Robespierre's War on Terror
By Staff News & Analysis - November 28, 2011

Preparing for the Final Takedown? … There is a shocking piece of legislation working its way through Congress. A Defense Authorization bill for 2012 allows for military detentions of American citizens on American soil. These can be indefinite detentions, with no trial. The American Civil Liberties Union statement (more of an alert) on November 23, 2011 deserves special attention: "The U.S. Senate is considering the unthinkable: changing detention laws to imprison people — including Americans living in the United States itself — indefinitely and without charge." … "The Defense Authorization bill — a "must-pass" piece of legislation — is headed to the Senate floor with troubling provisions that would give the President — and all future presidents — the authority to indefinitely imprison people, without charge or trial, both abroad and inside the United States." –, Dr. Andrew Bosworth

Dominant Social Theme: Safety requires the vigilance of top authorities. And if civil protections are squashed and people's rights are violated, well … so be it.

Free-Market Analysis: Dr. Bosworth has written a remarkable article about the Defense Authorization bill now wending its way through the US Congress (see above). He makes it very clear that he thinks this legislation is the formal forerunner to a kind of US police state, though we tend to think the US is already there in some respects

We also mentioned this legislation in another article today featuring top libertarian presidential candidate Bill Still. The legislation, in our view, is worth several references or even more. We're not sure it's going to pass and, in fact, we are not even sure it is meant to pass. We believe it's a kind of warning.

It is in fact a kind of a power elite dominant social theme: The US can never be safe enough. Unfortunately, in pursuit of safety the bill ends up being quite extreme in a lot of ways and is being lofted at a time when the Internet is anything but quiescent. So … (perhaps we're wrong) we think it has a deeper purpose.

Yes, for us there is a larger message being sent. The message is, "Watch out! Times have changed! We, the Anglosphere power elite, are not fooling around anymore. The Internet Reformation may have compromised our secrecy and ability to promote aspects of our agenda via fear-based themes but it has not compromised our ability to use force and to pass laws in the legislatures that we control around the world. And we control a lot!" Here's some more from this article:

If enacted, sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA would:

1) Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;

2) Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and

3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

Dr. Bosworth goes on to show how Senator Levin is trying to defend the bill and how the Obama administration, which apparently helped write the bill, is now trying to avoid responsibility for it. He writes, "Clearly, this upcoming defense bill – especially Sections 1031 and 1032 – is plagued by confusion. Some of this confusion appears to be deliberate."

And Dr. Bosworth concludes with this eloquent statement: "The bill's provision for the indefinite detention of American citizens, without charge or trial, represents nothing short of a declaration of war by the federal government on the American people. Hopefully, more sensible Senators and Representatives will squash this diabolical legislation."

Is there a trend at work here? Just as the power elite in our view slathered videos of Muammar Gaddafi's gory death all over YouTube to intimidate those who would stand up to its growing global power, so this legislation with its current wording is intended as a kind of intimidation.

In fact, it is telling people who are thinking of actively resisting what's taking place in the West that they can be shipped off to jail and tortured without recourse. It doesn't matter, therefore, if it passes or not. The message has been sent. The trend is clear: What we fail to do now, we shall attempt to do tomorrow and tomorrow. Tomorrow, I love ya … you're only a day away! (– Annie)

What are the powers-that-be putatively trying to accomplish? Well, in their own words, they are attempting to keep citizens of the West – especially America – safe while top officials fight a war on terror wherever it may be.

Of course, in our view (and many others'), there likely IS no war on terror. There likely IS no Al Qaeda – or perhaps what remains of that organization went to war under CIA supervision against Gaddafi. But let's give the Senate the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they do not know that there are significant questions about the war on terror and how it came to be and where it stands now.

Perhaps they do not know there are questions about Osama bin Laden, as well, and his "leadership" of Al Qaeda and his subsequent death only a few months ago. We've written about that here: Osama bin Laden Is Dead Again.

But it seems to us there is a specific strategy at work. The new protest movements aimed at Wall Street and the one percent emphasize a kind of class warfare that is new to America but is an old Anglosphere strategy (from what we can tell).

It is also worth noting how many have adopted neo-class envy as their own and are calling for a governmental investigation into Wall Street and punishment of evildoers. We've seen this before and we think we can recognize its signals.

Yes, soon people may stop making distinctions. If you work on Wall Street you will be suspect. If you are "rich" you shall be suspect. It's not hard to get people worked up in a time of (artificially imposed) scarcity. That's one thing we think is happening.

A second authoritarian impetus is coming from the powers-that-be via legislatures. This is the other half of a kind of pincer movement of societal madness. First you inflame the madness of crowds with class envy. Then you insulate yourself from violent lunacy via the meme of "national security."

Congress is beginning to wield this second meme. As the crowds rage outside, distracted and furious, the elites direct that anger at will through various kinds of national security legislation. You need both halves of the power equation to make it work properly.

See, people have to be both infuriated and frightened in order to be totally malleable. And once they are in this state, it's also very easy to suggest solutions that support your (the manipulator's) agenda. In this case, a new world order run by the very power elite that is orchestrating this increased social chaos over time.

It's not as if it hasn't been done before. But as we have we have pointed out, the last time it was done to the completeness of its arc in the West, the French Revolution took hold with all its goriness, terror and societal dysfunction.

