Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

14 July 2009

Speaking of Politics ... Which of Course I Never Do ...

Today is Bastille Day!
Today in 1789 a group of concerned citizens stormed HM prison le Bastille Saint-Antoine. In honour of which I am having a beer.

The lesson of the Bastille is threefold:
1) Sic Semper Tyrannis
The Bastille's notoriety was due to secrecy rather than based in fact. At the time of its storming, the garrison was mostly pensioned veterans, backed by 30 or so Grenadiers, and the prisoner count was seven.

However, it remained a symbol of the ruling classes, and following the storming it was appropriated as a symbol by the ruling revolutionaries, leading to lesson #2.

2) Revolutions Poison History (so does everything else)
The goal of storming the Bastille had nothing to do with releasing the prisoners, until it occured to someone what a fine political gesture it might make. Instead, the concerned citizens, pragmatic pre-Marxists that they were, were attempting to apply Marx' principles a priori to the supplies of weaponry, shot, and powder inside.

In the aftermath, the prison's governor and several other of the prison staff were murdered, despite surrendering under a truce flag, and their heads cut off and paraded on pikes.

3) Political Currents Are Profitably Navigable
After the Revolution, a well-connected impresario named Palloy contracted to demolish the building. As part of the demolition, he sold the rubble to souvenir hunters.

Here endeth the lessons.

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