Friday, July 19, 2013

St. Bartholomew, George Zimmerman, and Barack Obama's "Fundamental Transformation of America"

Late 16th Century France was a mess.  The Protestant Reformation had, by 1572, led to three religious Civil Wars.  In an effort to heal the torn Kingdom the Queen Mother Marie de' Medici convinced the Catholic Establishment to go along with her plan to marry her daughter to a Protestant, Henri III of Navarre.  She hoped that the union would bring the two warring sides together.

She succeeded in a most unfortunate way.

A Royal Wedding then (as it is today) was a Very Big Deal Indeed.  Anyone who was Anyone expected an invitation, and those invited were expected to attend.  The Protestant nobility turned out in force, descending on the very Catholic Paris for the joyous day.

Image via Wikipedia
What happened was that they were slaughtered in what's gone down in the chronicles as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.  Thousands of Protestants - and especially their leaders - were cut down, hunted like dogs through the streets of Paris, not just by the mob but by King Charles' Swiss Guard.  The killing spread immediately to the Provinces, with an unknown number of dead likely exceeding 10,000.

Remember, France was much smaller then, only 50 years or so after the death of the English King Henry V (of "Band of Brothers" fame) and only a generation removed from when Joan of Arc helped throw off the yoke of English rule.
The King hastily assembled the Paris Parlement, who passed a resolution saying that it was all the fault of those  traitorous Protestants, plotting against the Crown. In a divided Europe, the news was greeted with either horror or rejoicing, depending on your confession.  German Emperor Maximilian - overlord of a divided Germany - called it shameful.  His son-in-law King Phillip II of Spain - that most Catholic Prince who would in 15 years muster an Armada against the English - was said to have laughed.  It is also said that it is the only time that most dour of rulers was heard to laugh.

We are seeing in our own day a fracturing of the old bonds that once united this Res Publica.  E pluribus unum has been undermined by a political class that has seen opportunity to be had in a fracturing of a common weal, in a balkinization where a formerly united polity is fractured into groups that can be played off against each other.  Where once there was a common sense of what it is to be American, now we are immersed in "Press 1 for English", the replacement of the "melting pot" for the "salad bowl", the absurd - but loudly persistent - accusations of racism against those opposed to (or even skeptical of) radical political agendas.

We see today our own Religious Wars, with two groups increasingly divided along philosophical lines.  George Zimmerman was one who found himself unexpectedly on the wrong side of that dividing line.

Zimmerman, a Democratic Party voter and Obama supporter, found himself suddenly a heretic.  He represented the melting pot - mixed white, black, and Hispanic; he tutored black kids; his date to his prom was black; his black neighbors said he was a great guy.  But a melting pot is not useful these days, not to political forces that see opportunity in fragmenting the polity.  It's particularly unhelpful when - like Zimmerman - it shows that it is willing to self-organize (Neighborhood Watch vs. ask the Government for help) and particularly unhelpful when it is willing to use lethal force to defend itself.

And so a minority Obama voter found himself suddenly a "White Hispanic", and facing trumped up charges egged on by a corrupt Press.  The only surprise in the entire sad episode was that he was not tried before a Kangaroo Court.

That's coming.  The eight months since President Obama won reelection have seen the mask slip.  The man who ran as a centrist, post-racial technocrat no longer scruples to bend the supposed politically neutral Government Agencies to discomfit his political enemies.  The IRS is only the most obvious of these, with their astonishing harassment of the Tea Party; the Justice Department itself is seen to be organizing street protests against Zimmerman, and even setting up a central snitch phone bank where American Citizens can report perceived thought crime from this particular fellow Citizen.  He suspends inconvenient portions of lawfully enacted statutes at his whim, and cracks down not just on embarrassing whistleblowers but on embarrassing Inspectors General.

Government is gathering unprecedented power to itself at the precise moment that a President is using that power not to unite, but to fracture the country.  To "reward his friends and punish his enemies".  He is, as he promised, doing his best to fundamentally transform the country.  His vision is a fragmented country, not a united one: some groups are politically useful, and are to be groomed and subsidized; others are politically dangerous and are to be broken by the full power of the State.

That vision is not, as has been often alleged, socialist.  It is fascist, as in Mussolini's original definition: everything within the State, nothing outside the State.  Separation of powers, Constitutional separation of powers, Federalism - all nothing but obstacles to be removed by his transformation.

The soixante-huitard Left, long removed from its glory days of rebellion is the comfortable Establishment.  Those outsiders useful to the cause of extending the fragmentation and group conflict that has brought so many of them to power are welcome into their fold; those who would hold to e pluribus unum and rule of Constitutional Law most definitely not welcome.

George Zimmerman is not welcome in Progressive Establishment circles.  Doesn't matter that he voted for Obama and was a loyal Democrat; he's a Protestant in 1572 Paris and the mob is howling for his blood.

L'affair Zimmerman is not remotely about race, and any Leftie who thinks it is is a tool.  The game is transformation into a balkanized and fractious "Salad Bowl" where the vegetables that support the Right Sort Of People® will find that they are more equal that the other vegetables.  That's the game.

And the game is just begun.  Imagine a decade hence, with a decade's worth of NSA-collected metadata.  The Unblinking Eye will know even more about you, more about me, more about those who might want to join the Establishment.  The ability to screen out the seeming reliable (like George Zimmerman) who are not Politically Reliable™ will be pervasive.  Class makes no difference.  Race makes no difference.  Political Party makes no difference.  What matters is unthinking obedience to the Establishment as they balkanize first one group, then another.

What they want is the Paris Mob to hunt down Protestants, even those who even yesterday were considered to be good Catholics.  Because those traitorous Protestants are plotting against the Crown.

What they want is Transformation.  That's what the Zimmerman prosecution is about.  It is part of a greater whole.  And they are only going to get stronger.  Until it comes apart.

The French Valois dynasty ended with the reign of Henri IV, le Vert Galant who despite being Protestant somehow survived the massacre.  On learning the Throne was his if he would only convert to Catholicism, he said that "Paris is worth a Mass".  He is perhaps the most popular French Monarch ever, and healed a divided country.  At least for a while.

Perhaps we will find our own Vert Galant.  Or perhaps it will be our own Jacobins, where the streets run red with Establishment blood.  That would be a change from the traditional America approach to politics, but given enough Transformation, who knows?


Matt said...

In regards to Zimmerman, it appears that some minorities are more equal than others.....

The Czar of Muscovy said...

Outstanding essay. Excellent work.

ProudHillbilly said...


And we need to remember if the snakes come smiling and holding out hands to take ours that it's not to shake them in friendship but rather to pull us close in order to stab us.

Chris said...

Pedantic, but necessary
Henry V died in 1422 and the war ended in 1453,so the fifty years and withing one generation is off.

Graybeard said...

This sort of post is why I come by here every day. Thanks, BP.

Borepatch said...

Chris, yah. I was off by a hundred years. Skipped over some good history there, too.

Don't think it changes the thrust of the post, though.

Chris said...

I think it makes your point even stronger actually. In the hundred twenty years between the victory over England and the Massacre, France Nearly doubled in size, the population was rapidly recovering from the Devastation of the 100 years war and the plague, and despite the Italian wars being inconclusive, France held it's own against the Hapsburgs. France was able to colonize N. America, and develop economically as well.

So your point about the idiotic inner party destroying a nation and sowing the seeds of discord is even more apt. The Obama supporting inner party could have done great things when we won the cold war, but they'd rather call you a racist and spy on you.