After Thoughts

Maximilien Robespierre's constituency outside the Convention was the mob, roaming the streets of Paris, the center of the Revolution. Large parts of France were hardly involved; for most people, life went on during the Revolution much as before. The mob in Paris consisted largely of destitute sans-culottes ("without knee breeches"), who maintained themselves by a mixture of crime, prostitution, begging, and odd jobs. Robespierre and his followers incited them to action whenever political expediency called for it. But even when unincited, having nothing better to do, they formed the crowd that watched the public executions, jeered and abused those about to die, rejoiced at the severed heads, adulated the leaders temporarily in power, and cursed them after they fell. Like flies, they were everywhere as the Revolution went on its bloody way. Their enraged, expectant buzzing formed the ghastly background of the slaughter of the innocents.

Historical distance and revolutionary rhetoric must not be allowed to obscure the Terror's savagery. The descriptions that follow are only a few among many that could be given. Stanley Loomis writes in Paris in the Terror that, in the September massacres of 1792, "the bloody work went on for five . . . days and nights. On the morning of the third, the prison of La Force was entered and here took place the murder of the Princesse de Lamballe. . . . The frenzy of the crazed and drunken murderers appears to have reached its highest pitch at La Force. Cannibalism, disembowelment and acts of indescribable ferocity took place here. The Princess . . . refused to swear her hatred of the King and Queen and was duly handed over to the mob. She was dispatched with a pike thrust, her still beating heart was ripped from her body and devoured, her legs and arms were severed from her body and shot through cannon. The horrors that were then perpetrated on her disemboweled torso are indescribable. . . . It has been loosely assumed . . . that most of the other victims were, like herself, aristocrats—an assumption that for some curious reason is often supposed to mitigate these crimes. Very few victims were, in fact, of the former nobility—less than thirty out of the fifteen hundred who were killed."

What Robespierre had unloosed were the most depraved urges of society's dregs. The resulting anarchy temporarily served his purpose, much as the Kristallnacht served Hitler's, the purges Stalin's, and the cultural revolution Mao's. Each perpetrated the terror to frighten opponents into abject submission and establish himself more firmly in power.

Having secured Paris, in 1793 Robespierre appointed commissioners to enforce his interpretation of the Revolution outside the capital. In the city of Lyon, writes Simon Schama in Citizens, the guillotine began its work, but it was found to be "a messy and inconvenient way of disposing of the political garbage. . . . A number of the condemned, then, were executed in mass shootings. . . . [A]s many as sixty prisoners were tied in a line by ropes and shot at with cannon. Those who were not killed outright by the fire were finished off with sabers, bayonets, and rifles. . . . By the time that the killings . . . had finished, one thousand nine hundred and five people had met their end." The commissioner in Nantes "supplemented the guillotine with . . . ?vertical deportations.≈ . . . Holes were punched in the sides of . . . barges. . . . Prisoners were put in with their hands and feet tied and the boats pushed into the center of the river. . . . [The] victims helplessly watched the water rise about them. . . . [P]risoners were stripped of their clothes and belongings . . . [Y]oung men and women [were] tied naked together in the boats. Estimates of those who perished in this manner vary greatly, but there were certainly no fewer than two thousand."

In the Vendéan massacre, recounts Schama, "Every atrocity the time could imagine was meted out to the defenseless population. Women were routinely raped, children killed, both mutilated. . . . At Gonnord . . . two hundred old people, along with mothers and children, [were forced] to kneel in front of a large pit they had dug; they were then shot so as to tumble into their own grave. . . . Thirty children and two women were buried alive when earth was shoveled onto the pit." In Paris, Loomis writes, Robespierre ordered the kangaroo court, known as the Revolutionary Tribunal, to be "as active as crime itself and conclude every case within twenty-four hours." "The victims were shepherded to the courtroom in the morning and, no matter how many of them there might be, their fate was settled by no later than two in the afternoon of that same day. By three o'clock their hair had been cut, their hands bound and they were in the death carts on their way to the scaffold." "Between June 10 and July 27 [1793] . . . 1,366 victims perished." Most of these people were innocent of any crime and were unable to defend themselves against accusations of which they were not even informed.

These atrocities were not unfortunate excesses unintended by Robespierre and his henchmen but the predictable consequences of the ideology that divided the world into "friends" and less-than-human "enemies." The ideology was the repository of the true and the good, the key to the welfare of humanity. Its enemies had to be exterminated without mercy because they stood in the way. As the ideologues saw it, the future of mankind was a high enough stake to justify any deed that served their purpose. As Loomis puts it, "[A]ll who played a role in the drama . . . believed themselves motivated by patriotic and altruistic impulses. All . . . were able to value their good intentions more highly than human life. . . . There is no crime, no murder, no massacre that cannot be justified, provided it be committed in the name of an Ideal."

The ideal, however, was simply what Robespierre said it was. And the law was what Robespierre and his followers willed it to be. They changed it at will and determined whether its application in a particular case was just. The justification of monstrous actions by appealing to a passionately held ideal, elevated as the standard of reason and morality, is a characteristic feature of political ideologies in power. For the Communists, it was a classless society; for the Nazis, racial purity; for Islamic terrorists, their interpretation of the Koran. The shared feature is that the ideal, according to its true believers, is immune from rational or moral criticism, because it determines what is reasonable and moral.

(Excerpted from City Journal, "Why Robespierre Chose Terror," by John Kekes, Spring 2006)