“We were probably the most conservative-minded revolutionaries who put through a successful revolution.” Kevin O’Higgins
“If they have real grievances redress them, if possible; or acknowledge the justice of them . . . . If they have not, employ the force of government against them at once. “ George Washington, letter to Henry Lee, 31 October 1786
“I am a monarch of God’s creation, and you reptiles of the earth dare not oppose me. I render an account of my government to none . . . .”
Napoleon Bonaparte, speech at Breda, 1 May 1810
While the exact precipitants of overt rebellion are perhaps impossible to predict, history does grant us absolute certainty that the next regime will be a fundamentally conservative one.
The revolution of 1789 may have been reasonably foreseen given that country’s horrific long-term economic trends and decades of fiscal mismanagement by the French Crown. However, before Easter 1916, few would have dared prophecy an end to nearly 800 years of English dominance in a disgruntled and disenfranchised but thoroughly exhausted and demoralised Ireland. And even today it is more than a little perplexing as to why 1773 in particular should be the occasion for violent resistance to British Crown policies which had been pursued at least since 1696, when William III established the Lords of Trade. But inevitably each of these momentous events was succeeded by a conservative regime.
The art of successful revolution lies in the reconciliation of the iconoclasm required to dismantle the old regime while simultaneously projecting the familiarity (comfortable or otherwise) required to elicit the confidence of the political nation. It is, to say the least, a difficult thing to achieve.
During the ten thousand years or so since the adoption of agriculture demanded a fixed ordering of society along more or less arbitrary lines, the specialization of labor has reinforced the naturally uneven distribution of qualities among its members to the point where the presumption of “standing”–the moral right for the individual to meaningful participation in society’s ordering institutions–is not so much questioned as it is ridiculed as inchoate nonsense.
In sedentary societies the economic imperative is conformity, based on the conviction that the fundamental questions of physical necessity have been adequately resolved, and that all that is required is their implementation and further elaboration along the established lines. Deviance, dissent and variation are no longer viewed as presenting valuable new contributions to society’s repertoire of resources and techniques, but existential dangers. This is to say, the only value the individual has to offer society is his consent.
Continued at Dystopiadiaries