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In the past I’ve made, for equitable reason, fun of the metric system for failing to give us a metric clock and calendar.
The clock, a hopeless cause. A kind of calendar, however, was tried during the excitement-packed adventure known as the French Revolution and subsequent Terror. How sad to have missed that, but we, the U.S., were busy trying to moderate the use of individual liberty.
Wanting to outdo us in revolutionary excellence the French (quite in character) added a couple of game changers that are (in my opine) difficult to affix a precise meaning – Egalite and Fraternite.
So, from the get-go, many times more difficult to manage because the aim of liberty for the individual isn’t the same as aiming at equality or brotherliness among groups.
Understandable aims got torn in the Revolution and subsequent Terror. A reason-based revolutionary calendar helped fuel problems. With metrics thought to ease humanity’s woes, the new calendar had 12 renamed months with three 10-day weeks. There’s 360.
Then add five fresh secular holidays – Genius – Work – Virtue – Reason – Reward. The secular-religious holiday didn’t catch on.
“What are you doing this Virtue?” Anybody ask me that and I’d laugh. Doing so could get me executed by revolutionary followers for rejecting basic beliefs of the new regime.
Answer to a simple question such as “What day is it” spelled allegiance to one view or the other with corresponding risks and benefits depending on whether the inquisitor was new regime or old in sympathy. A logical response would be to play-act as dumb as possible and not show recognition of either calendar system. “What day is it?”
“It’s hot today.”
Wasn’t life a wonderfully exciting adventure requiring ordinary folk to know two calendars and avoid recognizing either until determining the sympathies of those around you? You’d be on your toes (suspicious and guarded in your liberty) at all times because the decade plus of Terror got its name for due cause.
In its goal of making things better the Revolution took on a deadly life its own. Ever hear of Revolutionary Marriage? Could be OK, maybe even fun? We’ll see.
First a male and female had to be accused by a citizen (a term easily abused to gain power) and then judged by a committee as guilty before man and woman were bound (tied) in marriage to be then thrown off a bridge to complete the ceremony. It was considered entertaining to see whether the male or female enemy would drown first.
If one survived to struggle ashore, divorce was administered by a pike or kick to the head. But there was equality in both sides being horribly cruel.
A much-used tactic used on suspected enemies was a pitchfork or spike to the gut to ensure a long and painful death.
My point is that making things better always has consequences in more than one direction. Am I deluded to see some similarity between the revolutionary urge to fix life and society (for thee as well as me works out as thee gotta be like me – that’s the problem) by insisting on external changes to make the transformation real?
Reformist zeal to show results larger than individual liberty led, I feel, to the Terror which repeated when similar transformations were done in Russia using very similar aims and again by the National Socialists in Germany forming their thousand-year Third Reich.
Did you note one of the five Revolutionary Holidays was named Virtue? The Revolution absolutely rejected religion, smashed religious objects and turned churches into barns or public buildings. Yet the Revolution immediately included a heresy catch with virtue.
What’s virtuous and what isn’t? Answer incorrectly according to an authority and you’d be beheaded, enjoy Revolutionary Marriage or be burned alive. Different name, same Inquisitional result.
It’s a vexing reality that ideals put into action tend to turn violent when encountering natural resistance.
But let’s not be pessimistic because there are some wonderful things to consider. Example. I’m tired of the southern border getting all the fun and benefit of extra-ordinary citizenship with incoming persons creating jobs and opportunities of all sorts.
Why isn’t the northern border getting its fair and equitable portion? Why? Is it ours, or is Canadian racism keeping the deserving from us? (OK, in February could be temperature, but we’ve got a few months suited to human survival.)
It’s simply wrong to leave us out. I Falls and Grand Portage, etc. can handle more than logs and a few tourists. Bring on the new citizens!
Next wondrous consideration is Paul Pelosi (nice person, they say) calling police about an intruder. Then when officers arrive Paul goes back in the house for the hammer altercation where he’s whacked. Seems as if police were called to witness the event. That it?
Strange but not as strange as the intruder/attacker a (here we go) Canadian-US-Universal-Citizen of (here a puzzler) left wing-MAGA-nudist inclination. Then, boom, story go away.
I’m going to keep picking on Canada because Canada is the traditional culprit sending cold Canadian highs to plague us. And we let them get away with it, this outright violation of our border and absolute impediment to migration of new citizens who wish to die of heat exhaustion rather than freeze burn.
A Revolutionary Committee is needed to discuss equitable distribution of the contents of highs and lows moving across borders so we can achieve greater fairness in weather outcomes among the otherwise ignored and marginalized. What modern politico can’t appreciate that? If nothing else the Committee could rename below zero to something nice like “brisk.” Then say “well done!”
Speak of word fun. After some cavity-affirming care at my dentist (I go mainly for the gas) I went away woozily trying to connect the position of gender fluidity with that on its other hand affirming that gender is so definite the swapping of parts defines it. Seems like a choice between fluid and ice. Which would you rather?
Treading water could keep a person afloat, but at risk of drowning when trying to eat a bowl of chili.
Final hmmm. The century-ago America character, Topsy, was considered racist, but now re-gendered is a press secretary.