Thursday, July 05, 2012

Hewitt and Jaffa and Coulter, Too!

Hewitt had Prof. Jaffa as a guest last night.  Jaffa said something very interesting which he also said in this interview with the Hoover Institute:

...the general history of the Western civilization, particularly Western thought from 17th or the 18th century to the 20th or 21st century, looks upon it in the light of the idea of progress. And Darwinism gave a great boost to the idea of progress. And the Constitution -- the people who believe in a living Constitution are basically neo-Darwinians because they say we're moving higher and higher. We know that slavery was wrong; they didn't know it. We know that capital punishment is wrong; they didn't know it. And so the idea of the combination of Hegel and Darwin created a -- whose roots, by the way, are in Rousseau, which I've said a lot about. Calhoun was a neo- [inaudible], but he was more so a disciple of Rousseau.

Jaffa is a student of Leo Strauss and is virulently opposed to Hegelian philosophy.

Also of interest, by the way, is Jaffa's 'naming the names' of Progressive-ites.  You all know that Teddy Roosevelt and the execrable O. Wendell Holmes were two of the early ones, along with Wilson.  Then came FDR.

But the most surprising ones?  Bill Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia....

(Hewitt's site is extremely frustrating, but if one of you knows how to find transcripts or audio of the Jaffa interview, feel free to post it in the combox.)

Added:  Coulter re-inforces Jaffa's point:

It has become fashionable to equate the French and American revolutions, but they share absolutely nothing beyond the word “revolution.” The American Revolution was a movement based on ideas, painstakingly argued by serious men in the process of creating what would become the freest, most prosperous nation in world history.

The French Revolution was a revolt of the mob. It was the primogenitor of the horrors of the Bolshevik revolution, Hitler’s Nazi Party, Mao’s cultural revolution, Pol Pot’s slaughter, and America’s periodic mob uprisings from Shays’ rebellion to today’s dirty waifs in the “Occupy Wallstreet” crowd.

The French Revolution is the godless antithesis to the founding of America.

She would have done better to write "God-less"--but as we all know, she's not perfect.


Jim said...

Interesting. I've read lots of articles and studied politics and history and cannot recall any great similarity of the American and French revolutions as a major meme of progressive politics.

I suspect this is another of Coulter's "libruls are God-less traitors" made up shit, comedy routines.

Grim said...

What's his problem with Hegel? Aside from the fact that he's an incredible pain to read, of course.

Anonymous said...

Coulter is not a historian, nor is she even a good writer. It is important for Americans to remember that in France in early September, 1792, universal suffrage was decreed for the first time anywhere in national elections. The vote and the subsequent declaration of a republic, though carried out imperfectly under trying conditions, was a real manifestation of the important series of "human rights" created in France at this time. It has long been accepted that the process of democratization introduced during the French Revolution constitutes one of the defining moments in modern history. And yet it is not this singular and fundamental historical development—or others of a similar import that occurred between 1789 and 1794—that finds a place among a number of American conservatives about the French Revolution but, inevitably, the Terror and the guillotine.

A major difference in the Revolutions lay in the rights that the American former colonists sought to preserve, while the former French subjects had to create them, not out of a state of nature, but through the establishment of a man-made and radically new civil society. It is clear that the French liberals and revolutionaries could not identify themselves with the Declaration of Independence, which, in its list of grievances, proved that the American Revolution was sparked by the violation of existing rights by the king of England (rights of the Englishmen); the post-feudal French had to assert completely new rights in a radically transformed society.

French revolutionaries, paving the way for other European revolutions and for French expansion as well as for historiographical interpretations, saw in their own actions and declarations a universal message that was the bearer of profound changes for world history. When drafting their own declaration of rights and constitution, the French National Assembly members thought that their own situation, as a "regenerated people," led them to copy the American example in formulating universal principles.

Dad29 said...

It is clear that the French liberals and revolutionaries could not identify themselves with the Declaration of Independence

Actually, it is not "clear" at all.

The revolutionaries could easily have adopted the PRINCIPLES of the Declaration. Further, the French did not "have to" 'create a radical new society' by killing off Catholics like the Vendees.

The main point, of course, is one which you ignore. The Americans never forgot 'the Creator.' The French--inspired by Rousseau--decided to do so.

Anonymous said...

"The French--inspired by Rousseau--decided to do so."

Not quite. The French Revolution was a complex event in which multiple groups of people fought to attain power. The massacre of the Vendeans was committed by radical elements who had perverted the works of Rousseau--who had affirmed the necessity of religion and its freedom to worship--for their own designs.

These revolutionaries received their comeuppance by those individuals dedicated to ensuring freedom of religion. Even Napoleon enabled Catholics, Protestants, and Jews to practice their religion without fear of persecution.

"Further, the French did not "have to" 'create a radical new society' by killing off Catholics like the Vendees."

Hey, isn't this action part of your "Buy More Ammo" meme? You should be proud that arms were taken up by people to defend their views without compromise.

Not that French Catholics prior to and during the French Revolution had committed their own atrocities against French Protestants called the Huguenots;

or that there had been religious hatred between these two groups for over two centuries;

or that the the massacre of Vendeans was in response to their loyalty to the Church and Crown, that ANY group regardless of their religious or social class affiliation would have received the same treatment in what amounted to a CIVIL WAR;

or that Napoleon made peace with the Vendeans, recognizing their sacrifice had been for the preservation of liberty and repairing relations with this group exempting them from the draft and providing them monetary compensation.

Yep, it's all Rousseau's "fault". I thought only libruls finger-pointed...