"Robbespierre's sin was to be absolutely honest to the Revolution ...an idealist ...true believer... and that was an alien quanity to politicans then and now."
Maximillien Marie Isidore de Robespierre
(1758 - 1794)
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 23:10:40 -0800
From: Frank Lardner (email@example.com)
To: Richard Geib (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Was Robbespierre a tyranical embodiment of the revolution or a truly honest politician ... a 'true believer'.
When convicted by the assembly he was imprisoned, and then released by a jailer who whould not hold him. Rather than flee the country he returned to Paris and conspicuously gathered loyal followers who undoubtly would have fought for him if he had not absolutely forbibben it. When his enemies came for him he did not resist, yet his enemies shot off his jaw (a fatal wound) possibly to prevent him speaking on his behalf. They gillotined him before he could die of his wounds.
Poor stuff for a tyrant to be constructed of. I wonder if the tyrant version this is revisionist history written by the victors.
If my facts are not in error, I judge him to be the 'uncorruptable one' .... the honest politican we all say we want when in reality we want someone who will be kind to our personal agenda. Robbespierre's sin was to be absolutely honest to the Revolution ...an idealist ...true believer... and that was an alien quanity to politicans then and now.
am I wrong?
Yes, Robespierre was a "true believer" to the revolution. But I would argue that those who place so much faith in the ability of violent revolution to cure social maladies and bring about a more just world are by nature self-defeating. When the passions are so inflamed and the blood begins to flow in such large quantities like in revolutionary France, the chances for any kind of happy resolution begin to dim, in my opinion. Robespierre is as responsible as anyone for the spirit of the Jacobin terror which brought about so much bloodshed - it was inevitable perhaps that he also would be consumed by it, literally losing his head along with all the others. I would argue in part that it is because persons such as Robespierre were conspicuously missing from the American Revolution that the results were so much more propitious.
God save us from such "idealists" and "true believers" such as Robespierre. The 20th century has seen enough of them and the bloody results are known to everyone. He is one more argument for the efficacy of reform over revolution, if at all possible.
Very Truly Yours,