Friday, October 20, 2006

In The Words Of Chateaubriand

Here is a prescient quotation from one of France's great Catholic writers and patriots, François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848). He mentions Benjamin Constant, another writer, composer, and politician (1767-1830). It's interesting to note that both men died in years that saw France shaken by Revolutions:

To claim that we are civilizing Turkey by giving her steamships and railroads, by disciplining her armies, and by instructing her in how to maneuver flotillas, is not spreading civilization into the East, but introducing barbarity into the West: future Ibrahims will be empowered to take us back to the time of Charles Martel, or to the siege of Vienna, when Europe was saved by heroic Poland, over whom the ingratitude of our kings weighs heavily.

I should state that I was the only one, along with Benjamin Constant, to signal the lack of foresight of the Christian governments: a people whose social order is based on slavery and polygamy is a people that should be sent back to the steppes of Mongolia.



At October 21, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Demosthenes said...

Chateaubriand was thinking clearly in his time. His statements were not paranoia. You only need to consider that the United States had to go to war for the second time against the Barbary nations in 1815. & I think I'm right to presume that the Barbary states were weaker than the Ottoman Empire of which they were nominally a part.

It's getting ridiculous that people can't see now what Chateaubriand saw so long ago.

At October 21, 2006 5:28 PM, Blogger tiberge said...

@ demosthenes

I certainly agree with that. There are many French writers of the past who saw clearly what our leaders cannot: Voltaire, Flaubert, Malraux, are among them.


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