The Tragedy of an Opportunity Missed, by David Carlin

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*Image: Destruction of the French Collossus by James Gillray, 1798 [British Museum, London]. Gillray’s print depicts the end of the French revolutionary regime (the Colossus) consequence of a British lightning bolt.

By David Carlin, The Catholic Thing, Oct. 15, 2021

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.


David CarlinWhenever a great revolution transforms a nation – for example, the French Revolution that began in 1789, or the Russian Communist Revolution that began in 1917, or the German Nazi Revolution that began in 1933 – there will always be dissenters, people who are unwilling or unable to give their approval to the new state of affairs.

For the most part, these dissenters will be quiet about their dissent – otherwise, they might lose their jobs or their freedom or their lives.  Besides, the counter-revolutionary movement that they might be inclined to support will have few conspicuous leaders or none, for the leaders of the revolution will see to it that potential leaders of a counter-revolution will be shot or decapitated.

And so the revolution rolls on, and the impression is created that the masses of the people – whether French or Russian or German – are enthusiastic supporters of the revolution.  It is conceded that there are dissenters, so many dissenters in fact that the triumph of the revolution requires a great struggle against them, a struggle that will “liquidate” dissenters by the use of guillotines or concentration camps or gulags – or simply a bullet in the back of the head. …