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Old 06-21-2009, 06:07 PM   #16
sycamorex
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and thought that if I said stupid things, they would be ignored.
It would be too easy For this very reason, I do my best not to write anything here when I come back from a pub. As they say: DON'T DRINK AND BLOG (OR POST)
 
Old 06-21-2009, 06:07 PM   #17
newbiesforever
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Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
I do understand your distinction between the "values of the French Revolution" and the French Revolution itself (though I don't happen to believe those values were really there).

Also, I was never a history major, but most of what I have read says the authors of the Constitution were horrified by the French Revolution and took it only as a warning and not an inspiration.

The mob always gives power to the demagogue. The authors of the Constitution understood that and struggled to prevent it.

The writings that formed the philosophical justification for the US Constitution were certainly more European than American. Maybe the leaders of the French Revolution paid lip service to the same philosophies.

But the practical structure of the Constitution had much more of the American focus on taming the inherent evil of government.

It is a shame we have lost track of that.
Intellectual consistency was a weakness. If I have a favorite among the Framers, it could only be John Adams. He actually preceded Burke in calling the French Revolution for what it was; but Adams was the one who, far from sharing what would now be called the libertarianism of Jefferson, was a Federalist, a centralizer. On second thought, I'm probably all wrong--who says a critic of the French Revolution must have been an Anti-Federalist to be consistent. It could just as easily be argued that Federalists would be more inherently opposed.

Last edited by newbiesforever; 06-21-2009 at 06:21 PM.
 
Old 06-21-2009, 06:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
... I was never a history major, but most of what I have read says the authors of the Constitution were horrified by the French Revolution and took it only as a warning and not an inspiration.
And the founding fathers were fluffy kittens, who hadn't just fought a war to throw us British out?

Need to get to bed, and no time to give this the attention it deserves, but I wouldn't be able to rest easy without adding what one American had to say about the French revolution:

Quote:
Why, it was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood... There were two "Reigns of Terror," if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the "horrors" of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror --that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.
Vive la révolution!
 
Old 06-21-2009, 06:36 PM   #19
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Oui, oui. Le sang pour le sang. Vive la révolution, à bas de l'Amerique.

Last edited by newbiesforever; 06-21-2009 at 07:01 PM.
 
Old 06-21-2009, 07:14 PM   #20
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How did you get from Linux to the French Revolution so fast?
BTW, the French Revolution (I'm not a history major either) didn't quite accomplish much from the point of view of ending the oppression Mark Twain was talking about. The revolutionaries were soon replaced with Napoleon's Empire, then by Louis-Philippe's constitutional monarchy, then the Second Republic was established for four years and replaced with the Second Empire, and only then, by the Third Republic, in eighty years.
So, the freedom of the Revolution itself was quite short-lived, and somehow earned the name of the Reign of Terror, which should give some food for thought...
 
Old 06-22-2009, 12:46 AM   #21
Robhogg
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Originally Posted by Uncle_Theodore View Post
BTW, the French Revolution (I'm not a history major either) didn't quite accomplish much from the point of view of ending the oppression Mark Twain was talking about...
The question is, were the French people better off after the revolution, than under the absolutist monarchy of L'Ancien Régime? Definitely, IMNTHO.

Historical progress rarely follows a smooth line, unfortunately.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 03:55 AM   #22
brianL
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We English executed a King about 150 years before the French did. Unfortunately, what followed wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 04:49 AM   #23
rsciw
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Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Linux may have been invented by a Finn, but its philosophy is quite compatible with the vanishing American individualism. If it had been invented before Microsoft and if the internet hadn't been the domain of technogeeks at that time, it might be much more mainstream now. There is also nothing un-American about the custom of sharing all developments unless one is an uber-capitalist who thinks all creations should be sold for money. (I could see the Ayn Rand Institute being viscerally offended by Linux, if it cared.)
Ah, didn't know Linux had oil, or why should it be American suddenly?

And whatever it takes for an American to necessarily call something "it's American"...

Unix / BSD was there before Microsoft. Didn't take up much either, so doubt that would've helped with Windows much.
Linux was there before win95. granted, Win3.1(1) was quite popular then already, but still, not really everyone was online then.

