Skip to comments.Waterloo: France victorious in defeat
Posted on 02/17/2003 3:36:10 PM PST by MadIvan
IN HIS book Les Cent-Jours, Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin recounts Napoleon Bonapartes return from exile on the island of Elba, his triumphant march across France and final defeat by the Duke of Wellington.
It is a book that enshrines the Foreign Ministers hopes and ideals. Take, for instance, his account of Waterloo, a battle inexplicably won by the English: And yet this defeat shines with an aura worthy of victory. The final opus of the unfinished symphony of the greatest military composer ever, it only just failed to turn to Frances advantage.
He adds: This Napoleon guides and transcends. He has carried, ever since his fall, a certain idea of France, a superior vision of politics. His gesture inspires the spirit of resistance.
M de Villepin describes Napoleons philosophy in these terms: Victory or death, but glory whatever happens.
France, he continues, is a nation that has always needed Napoleonic figures and projects. If not the spirit of conquest dies away for lack of an ideal that ennobles it. Luckily, it needs only a handful of dreamers . . . to change the course of our history.
M de Villepin would appear to be just such a man. There is not a day that goes by without me feeling the imperious need to remember (Napoleon) so as not to yield in the face of indifference, laughter or gibes; so as to enlighten thought and action; so as to continue along this difficult path forged by glorious or humble pilgrims and advance further in the name of a French ambition.
There is not a day that goes by without me inhaling the perfume of the discreet violet the flower that symbolised loyalty to Napoleon.
Apart from that, we can presume from this article that the French are totally crazy. Especially their government.
Get the rubber room ready.....this guy is a loon.
Name dropper. :-)~
Though these two groups are now commonly lumped together as the ancestors of modern liberalism, there is hardly a greater contrast imaginable than that between their respective conceptions of the evolution and functioning of a social order and the role played in it by liberty. The difference is directly traceable to the predominance of an essentially empiricist view of the world in England and a rationalist approach in France. The main contrast in the practical conclusions to which these approaches led has recently been well put, as follows: "One finds the essence of freedom in spontaneity and the absence of coercion, the other believes it to be realized only in the pursuit and attainment of an absolute collective purpose"; and "one stands for organic, slow, half-conscious growth, the other for doctrinaire deliberateness; one for trial and error procedure, the other for an enforced solely valid pattern." It is the second view, as J.L. Talmon has shown in an important book from which this description is taken, that has become the origin of totalitarian democracy.
The sweeping success of the political doctrines that stem from the French tradition is probably due to their great appeal to human pride and ambition. But we must not forget that the political conclusions of the two schools derive from different conceptions of how society works. In this respect the British philosophers laid the foundations of a profound and essentially valid theory, while the rationalist school was simply and completely wrong.
- F.A. Hayek, "The Constitution of Liberty"
Perhaps this perfumed papillon should be sniffing garlic instead.
After the Napoleonic Wars ended, the Germans saw how harmful it had been to the French that Napoleon had been unwilling to properly train his people and to then provide them with the support and authority they in order need to win. The German response was to create one of the most successful instititutions of the 19th century, which was the German General Staff. And the reason the German General Staff was so successful was the that its creators saw first hand how important it was to identify and then properly train officers who could carry out operations on their own.
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