Happy Bastille Day!
July 14 is Bastille Day. In France, it is known as Fête Nationale or the “National Celebration”. It is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison by a mob of Parisians who were, first, after the arms cache within and, as an afterthought, whatever political prisoners were being held there. It turns out there were seven common criminals in the prison that day and no political prisoners. Governor de Launay, the commander of the prison, saw the gathering mob, and to prevent a massacre, opened the gate and let the mob “storm” in. Once the melee started, 94 of the brave and glorious storming Parisians were killed. A total of one defender died.
From this event, one thing led to another and France quickly progressed into a period that became known as the “Reign of Terror.” This was the revolutionary period when heads of just about anybody and everybody were separated from their bodies by the guillotine. Up to 40,000 of the French population lost their heads literally as the rest of them lost them figuratively. This “modern revolution” was where everything from the past was eliminated. They burned everything from art to religion artifacts. Morality and law was gone, it was Anarchy. Eventually, even the French got fed up with that hope and change brought on by their new political leaders and their new revolution when the leader himself fell victim to the Guilatine. Again, one thing led to another and in 1799, the French got the dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte who led them on military adventures that cost the lives of 6 million people. After that, it was pretty much back to business as usual in France. Almost exactly as life existed before the Storming of the Bastille.
Reflecting on this French holiday where a mob, trying to steal a few weapons, got themselves slaughtered by the dozens, released some criminals from prison and ushered in an era of terror, death, tyranny and bloody warfare. That mob was the 18th century version of “MoveOn.org”. Pushing Socialist change with no plan or thought as to what could possibly happen if they actually succeed.