There's also nothing un-Australian about sharing, neither un-european, neither un-south african (don't know any other countries' mentality down there. but best example for RSA and sharing --> canonical's boss...)
Probably also nothing un-Asian about sharing.

so all in all, what was the whole sense of your post in the beginning?
 
Old 06-22-2009, 05:18 AM   #24
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I'll only accept him as a real American. All others are fake.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 06:13 AM   #25
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I would argue that Linux is American in the ideal, philosophical, theoretical, "American-dream", moral, etc. sense.

But highly UN-American in the real world, capitalistic, profiteering, political, business theory, etc. sense. M$ is much more American in this sense of the term. M$ is all about capitalism, exploitation, hypocrisy, greed, unethical business tactics etc. ... you know, the real America.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 06:51 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by brianL View Post
We English executed a King about 150 years before the French did. Unfortunately, what followed wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs.
I don't think they meant it as a comedy routine .

It is one of the greatest moments in our history, though. It's a pity we let another king get back in again, but at least when the new one started behaving like the old one had he was kicked out again sharpish.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 11:02 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
I would argue that Linux is American in the ideal, philosophical, theoretical, "American-dream", moral, etc. sense.
Which is what I meant. Leave it to the H.L. Mencken of LQ (if not exclusively) to understand that. I think I'll stop responding to the offended Europeans, because they're not even trying.


Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
But highly UN-American in the real world, capitalistic, profiteering, political, business theory, etc. sense. M$ is much more American in this sense of the term. M$ is all about capitalism, exploitation, hypocrisy, greed, unethical business tactics etc. ... you know, the real America.
I haven't read The Wealth of Nations yet, but I suspect Adam Smith's mistake was to overestimate human nature, to not expect behavior like Microsloth's.

Last edited by newbiesforever; 06-22-2009 at 11:07 AM.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 01:19 PM   #28
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I haven't read The Wealth of Nations yet, but I suspect Adam Smith's mistake was to overestimate human nature, to not expect behavior like Microsloth's.
He did not. You do need to read Wealth to see it is true, it's in the small letters but he did warn (and Ferguson did so even more explicitly http://www.constitution.org/af/civil.htm) that too little state control is as at least as dangerous as too much. Smith is obligatory reading for European liberals (!=American liberals) but skipping those bits appears to be obligatory too.

As for Linux being American in spirit, I guess you are always right if you are American. America has been one schizophrenic nation right from its foundation as it was inspired by both the Enlightenment and Romanticism. In Europe, these movements were at each other's throat, in America they were simply blended into America. So you would get that odd combination of the supremacy of the individual, anarchic religious movements, irrationality and unfettered capitalism (Romanticism) as well as the greatest faith in society, secularism, rationality and a more carefully balanced economic system (Enlightenment).

Last edited by jay73; 06-22-2009 at 01:22 PM.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 01:38 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
too little state control is as at least as dangerous as too much.
Standard liberal fallacy. Look at an example of large horribly wrong state control and diagnose "too little" state control.

Microsoft could never have gotten where it is without state control providing rules everyone else must play by and selectively letting Microsoft break them.
 
Old 06-22-2009, 01:50 PM   #30
newbiesforever
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He did not. You do need to read Wealth to see it is true, it's in the small letters but he did warn (and Ferguson did so even more explicitly http://www.constitution.org/af/civil.htm) that too little state control is as at least as dangerous as too much. Smith is obligatory reading for European liberals (!=American liberals) but skipping those bits appears to be obligatory too.

As for Linux being American in spirit, I guess you are always right if you are American. America has been one schizophrenic nation right from its foundation as it was inspired by both the Enlightenment and Romanticism. In Europe, these movements were at each other's throat, in America they were simply blended into America. So you would get that odd combination of the supremacy of the individual, anarchic religious movements, irrationality and unfettered capitalism (Romanticism) as well as the greatest faith in society, secularism, rationality and a more carefully balanced economic system (Enlightenment).
Well, I already said I wouldn't bother defending myself against offended Europeans (if you are one)--it's pointless. But your "schizophrenic" remark: I agree completely, having noticed that myself at some point. (It was bound to be schizoid, though. What else would you get in a country where dissimilar individuals (largely a redundancy) groups were allowed to think, and to a lesser extent act, as they wished.)
 
  


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