People around the world were horrified when they heard about the Norwegian murders at the hand of Anders Behring Breivik. How could anyone do such a horrible thing to innocent people? Breivik is arguing that he did it for the good of Norway and the broader European nations. Of course, his lawyer is constructing an insanity defense. But is Breivik insane? Not if we compare what he did to past mass killings like the one that overwhelmed France in the late 18thcentury.
The French Revolution is still celebrated in France and is often compared to our War for Independence, although without the Guillotine and the massive bloodletting. “Bastille Day,” normally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration), is celebrated on July 14th as a national holiday. Festivities and official ceremonies are held all over France. It is also celebrated in Belgium, Hungary, South Africa (naturally), the United Kingdom, and in more than 50 cities across the United States.
The murdering mobs that attacked the nearly empty Bastille (at the time of the siege there were only seven non-political prisoners) believed their actions were for a better France, similar to what Breivik envisioned for Norway when he gunned down innocent children at a camp. The storming of the Bastille was a catalyst for what became known as the “reign of terror.” Compared to what the French revolutionaries did, Breivik’s actions were mild. “French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from left-wing political groups and the masses on the streets.” How bad was it?
Internally, popular sentiments radicalized the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins and virtual dictatorship by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror from 1793 until 1794 during which between 16,000 and 40,000 people were killed.
Did you get that? Between 16,000 and 40,000 French citizens were killed for a better France, and nations around the world celebrate this slaughter. Here’s an example of French Revolutionary wanton violence that makes Breivik seem like a piker in comparison:
Ordered by the king [Louis XVI] to surrender, more than 600 Swiss guards were savagely murdered. The mobs ripped them to shreds and mutilated their corpses. “Women, lost to all sense of shame,” said one surviving witness, “were committing the most indecent mutilations on the dead bodies from which they tore pieces of flesh and carried them off in triumph.” Children played kickball with the guards’ heads. Every living thing in the Tuileries [royal palace in Paris] was butchered or thrown from the windows by the hooligans. Women were raped before being hacked to death.
The Jacobin club . . . demanded that the piles of rotting, defiled corpses surrounding the Tuileries be left to putrefy in the street for days afterward as a warning to the people of the power of the extreme left.
This bestial attack, it was later decreed, would be celebrated every year as “the festival of the unity and indivisibility of the republic.” It would be as if families across America delighted in the annual TV special “A Manson Family Christmas.” ((Ann Coulter, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2011), 107.
In time, the “just cause” of the revolutionary mobs got out of hand, and some people began to notice. “During the Reign of Terror, extreme efforts of de-Christianization ensued, including the imprisonment and massacre of priests and destruction of churches and religious images throughout France. An effort was made to replace the Catholic Church altogether, with civic festivals replacing religious ones. The establishment of the Cult of Reason was the final step of radical de-Christianization.” It was at this point that the people became disillusioned with the revolutionary ways of the radicals, but not before more atrocities were committed for the salvation of the people and the nation. As revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat declared, “Let the blood of the traitors flow! That is the only way to save the country.”
Once the mob starts down the road of violence to justify the first “just cause,” there is no way to stop the radical remedy because there’s always one more thing that needs to be changed. They already had killed tens of thousands, what’s ten thousand more?
It was the right wing that opposed the revolution. Its leaders wanted to organize France along lines similar to the British constitutional model. Keep in mind that revolutionaries are left wingers. Socialism is leftwing. Communism is leftwing. Nazism (National Socialism) is leftwing. Modern-day liberals are left wingers. They understand the connection so well that they now call themselves “Progressives.” When you hear “Progressive politics,” think left wing, think socialism, think revolutionaries. The radicals of the 1960s were leftwing ideologs who had a truck load of “just causes” that led them to mob violence, blowing up buildings, and call for the violent overthrow of the “system.”
Defenders of the French Revolution tell us that it was these “just causes” that legitimized the actions of the French mobs. Breivik believes his actions were justified given what he saw happening to his nation. He is no more insane than Robespierre and the members of the Committee of Public Safety were. The future of Norway, like the future of France, was on the line, and Breivik believed he had to do something to save his fair nation. Like the French Revolution, a lot of innocent people had to die to get the attention of the people and the government.
Today’s leftists want to smear conservatives with Breivik’s atrocities. They can make this association and get away with it because they know that few people know the history of revolutions, and almost no one knows the details of the bloodletting that is celebrated as the French Revolution. If you want to know where Breivik got his inspiration, you don’t have to look far. There are numerous murderous leftwing examples from which to choose.