"Then, in 1792, patriotism culminated in foreign wars; and the pressures of conflict, internal and external, pushed terrorism to new lengths. Because they were reminiscent of aristocratic ways, elegance, manners, wit were denounced as treason. The King was deposed, and a new calendar opened with ''Year One of French Liberty.'' In revolutionary newspeak, liberty, of course, meant its opposite: a police state, in which spying, denunciation, indictment, humiliation and death threatened all. The sententious religion of universal brotherhood gave way to the polemics of paranoia: Rousseau with a hoarse voice, as Mr. Schama puts it. Personal scores became political causes. Nuts came out of the woodwork. Marat was one, but a nuttier enthusiast, the Marquis de Bry, gauging the mood of the hour, offered to found an organization of tyrannicides - 1,200 freedom fighters dedicated to the murder of kings, generals and assorted foes of freedom.
"Thus was the joy of living replaced by the joy of seeing others die. Mr. Schama is at his most powerful when denouncing the central truth of the Revolution: its dependence on organized (and disorganized) killing to attain political ends. However virtuous were the principles of the revolutionaries, he reminds us that their power depended on intimidation: the spectacle of death. Violence was no aberration, no unexpected skid off the highway of revolution: it was the Revolution - its motor and, for a while, its end.
"In the National Assembly Mirabeau had argued that a few must perish so that the mass of people might be saved. It turned out that more than a few would perish. Politicians who graduated from rhetoric to government found that rhetoric made government impossible. If patriotism was to triumph, politics had to end; liberty had to be suppressed in the name of Liberty; democracy had to be sacrificed so that Democracy should live. Speaking from the ruthless precinct of the Committee of Public Safety, [in 2001 we have an "Office of Homeland Security" -- R] Saint-Just, who is one of Mr. Schama's favorite antiheroes, insisted that the Republic stood for the extermination of everything that opposed it. And absence of enthusiastic support was opposition enough.
"With the likes of Saint-Just and Robespierre (a state scholarship boy, typical of old regime meritocracy), doublespeak was in the saddle. Murderously weepy, sadistically moralistic, fanatically denouncing as fanatics those who did not share their fanaticism, men like Robespierre stood for the will of the people as long as the people's will matched their own visions. Ever offering to die for their beliefs, they got the sour satisfaction of undergoing the martyrdom they professed to seek: murderers murdering murderers before being murdered in their turn, until the last days of July 1794 brought an end to the Terror, though not to continuing terrorism."
Further to ours earlier, Annalex. Terror's just the calling card of all revolutionaries ... PARTICULARLY those who've positioned themselves as the Conditioners fit to carry out (and, by any means necessary, Impose) "The People's Will".