Tuesday, April 18, 2006

French lessons

“[French revolutionary Maximilien] Robespierre was born a nobody, but he is not undocumented. … The de Robespierres were a ‘good’ family with no money. His mother’s death was followed by his father’s desertion. …

“Later, Rousseau would assure him that people were naturally good, that nature could be trusted, that he was free from original sin. Did he feel he was good, that he was free? His touchiness, his vulnerability, his tendency to flinch from people, suggest an active sense of shame. …

“Reform was in the air; liberal opinions were the fashionable ones. …

“As soon as Robespierre had any direct experience of politics, he understood what type of thought and language a revolutionary needed. When the minister Foulon was killed in the post-Bastille lynchings, he wrote: ‘M. Foulon was hanged yesterday by the people’s decree.’ — Finally, the instrument of his power was the Committee of Public Safety.”

— Hilary Mantel, writing on “If you’d seen his green eyes,” in the April 20 issue of the London Review of Books

Strong delusion

—”Markos Moulitsas is describing a frustrating period in his life. It was 2002, George W. Bush was in the White House, and in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks no one in Washington — Democrats included — seemed willing to criticize the president. Moulitsas, a passionate liberal, couldn’t believe what he was seeing. ‘I was driving my co-workers and my wife and my friends crazy, ranting and ranting and ranting about how terrible things were,’ he says. ‘There were no liberal voices in the media landscape — there were none.’ …

“Moulitsas started writing entries for MyDD … a groundbreaking political blog started by the Washington-based Democratic strategist Jerome Armstrong. Later, Moulitsas would start his own blog, DailyKos, which would become the biggest and most influential political blog on the left.

“Moulitsas is telling his story to a group of students and fans gathered at George Washington University in late March. He is with Armstrong, and together they are, as much as anyone, responsible for creating the most energetic force in Democratic politics today: the left-wing blogosphere. …

“Conservatives would undoubtedly be baffled by their analysis of events — Did he really say there were no liberal voices in the media landscape?”

— Byron York, writing on “KosWorld,” in the April 24 issue of National Review

Hero or villain?

…”Illegal-alien activists who have pulled off major rallies in several cities in recent weeks plan to shift part of their focus May 1 by targeting a newsman they see hurting their cause.

“An ‘Ax AOL’ campaign is being organized to coincide with a national action by various groups defending illegal immigration, but the real target of their wrath is Lou Dobbs of CNN. …

“According to the organizers: ‘Lou Dobbs has become the champion zealot of bashing “illegal immigration” each night at CNN.’ …

“While Dobbs has become an almost legendary hero to Americans who feel abandoned by their government on the illegal alien issue, he is being vilified in many other quarters.”

— “Illegal-alien activists target Lou Dobbs,” Monday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

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