Thursday, January 29, 2015

Napoleon

I am constantly amazed at the ignorance of people as to the elite game which constantly rewrites history.

Wasn't Napoleon a product of the "Enlightenment" worse than 1800 Britain? I hear you on rewriting history. Most Americans don't realize the USSR won World War II; we were just saps/supporting players.
I think he was more moderate then his fellow Enlightenment types. I was always a fan.
He was a deist modern ruler, no Christian king. That said, I think the British victors paint him as evil because he was another threat to their security: they never want a strong, united Europe, be it under France, Germany (Europe's natural leader, Russia actually being mostly in Asia, weakening them in the West; besides, Germans are famously smart), or Russia.
That's true. His religious views seem to have varied throughout his life.

Here's an interesting take on Napoleon and Catholicism from Hilaire Belloc's "The Great Heresies." Belloc also wrote a pretty favorable biography of Napoleon himself.
Nevertheless the truth remains that had Napoleon succeeded, the prepondering culture of Europe would have been Catholic. His empire intermarried with and allied to the ancient Catholic tradition of Austria, giving the church peace and ending the revolutionary dangers, would have given us a united and settled Europe, where, in spite of the very wide spread of rationalism in the wealthier classes, Europe as a whole would have returned to the Catholic tradition. Napoleon, however, just failed... through miscalculating his chances in the campaign in Russia.
He was an unbeliever just like our Protestant founding fathers but unlike the original French revolutionaries, he put up with the church. Rather like a later wannabe, Mussolini, a red-diaper baby (born and raised leftist) who never believed, making peace with the church, being smart enough to respect Italians' long, deep love/hate relationship with it. By the way, Napoleon was Italian, Buonaparte, from Corsica (which should be in Italy or its own country, not French).
I know he was. I've always liked him though, despite his rocky relationship with the church. My uncle introduced me to Napoleon and I've always been fascinated by him, I admit.
Good points from Belloc; thanks. Just like how I wish Germany, Austria, and the Ottomans (!) won World War I. We would have a more peaceful, more Catholic world. (Exactly what Protestant Britain and Woodrow Wilson didn't want.) Rulers such as Napoleon often have no use for religion personally but are utilitarian about it politically; it keeps the proles well-behaved. Our Protestant founding fathers were the same way.
I care little what religion a person believes or not, as long as they govern me justly and wisely.
The same reason I'm a supporter of only casually churchgoing Protestant Ron Paul.

7 comments:

  1. Cling to your dissipating hegemony you poor entertaining fool. Cry the cry of the angry white man! Your rebel yell is a laughable death rattle.

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  2. Examination question: Is Napoleon to be considered the last absolute monarch or the first modern dictator? Explain and discuss.

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  3. FWIW, in his last illness Napoleon apparently "...arranged to have Mass celebrated every Sunday..." and "on May 3 he received the sacraments." (he died on May 5)---Will and Ariel Durant, "The Age of Napoleon", pp. 768-769.

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  4. Before Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Franco there was Napoleon. He had no legitimate claim to any throne, no respect for tradition (or Tradition) and all the constraints that come with such respect. He showed nothing but contempt for any restraint on his power.. He was the architect of what we would today call the cult of personality and he created the world's first police state.

    In every respect he was a true born child of the French Revolution and the so called Enlightenment. He was the world's first modern dictator.

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  5. For an entertaining speculation on what things would be like if Franz Ferdinand had turned back after the first attempt on his life in Sarajevo, perhaps translatable to a Central Powers victory hypothesis, read Pater Edmund Waldstein's review of Die Komet at his Sancrucensis site. Hint: no Vatican II.

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  6. ….a timely quote for your post….


    NY TIMES OP-ED COLUMNIST
    A Time for Contrition

    By ROSS DOUTHAT
    Published: March 28, 2010
    During a frustrating argument with a Roman Catholic cardinal, Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly burst out: “Your eminence, are you not aware that I have the power to destroy the Catholic Church?” The cardinal, the anecdote goes, responded ruefully: “Your majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last 1,800 years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you.”

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  7. "Most Americans don't realize the USSR won World War II."

    I don't get that. To the extent that Americans know conventional, textbook history (that may be questionable), they know that the USSR won the second world war.

    Arguably the other European victors, France and England, won Pyrric victories. Their people and economies were pretty devastated. But the United States just a bunch of "saps"? Maybe you can explain. From any perspective that I can see--economic strength, political purpose, overseas hegemony, military superiority--the United States came out of the war a victor and the dominant power.

    I'm not exactly how you square the forty-five years of cold war and proxy wars between the US and the USSR with the notion that the USSR won the second world war and the US lost it. Unless you believe that we lost by virtue of choosing not to stop at Berlin, not to continue on to Moscow, relying on our tremendous economic superiority and our brief monopoly of the atomic bomb. One can argue it, I suppose, but I think we've learned that regime change can be tricky, even with overwhelming military superiority.

    Of course the USSR won, and took lots of territory in Eastern Europe, and held it for a generation.

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