“The revolutionary government owes to good citizens all the protection of the nation. It owes the enemies of the people only death.”
Maximilian Robespierre, 1793
We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.
Barack Obama, 2010
In 1793 the Jacobin rulers in Paris carried their war against the Church into the Vendée and sent federal troops to attack the refractory priests, small town dwellers and peasants. These people were the French antecedents of our own “bitter clingers to their guns and religion” of rural Pennsylvania, the targets of Candidate Obama’s demeaning, condescending sneer in 2008. The Jacobins carried out a scored earth response to the resistance of the Vendeans. They burned farms, raised villages and killed indiscriminately. Reynald Secher, a French historian, has called what the Jacobins did, A French Genocide, the title of his book, published in 1986, translated into English and published by Notre Dame University Press in 2003.
These Republican disciples of J.J. Rousseau were fixed upon the destruction of the old order, a “transformation,” so to speak. This was a different regime, new in history, run by ideologues who sought to create a new kind of man and a new kind of society. This was the birth of the concept of the modern totalitarian state as described decades ago by J. L. Talmon, in his book, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy. The first Jacobins were French, but their ideology was a highly exportable commodity taken up later by Russian, Chinese and Cuban intellectuals who were all practitioners of what they called, “Revolution,” a euphemism for their program of complete annihilation of the ruling class they loathed, including the confiscation of their property, the eradication of their liberties and finally their physical destruction.
Americans have long been reluctant to give power to revolution-prone grievance mongers but in 2008, the voters put a Jacobin into the Whitehouse, a grievance-nurturing man whose 20 year mentor and pastor was an America-loathing fanatic. Five days before his election Barack Obama proclaimed that “We are five days from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” He did not at that time elaborate what he was intending but nearly four years later it is pretty clear what he had in mind. Fundamental transformation was Obama-speak for Revolution and it is what he has been about since the day he was sworn into office.
Jacobins, whenever and wherever they come to rule over others, step into their positions of authority with overweening ambition and loaded with the arrogance of power. The Jacobins arrive with a fanatical moral certainty that lets them give full indulgence to their utopian impulses, no matter what the practical destruction that occurs. They are intent not on governing but on “transformation” to use the President’s own terminology. Institutions must be dismantled, tradition overthrown, people made (coerced) into being virtuous. Tax them, regulate them, fine them and revile them appears to be President Obama’s modus operandi. “Punish our enemies and reward our friends,” as the President himself so succinctly expressed it in 2010 to his followers – the velvet glove of Hope and Change is now the mailed fist of My Way or the Highway. Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona seem to be part of President Obama’s own Vendée, places whose inhabitants need to be brought under heel and taught who is in charge.
Mr. Obama possesses all of the requisite Jacobin traits. First, he is a “Knower,” of rare and remarkable powers. From the early days when he burst upon the national scene as a serious candidate for the highest office there broke forth from his enthusiasts a loud and steady chorus proclaiming his unmatched brilliance and vast intellectual powers. Unlike his predecessors he was “smart,” “a great teacher, sort of a god, standing above us,” having “the highest IQ of any President.” Mr. Obama himself was no less assured of his unique status as a universal genius as he strolled before his adoring crowds promising to “change America and the world,” to “heal the planet” and similar modest undertakings.
His vast cognitive superiority in his own mind entitled him to exert as much power as he needed to do whatever he wanted. Thus we see in him the second core element of the Jacobin’s soul – a relentless quest for control over the lives of other people.
Controlling the lives of people is what Jacobins are all about and explains their love for coercion. Because they know and understand what others do not they believe themselves to be entirely justified in forcing the refractory, “bitter clingers” to be what they, the Jacobins, want to them to be, which is reflecting mirrors, imperfect albeit, of themselves. Jacobins not only demand obedience, they require constant adulation and admiration as well.
Obama like all Jacobins is a lover of coercion, the most conspicuous manifestation being ObamaCare, a massive, incomprehensible 2000 page work of complexity, confusion and obfuscation. Its fundamental purpose is to be a legal instrument of such expansive and intrusive reach as to render all Americans in matters of health (physical and mental) completely dependent upon government lawyers, bureaucrats, and lobbyists – helpless before their Jacobin masters who, of course, have never sought anything but the well-being of their subjects. Obama Care is an unprecedented labor of coercion. The oversight of your physical and mental well-being amounts to total control over you. Mr. Obama is also loading up the IRS with many additional agents – a coercer-President needs many additional hands to do his work of forced extraction.
Government coercion is a constantly expanding and dominating feature of American life. To see the work of our government at its coercive best go to any airport. Watch the countless number of ordinary, law-abiding citizens forced (coerced) to act like motely inmates of a county-jail work detail as they are made to strip off their clothes – jackets, belts, shoes, jewelry – and thrust their wrist-clasped arms above their heads in symbolic surrender before the scanners of their naked bodies. Ordered about by the legions of federal warders, they must watch them paw through their personal belongings, pat down old women and young children, their hands intruding into very private parts of the body.
It did not use to be like this and does not have to be like this. Little of these humiliating and stupid rituals have anything to do with security: their secondary purpose is to harass and intimidate which underlies the primary purpose which is to make everyone clearly understand that their government can do what it wants whenever it wants to whomever it chooses. Airport security, of course, is what those of us who are ruled have to endure. Complain and see what happens to you. The rulers, themselves, of course, never have to experience these indignities, submit to the gropers, have their possessions handled by the rubber-gloved crews. And why should they? Jacobins make the rules for others to follow. For beings of superior virtue and wisdom, they are not necessary.
The airport model of coercion is what the current Jacobins would like all of life in America to be like for those in their charge.