The Voice of the Counterrevolution

Count of Artois to Calonne, August 8, 1790:

We must serve the king and the queen in spite of themselves.

This is the authentic voice, the most perfect expression, of the counterrevolution: We are the saviors of the old regime, we will save the old regime from itself, we will—shades of Rousseau—force it to be free.


  1. Stephen Zielinski September 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm | #

    The fount of revolution today: Acting as if one were living in a democracy even when one is not.

    C. Wright Mills says something to this effect somewhere in his writings.

  2. Roquentin September 25, 2013 at 12:53 am | #

    Yukio Mishimia is one of my favorite writers, primarily for the Sea of Fertility quadrilogy which follows Japanese history from the beginning of the 20th century to the post-WWII era. He also was deeply, absurdly reactionary which was put on full display during his dramatic faux-coup attempt and suicide. He remained deeply devoted, even in 1970, to the idea of the Emperor as some kind of unifying force in Japanese culture. It was a similar sentiment. On a side note it was at least a little more complex with him because he was deeply hostile to capitalism, even if it was framed under the notion of just another form of malignant Western influence crushing traditional Japanese culture. To me, idiosyncratic political beliefs are the rule and not the exception.

  3. grahamlarkin September 25, 2013 at 10:57 am | #

    Yeah this quotation tempts one to compare France with the US and Japan–and of course, England. While it’s perhaps silly to generalize, I would suggest that among those four peoples it’s the English, on the whole, who seem most grown-up in their canny balance of affection and contempt for the monarchy.

    Now if you’ll pardon me, old bean, I need to watch the Queen Haters:

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