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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, July 14, 2020

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Today, July 14, is Bastille Day: the date when the French people celebrate their Revolution.

Or should I say, the date when some French people celebrate the Revolution, while others mourn the orgy of mob violence that it unleashed. At first, leaders in the newly independent United States welcomed the ouster of another king; later they recoiled at the senseless bloodshed, the headlong rush into another form of tyranny, the relentless use of the guillotine to eliminate political opposition. (In Paris the guillotine was set up at a site called the Place de la Concorde: an early indication of how totalitarians justify killing as a means of securing peace.)

But this year Bastille Day comes as Americans are living through a paroxysm of mob violence. And as in France in 1789, the mobs can look to intellectuals for justification. The Washington Post, for instance, today carries a column by Zara Anishanslin, a history professor who is anxious to tell us: “The American Revolution was violent and the destruction of property was critical to both American protest and military campaigns during the Revolution.” In case you miss the point, she later adds:  ….

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