Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Popular History of France: Final Ponderings

I have finished Guizot's history.  It stopped just short of the French Revolution, so I have started another work, The French Revolution, by Hilaire Belloc.  I will comment on Belloc's work later, but some of what I remember of Guizot's ending is undoubtedly already conflated with Belloc's work.

Guizot's work feels like it was left hanging.  Or perhaps there was a 7th volume to the series that he didn't get around to writing.  What was fascinating was Guizot's description of the circumstances leading up to the French Revolution.  There was the financial problems associated with the war with England that brought about America's birth.  What happened during this period seems to be a systematic engagement in creative finance by the French government as various debt instruments were dreamed up only to explode after they reached their limit.  The result was economic chaos.  To this we add a clueless Louis XVI who might be caricatured as Forest Gump goes to Versailles.  Then there was Marie Antoinette, who like Princess Hillary is socially clueless, but unlike Hillary is simply naive rather than pathologically malevolent.  As was mentioned in the last post, all the smart intellectuals were forever mocking the upper classes and the establishment, which our vastly inferior intellectualoids continue to do today, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are the upper classes and the establishment.  All this leaves me wondering what will happen if the financial wizardry of today finally blows up on a worldwide basis.

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