The Incorruptible, Maximilien Robespierre, the Voice of Reason, did not give the French people a Republic of Virtue but a bloody reign of terror incited by mob rule, and the descent into barbarism with the mass killings of men, women, and children by their own government, not because of their deeds or misdeeds, or any real crimes, but because of their birth, opinions, and associations -- or simply, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The guillotine was kept busy during the Terror, and when it was not fast enough cutting commoner and aristocratic heads, other grisly methods were used, such as burning, hacking, stabbing, shootings, even cannonades. In the city of Nantes, the sanguinary Carrier instituted the brutal "republican marriages" whereby naked men and women were tied together and thrown into the Loire River. Others were simply tied to barges that were scuttled with resultant mass drownings, the infamous noyades.
At the time of the King's Trial, many deputies spoke, acted, and voted in fear of their lives (even Danton alluded to this, "it's our heads or theirs," according to author, Stanley Loomis), after all, they were deliberating in the belly...
July 14 is Bastille Day, a national holiday in France that commemorates 215 years from the day a Parisian mob stormed the "infamous" prison and commenced the upheaval of the French Revolution. The collapse of Soviet communism should not deter the invocation of the dreadful legacy of the French Revolution, the same revolution that a century later inspired the even bloodier Russian Revolution and its communist aftermath.
The French Revolution began not with the clamor of the common people but with the theoretical conjectures of the blue-blooded aristocracy and the high clergy of the ancien régime, who had fallen for and become enamored with the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the views of the enlightenment.
This was convincingly demonstrated in the Assembly of Notables in February 1787, a gathering of wise men that King Louis XVI (photo, right) called for and convened to help him solve economic problems afflicting France, particularly the lack of solvency. This Assembly of Notables, in turn, advised the King to call the Estates General, the body which traditionally had the authority to raise taxes but which had not been summoned since 1614 during the reign of...
Enrique Encinosa's most awaited, comprehensive history (in English) of the Cuban people's struggle against the 45-year-old communist dictatorship of Fidel Castro has finally arrived. The book chronicles in riveting detail, chapter after chapter, the heroism displayed by the Cuban people in their fight against repression and tyranny.
Encinosa uses the voice of the actual participants (who he has carefully interviewed over the years) to tell the story - and what an epic (and brutal) story he has to tell to his widening readership!
The book covers the triumph of the Revolution in 1959; the subsequent disillusionment of many revolutionary leaders as they realize that Castro was building a communist police state; the founding of the resistance movement and the underground networks; the rounding up of the opposition; the development of the rebel insurgency in the Escambray mountains and elsewhere, opposing communism and collectivism; the betrayal at the Bay of Pigs; the courageous struggle of the political prisoners (particularly the plantados); the heating up of the Escambray wars and Castro's massive retaliation in the Luchas Contra Bandidos (the so-called war against...
The old saying goes that if the flak gets heavy, you know you must be over the target! The heated responses of both Drs. Dunsker and Carmel to my article suggest we have actually scored a bull's eye and hit the target. Perhaps, tort reform itself will finally come into the cross hairs of enactment soon! Although respected neurosurgeons, these medical politicians have become not only AMA apologists of the highest order, but are attempting to do the impossible: defending the indefensible - i.e., the failure of the AMA to persuasively and successfully convince Congress to enact meaningful tort reform after nearly thirty years of haggling over the momentous issue.
The fact is that the AMA leadership* has not only lacked the will and determination but has also failed to concentrate its resources in a vital issue of the most importance to a large segment of its physician members, not just neurosurgeons but also obstetricians/gynecologists, thoracic and orthopedic surgeons, etc. And yet, it has found time to immerse itself in public relation (politically correct) campaigns such as domestic violence, gun control, binge drinking on college campuses, etc.
Drs. Dunsker and...
While both the Patients' Bill of Rights legislation, allowing patients to sue HMOs in state court for unlimited damages, and tort reform, providing physicians judicial relief in medical liability, have stalled in the 107th Congress this year --- these intertwined problems of health care litigation will not disappear for long from the political landscape.
You can be sure that the political, smoldering fire of the medical liability crisis will be fanned ablaze after both the problems of terrorism and prescription drug coverage for seniors have been settled. So in anticipation of this eventuality, a recapitulation of the AMA's campaign for the implementation of tort reform in the last several years is in order to better understand where we have been and where we might be headed in the physicians' (particularly neurosurgeons') seemingly perpetual struggle for meaningful and substantive medical liability ("malpractice") tort reform.
Premiums for physicians have skyrocketed and medical liability insurers are leaving many states and abandoning their former client physicians, leaving them without coverage. Obstetricians have been particularly hard hit in this medical...
