A friend reminds me that this is the 150th anniversary of the semaine sanglante — the “bloody week” during which overwhelming state violence was used to crush the Paris Commune.
I doubt one in a thousand Americans today could tell you the first thing about the Paris Commune, but it was an important moment in a battle that is still going on to this day, and in this country. It is obviously a massive oversimplification to say that the last 230 or so years of world history have been a series of conflicts over whether the French Revolution was ultimately a good or a bad thing, but nevertheless there’s a lot of truth to that statement.
The (re)emergence of fascism in our own time is a direct descendent of the forces that opposed that revolution and all that it stood for: Our modern reactionaries are the heirs to the royalists, the priests, the lords of the countryside and of capital, and everybody else who has always at bottom despised the notion of egalitarianism, and worships at the altar of hierarchy, whether ruled over by God or Darwin or whatever other metaphysical justification may be at hand to maintain the most evil aspects of the status quo.
It’s easy to laugh at Adrian Vermeule et. al., as anachronistic freaks from a bygone era, but that laughter is hollow. These people have never been defeated, and they mean to win a battle that has never ended.