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To attack the French Revolution as a Catholic might seem a bit too easy. But then Hillaire Belloc was famously a great defender of the Revolution, and even Aelianus of Laodicea seems to agree with him up to a point. The French Revolution, it would seem, is a bit complicated.Part of the complication has to do with the geography of France, situated between the Mediterranean “South” and the “North” of Germany, Britain etc. This is what makes France the  ideal country; the French use both olive oil and butter in their cooking. In discussing the American Revoltution, I brought up Taylor’s thesis that as the ancient ideal of order became less and less tenable, modern ideals of order “colonized” older forms of legitimacy and transformed them. Now there are basically two modes of the modern ideal of political order, and what happens in the Revolution is that each of these two modes exploits a different element of French culture — one takes over the northern, “butter” element, the other the southern, “olive oil” element.
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