Happy Bastille Day!
July 14 marks the anniversary of the assault on the great French prison, the Bastille, in 1789. Most historians and French officials consider this day to be the beginning of the French Revolution. Roughly equivalent to our battles at Concord and Lexington (remember, the "shot heard around the world"), the simmering tensions in France boiled over into violence.
In France, "Bastille Day" has officially become the equivalent of Independence Day in America. On the French "July 4th" (ironically on July 14), the French celebrate the birth of liberty, equality, and fraternity. However, what began so hopefully eventually devolved into dictatorship, political purges, massacres, the Terror, and the guillotine. All too soon, Napoleon would be crowned emperor.
Although the American Revolution was also blemished with violence and abhorrent behavior, it never approached the tragedy of the French Revolution. To the contrary, armed with the First Principles of the rule of law, unalienable rights, the Social Compact, equality, and limited government, our Founders fought off attempts to create a dictatorship or engage in deadly political purges or massacres.
The French, on the other hand, eviscerated all of the First Principles by destroying the law, violating unalienable rights (especially of free speech, free press, and the free exercise of religion), rendering asunder the Social Compact, creating class warfare, and establishing totalitarian government.
The contrasts between America and France could not be more vivid. Thank God for America.