Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Trouble with revolutions

The meme about those heroic rebels destroying an evil empire is nice, but watch what you ask for....

so is the latest Star Wars an example of how revolutions can go wrong?

(Headsup Instapundit.)

and, of course, everyone knows that this would have happened in the Hunger games, if Katnis was a poorer shot...

this is not the story of the Arab Spring, but an inevitable result of history.

The fall of Rome and the dark ages, the massacres of the Vendee and the reign of terror, the Irish massacres after Englan's "glorious revolution", not to mention Stalin's gulag, Mao's secret famines and red guard destruction of culture, and of course, Cambodian holocaust are all the result of glorious rebellions gone bad.

The Rebels often win because the empire is not ruthless enough...or the empire is already weakened by fighting between factions, famine or disease.

another alternative is worse, as when both sides fight ruthlessly against each other, as happened with the little remembered Taiping Rebellion that ultimately failed, because of the bloodiest civil war in history...

Yes, a few turn out well, but often the "good guys" who win are not ruthless enough to stop the bad guys, and alas they remain bad.

Yes, there are exceptions to the rule: George Washington's honor allowed a chaotic American republic to time to stablize without chaos (although the country had earlier expelled a couple hundred thousand loyalists).Washington also left an example of not staying in power after his term of office was over, allowing others to rule. (which is why a lot of people wonder about Hillary and Jeb).

The best case scenerio could be Augustus Caesar, after his initial takeover, became a bland emperor allowing the Senate to "rule" (in name only, of course.). This worked for him, but now when later emperors became senile (Tiberius) or insane (Caligula, Nero). One wonders what would have happened if he had stepped down? Another civil war? Or a better Rome?

Finally, not all revolutions are bloody: I suspect few in the West realize that communism's fall in Russia and Eastern Europe was a true miracle that could have ended differently...

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