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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Ya say you want a revolution

Yeah, pretty much:

At the end of the 18th century, there were two great Western revolutions — the American and the French. Americans opted for the freedom of the individual, and divinely endowed absolute rights and values.

A quite different French version sought equality of result. French firebrands saw laws less as absolute, but instead as useful to the degree that they contributed to supposed social justice and coerced redistribution. They ended up not with a Bill of Rights and separation of powers, but instead with mass executions and Napoleonic tyranny.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration is following more the French model than the American.

Suddenly, once-nonpartisan federal bureaucracies have become catalysts for fundamentallytransforming America.

The article is headlined "Is the French Revolution our new model?" which I think puts too much emphasis on President Obama. The difference between the two revolutions has been the liberal/conservative dividing line pretty much forever. One of the most famous works of Edmund Burke, sort of the founding father of modern conservatism, was, in fact, in praise of the American Revolution in comparison to the French. And progressives going back to FDR and Wilson have followed the French model of emphasizing the group over the individual.