, we can develop our common national and international interests. But with any considerable immigration to this side, causes of friction would inevitably develop. They might be our fault, but we could not prevent them. Our people have learned their racial lessons in a dangerous school. . . . We have dealt unjustly with the Negro and he submits. We have dealt unjustly with the Indian and he is dead. If we have many Japanese, we shall not know how to deal otherwise than unjustly with them, and very properly they will not submit. The only real safety is in separation.”

With the various Caucasian races (“white men”) the situation we have discussed will not arise, or, at least, be permanent; for they are all assimilable, and rapidly being assimilated into the American stock. But the question may still be raised whether for other reasons some further restriction of immigration is not desirable.

Many would think this is inconsistent or paradoxical, but it is nothing of the sort. All such seeming paradoxes come from the ignorance that equality is multidimensional, and that one can reject some equalities while accepting others, and accept them very zealously and devotedly.

Anyway, I expect that publications like Quillette will incrementally capture the attention of that segment of woke journalists and pundits who still have a modicum of sense in them, becoming popular as “edgy” things you read secretively and drop unattributed tidbits from. At some point they will achieve critical mindshare and you will start reading “The behavioral-genetic case for IQ deficit reparations payments.” Then there will emerge another backlash against the new Darwinism involving some sort of pseudo-spiritualized humanism, and the cycle will repeat.

The banana family of nations

Pan-Americanism was once scheduled to be the Next Big Thing in a way that’s difficult to appreciate now. There’s NAFTA and Mexican coolies, of course, but not quite any amero or Greater American Zollverein. Starting from James Blaine’s less-than-successful conference in 1890 extending to the Montevideo Convention of 1933 with its daft boilerplate about equality of states, there was a real peak during WWI when people such as Secretary of State Robert Lansing were on board with it. You had such strange events as the “Pan-American Scientific Congress” (several of them) that though now flushed down the memory hole, were covered by, of all places, the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry with such glowing words as “Linked to us by propinquity, a common origin and political destiny, Pan-Americanism is not a visionary dream, but is purposed with immediate and practicable results fraught with untold advantages to the entire world through the increase in culture and commerce among the participating countries of this new world group of nations.” (1915)

Lansing gave a keynote to that congress, which in no ambiguous terms stated:

Pan-Americanism is an expression of the idea of internationalism. America has become the guardian of that idea, which will in the end rule the world. Pan-Americanism is the most advanced as well as the most practical form of that idea. It has been made possible because of our geographical isolation, of our similar political institutions, and of our common conception of human rights. Since the European war began other factors have strengthened this natural bond and given impulse to the movement. Never before have our people so fully realized the significance of the words, “Peace” and “Fraternity.” Never have the need and benefit of international cooperation in every form of human activity been so evident as they are to-day.


In this great movement this congress will, I believe, play an exalted part. You, gentlemen, represent powerful intellectual forces in your respective countries. Together you represent the enlightened thought of the continent. The policy of Pan-Americanism is practical. The Pan-American spirit is ideal. It finds its source and being in the minds of thinking men. It is the offspring of the best, the noblest conception of international obligation.

With all earnestness, therefore, I commend to you, gentlemen, the thought of the American Republics, twenty-one sovereign and independent nations, bound together by faith and justice, and firmly cemented by a sympathy which knows no superior and no inferior, but which recognizes only equality and fraternity.

Jacobinism was retconned as the American Way. Well, “retcon” is quite debated. The Monroe Doctrine, traditionally regarded as a non-interventionist measure, was recast by Lansing, more accurately too I’d suspect, as a concession to Latin American nationalism and as a pro-republic-building measure.

Lansing also speaks of the “American Family of Nations,” encompassing a common fictive kinship of North and South America:

During this later time, when the American nations have come into a realization of their nationality and are fully conscious of the responsibilities and privileges which are theirs as sovereign and independent States, there has grown up a feeling that the Republics of this hemisphere constitute a group separate and apart from the other nations of the world, a group which is united by common ideals and common aspirations. I believe that this feeling is general throughout North and South America, and that year by year it has increased until it has become a potent influence over our political and commercial intercourse. It is the same feeling which, founded on sympathy and mutual interest, exists among the members of a family. It is the tie which draws together the twenty-one Republics and makes of them the American Family of Nations.

This feeling, vague at first, has become to-day a definite and certain force. We term it the “Pan-American spirit,” from which springs the international policy of Pan-Americanism. It is that policy which is responsible for this great gathering of distinguished men, who represent the best and most advanced thought of the Americas. It is a policy which this Government has unhesitatingly adopted and which it will do all in its power to foster and promote.

I presume this is something of a failure case borne out of the simultaneous desire of Americans to regard themselves as simply Europeans (except better in every way) and as something unique altogether. Pan-Americanism can thus work when you need allies against the continent, though there was still the awareness that it can’t all be goodwill, and you do need to harvest some bananas out of the whole thing — but this ounce of realism has since been lost.

Dogmatic Anglophiles will hate it regardless, but there is little they can do: all of this has already been decided for them far before they were born.

T.A. Jackson confirms: Carlsbad is a liberal

It is official; T.A. Jackson now confirms: Carlsbad is a liberal.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Carlsbad 1819 blog when IDC confirmed that the Carlsbad 1819 readership has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all newsreaders. Coming close on the heels of a recent T.A. Jackson survey which plainly states that Carlsbad 1819 has lost more readership, this news serves to reinforce what we’ve known all along. Carlsbad 1819 is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by falling dead last in the recent #frogtwitter poll.

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Temptations of right-wing socialism

[My time has been sucked up lately by a do-nothing internship I was accepted in, in which I spend most of my time smoking my pipes. My tin of Peterson Irish Flake is nearly finished, so I need to restock with some cheap over-the-counter shag cuts, the only thing that’s available ’round these parts. But it’s also not entirely devoid of educational value, either. Anyway, here’s a brief addendum to the last essay…]

There comes a point in every rightist’s intellectual development where they hit upon the elephant in the room concerning political economy: “Wait a minute, capitalism eradicated feudalism… this means capitalism isn’t traditional… muh Whigs, 1688, Dutch maritime republicanism, classical liberalism and Cobdenism vs. the Tories… what am I supposed to believe in now?!”

Congratulations, Marx already knew this. He devoted an entire section in Capital, vol. 1 to it: part 8, and even gave it a cool name: “primitive accumulation.”

(This leads to the laughable articles that pop up every now and then where someone tries to give a “right-wing rehabilitation” of Marx — I’m thinking of Kerry Bolton here at the moment, — to show us the “based Marx” hiding underneath.)

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