In "Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General" (2002), former FBI agent Edward Gazur tries to prove the impossible that KGB Gen. Alexander Orlov was a true defector, a man who switched allegiances from the Soviet Union to America and repudiated international communism.
Gazur ardently believes that Orlov, who became his friend and whom he ultimately came to love as a father figure, genuinely cooperated with the FBI and the CIA. This (his own) book unfortunately proves quite the opposite.
Orlov did denounce Stalin, who had annihilated many of his compatriots in the various purges, but he was not a defector in the true sense of the word, and he did not deserve the honors or the protection this country extended to him and his family.
Orlov never fully cooperated with U.S. authorities and certainly did not help preserve the freedom and security of the country that sheltered him and his family during their many years on the run from the KGB, as well as the 15 preceding years when he hid from the FBI and CIA.
Curiously, Gazur wrote his tome after an FBI colleague brought to his attention a book entitled "Deadly Illusions" (1993) by John...
Writer's note: Difficult as it is to be critical of a friend and ally on the war on terror, Great Britain has instituted a cruel and unjust gun-control policy, a worsening evil, upon her law-abiding citizens that needs correcting. The title of this essay comes from the seemingly paradoxical unrelenting tide of thievery and burglaries that has swept Great Britain, and was so dubbed by the London Sunday Times in 1998.
Have you read about the strange case of Tony Martin and Britain's du jour gun-control injustice? In the October 2003 issue of America's 1st Freedom, Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, revealed in perfect clarity how Great Britain's stringent gun-control laws and abolishment of the right to self-defense have brought the birthplace of classical liberalism to the footsteps of tyranny.
Who are the bad guys?
Briefly, 57-year-old British farmer, Tony Martin, who lived in a remote farmhouse in England and had been terrorized several times by burglars, shot and killed such an intruder in his home. Another thief accomplice escaped.
For this act of self-defense in his own home and in the same country where the great statesman Sir...
In Part I of this review of "Democracy Delayed - The Case of Castro's Cuba" (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002) , we discussed how the hapless Cuban people living in a vacuum, possessed with a dearth of information coming from within and from without the island have quietly turned against the communist regime and that transition to democracy could take place in Cuba, if certain conditions are met.
And yet, the critiques of his book (mostly from partisans at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), who wanted to oust him from that academic bastion of liberalism, amount to nothing but an academic purge.
Among the other criticisms, they posit that Cuba cannot be compared to Eastern Europe, and that Prof. López did not take into account the "Gorbachev Factor." These criticisms, frankly, are nonsense. López tackles both of these issues in his book in a logical and convincing manner.
One must then surmise that Prof. López's critics either didn't read the book or are basing their imputations on politics and ideology, rather than real knowledge or diligent study of the direful situation in Cuba today.
True, the Cuban people are subject...
When Juan José López, PhD, a political scientist, proudly dedicated "Democracy Delayed - The Case of Castro's Cuba" (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002) - his first book - to his wife Myrna and son Juan Carlos, he could not have anticipated that he would indeed need every bit of their moral and physical support.
The young scholar would need it to withstand the all-out attack leveled against his person and professional reputation at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he was employed as an assistant professor. Prof. López's transgression was unforgivable for he had violated an article of faith in the leftward-leaning ivory tower of academia.
In "Democracy Delayed," López had dared to express the views that Fidel Castro's tyrannical rule in Cuba no longer enjoys popular support and that democratic transition in the Caribbean island is possible - if only the people led by the democratic opposition had the necessary material support, as well as independent sources of information, as the Eastern Europeans enjoyed in the late 1980s.
Political transformation has not taken place in Cuba, as it did in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Rumania in...
Maximilien Robespierre and his fellow Jacobins never came close to attaining the utopian goal of establishing a "Republic of Virtue." In fact, they did not even come close to establishing the rule of law essential to a constitutional republic. Natural rights to life, liberty and property, which are protected in our American republic, were not respected by the French revolutionists. Forced fraternity and equality proved to be (and remain) mutually exclusive of individual liberty. What the French Revolution established was mob rule followed by the bloody dictatorship of Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety (July 13, 1793 - July 27, 1794).
The French Revolution also showed the world the scissors strategy of class struggle and warfare at work. This methodology forced rapidly and inexorably radical change upon society. The engine of this struggle was fear and, ultimately, terror. In the next century, Karl Marx elaborated and expounded on that destructive methodology, borrowing from Hegel's dialectic idealism that relied more abstractly on historic analysis and cultural conflicts. Unlike Hegel's, Marx's system of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, appealed to the...