Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Miserable Ones

From Les Miserables, Volume 4, Book 1, Chapter 4. (There’s much good and timely stuff in the long, expository parts that everyone skips in order to get back to the plot.)

There are, in revolutions, swimmers who go against the current; they are the old parties.

For the old parties who clung to heredity by the grace of God, think that revolutions, having sprung from the right to revolt, one has the right to revolt against them. Error. For in these revolutions, the one who revolts is not the people; it is the king. Revolution is precisely the contrary of revolt. Every revolution, being a normal outcome, contains within itself its legitimacy, which false revolutionists sometimes dishonor, but which remains even when soiled, which survives even when stained with blood.

Revolutions spring not from an accident, but from necessity. A revolution is a return from the fictitious to the real. It is because it must be that it is.

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A.T. addresses the current economic situation.

In the first chapter of The Golden Lion of Granpere, Anthony Trollope presciently alludes to our current economic situation as he describes the fictional village of Granpere, in Alsace Lorraine.

Whether it is better for a people to achieve an even level of prosperity, which is shared by all, but which makes none eminent, or to encounter those rough, ambitious, competitive strengths which produce both palaces and poorhouses shall not be matters of argument here; but the teller of this story is disposed to think that the chance traveler, as long as he tarries at Granpere, will insensibly and perhaps unconsciously become an advocate of the former doctrine; he will be struck by the comfort which he sees around him, and for a while will dispense with wealth, luxury, scholarships, and fashion. Whether the inhabitants of these hills and valleys will advance to further progress now that they are again to become German is another question, which the writer will not attempt to answer here.

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