Hilaire Belloc was born on this day, July 27th, 1870, 150 years ago, making this his sesquicentennial birthday, which we hope is a bit more joyful for the reader than Canada’s own damp squib of a commemoration of that anniversary in 2017, led by the dull, bland, politically correct Trudeau. On the other end of that spectrum, it is a custom to have beer, pickles, cheese and, well, whatever else suits your fancy, along with recitation from Bellocian poetry, often politically quite incorrect, perhaps his Cautionary Tales for Children – or perhaps a glance at his history of the French Revolution.
For this was also the day in 1794 that the infamous Robespierre was arrested, which ended the Terror of the French Revolution – as mentioned, ten days after the martyrdom of the Carmelites of the Compiegne. It is estimated that the ‘incorruptible’ – for so Robespierre was ironically called – was responsible for sending 17,000 ‘enemies of the revolution’ to the guillotine. As fate would have it, that is how he met his end the day after his capture, after a horrible night in prison, suffering from a profusely bleeding jaw, broken by a bullet, one of the last victims of the monster he had helped to create.
‘Tis a terrible thing when we declare enemies of the state, who resist the metastasis of that very state’s encroachment into the most private thoughts and activities of free citizens. I fear there may be more than a few incipient Robespierres wandering the earth at present –
So, like Belloc, live free in the truth, or we will all die a thousand deaths, in falsity.