Paris in the grip of a deadly blight

No, not Covid, although God knows that’s deadly enough.

Horace on today’s Paris: “Where, where are you rushing in your wickedness?”

The blight in question is the three-month celebration of the Paris Commune, lauded by Marx, Engels and Lenin as a nascent “dictatorship of the proletariat”. The source of the contagion is Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor.

Actually, all the mainstream parties in France are socialist. The one that actually bears that name would be considered communist in many other places, with ample justification.

And Miss Hidalgo is on the left of even that party, which explains her affection for the 1871 attempt to turn Paris into an abattoir first and a charnel house second. It also explains why all my Parisian friends, admittedly a pre-selected group, loathe her.

Facilitated by the country’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the Commune prefigured every subsequent communist takeover, successful or otherwise. The revolutions in Russia (both of 1905 and 1917), Hungary, Germany and China all traced their genealogy to the Paris bloodbath in the spring of 1871.

Hidalgo and her Communist allies correctly detect a link between the Commune and the gilets jaunes riots, not to say the whole modern ethos. Laurence Patrice, her Communist deputy mayor, said the city was celebrating “the values that were embraced in 1871 and which hold good today.” The blighter has a point.

The Commune is an essential chapter in the communist canon. When I was a little tot in Moscow, I hadn’t yet heard of the American Revolution but I knew quite a bit about the Commune. Adolphe Tiers, the great historian turned statesman, who suppressed the revolt, was my mother’s bête noire, and she always referred to him by his nickname, Bloody Dog. (“Somebody had to be,” commented Thiers after order was restored.)

Like all revolutions, the Commune issued a full complement of bien pensant slogans, along the socialist, feminist and anarchist lines. But that was mere PR. In reality, they took over Paris and embarked on an orgy of murder, looting, arson and general mayhem.

Presaging the common practice of today’s terrorists, the Communards took hundreds of hostages, many of them clergy. Presaging the common practice of today’s governments, Tiers said: “We don’t negotiate with murderers”.

The Communards immediately murdered dozens of priests, including the Archbishop of Paris, and, for good measure, quite a few policemen. They then methodically proceeded to torch public buildings, starting with the Tuileries Palace and the Hôtel de Ville (unlike the Palace, it has since been restored, but don’t try to book a room there). The Richelieu Library of the Louvre was reduced to cinders.

Also destroyed was the Palais de Justice, while firemen managed to put out the flames engulfing the Sainte-Chapelle, the Church of Saint-Eustache, the Louvre and Notre-Dame. Revolutionary conscience is indeed fiery.

The government’s cause was indirectly helped by the Prussians, who released captured French soldiers from the POW camps in the nick of time. Tiers assembled a force of some 250,000 in Versailles and marched on Paris.

Members of the National Guard who were in cahoots with the Communards instantly dispersed, leaving the firebugs to fend for themselves. In short order they discovered that fighting a regular army was harder than shooting unarmed priests.

About 6,000-7,000 Communards were either killed in the clashes or later executed by order of the military tribunals. That’s what earned Tiers the sobriquet so favoured by my late mother, God bless her.

Some Parisians see these shameful festivities as Hidalgo’s attempt to curry favour with the Left in the hope of becoming the Socialist candidate in the upcoming presidential election and, Marx willing, the next president. Such politicking doubtless plays a role, but the real significance runs deeper.

The very fact that the capital of a core Western nation can be made to celebrate that Walpurgisnacht means that its inspiring ideas are socially and intellectually acceptable in the sense in which, say, Nazi ideas aren’t.

For example, I doubt that, should Berlin acquire an AfD mayor by 2023, he’d be able to decorate the city with swastikas to mark the centenary of the Beer Hall Putsch. The underlying spirit is beyond the pale, as it were.

By contrast, the spirit that animated the Commune is a spectre that’s indeed haunting Europe, in the enduring words of Marx and Engels. That’s why Paris is flying red flags, whose colour reflects the oceans of blood spilled around the world by Anne Hidalgo’s ideological brethren.

And that’s why a subversive, incompetent creature like her can harbour presidential ambitions in a country I love so much. God spare us.

5 thoughts on “Paris in the grip of a deadly blight”

  1. “The Commune is an essential chapter in the communist canon. When I was a little tot in Moscow, I hadn’t yet heard of the American Revolution but I knew quite a bit about the Commune.”

    Didn’t the Soviet call it the American War of Independence? Only communism could be revolutionary after all.

  2. How maddening. Are their any good books out there that describe this infamous event in detail out there, Mr. Boot?

    1. I’m sure there are, but I can’t think of one offhand. However, any book on the history of communism will contain at least one chapter on the Commune, especially in France. Back in the 50s, Soviet children got their knowledge of the Commune from the ambient atmosphere – and children like me grew up to hate the Commune along with everything communist. That’s why, when I first visited Paris in the late 70s, I was amazed to see the Communard Wall at Père Lachaise , the cemetery where they took their last stand.

  3. I am confounded every time I read about such celebrations or people extolling the “virtues” of socialism, communism, or Marxism (economic or social). I do not recall having any courses in school that explicitly taught that communism was bad – we all just knew it. How many men had died fighting against these evils? How many (millions) more had died as victims to them? Today we vote in favor of such ideologies. What did those poor souls die for? How stupid is modern man? I recently watched a video entitled “Cancel Culture is a Dress Rehearsal for Mass Murder”, by Stefan Molyneux. It seems obvious to me, but there are so many misguided (brainwashed?) souls who just do not seem to understand basic freedoms.

    I see similar things, and feel similar outrage, when I hear or read about Catholic leaders pushing ecumenism. For hundreds of years, Catholic saints fought and died for their (our) faith. The errors of Protestantism were seen as too great to reconcile. Souls were at risk. Now it seems that as long as man does not emit greenhouse gases, he is sure to get to Heaven.

    The topics seem related to me. I don’t understand how people get to the point where they can no longer make distinctions between good and evil. As a great man once wrote, “Tolerance is today’s shorthand for the absence of convictions and critical judgement. No hierarchy of ideas, tastes, faiths
    or anything else is supposed to exist. They are all equal.” Sad but true.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.