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Revolution and Counter-Revolution


Chapter VI: The March of the Revolution


The previous considerations gave us some data about the march of the Revolution, namely, its processive character, its metamorphoses, its outbreak in the innermost recesses of the human soul, and its externalization in acts. As can be seen, the Revolution has a whole dynamic of its own. We can attain a greater appreciation of this by studying additional aspects of the Revolution´s march.

1. The Driving Force of the Revolution

A. The Revolution and the Disordered Tendencies
The most powerful driving force of the Revolution is in the disordered tendencies.

For this reason, the Revolution has been compared to a typhoon, an earthquake, a cyclone, the unleashed forces of nature being material images of the unbridled passions
of man.

B. The Paroxysms of the Revolution Are Fully Present in Its Seeds
Like cataclysms, evil passions have an immense power-but only to destroy.

In the first instant of its great explosions, this power already has the potential for all the virulence it will manifest in its worst excesses. In the first denials of Protestantism, for example, the anarchic yearnings of communism were already implicit. While Luther was, from the viewpoint of his explicit formulations, no more than Luther, all the tendencies, state of soul, and imponderables of the Lutheran explosion already bore within them, authentically and fully, even though implicitly, the spirit of Voltaire and Robespierre and of Marx and Lenin.11

C. The Revolution Aggravates Its Own Causes
These disordered tendencies develop like itches and vices; the more they are satisfied, the more intense they become. The tendencies produce moral crises, erroneous doctrines, and then revolutions. Each of them, in turn, exacerbates the tendencies. The latter then lead, by an analogous movement, to new crises, new errors, and new revolutions. This explains why we find ourselves today in such a paroxysm of impiety and immorality and such an abyss of disorder and discord.

2. The Apparent Intervals of the Revolution
The existence of periods of accentuated calm might give the impression that at such times the Revolution has ceased. It would thus seem that the revolutionary process is not continuous and therefore not one.

However, these calms are merely metamorphoses of the Revolution. The periods of apparent tranquility - the supposed intervals - have usually been times of silent and profound revolutionary ferment. Consider, for example, the period of the Restoration (18l5-l830).12

3. The March from Refinement to Refinement
From what we have seen,13 each stage of the Revolution, compared with the preceding one, is but a refinement. Naturalistic humanism and Protestantism were refined in the French Revolution, which in its turn was refined in the great revolutionary process of the Bolshevization of the contemporary world.

The fact is that disordered passions, moving in a crescendo analogous to the acceleration of gravity and feeding upon their own works, lead to consequences which, in their turn, develop according to a proportional intensity. In like progression, errors beget errors, and revolutions prepare the way for revolutions.

4. The Harmonic Speeds of the Revolution
This revolutionary process takes place at two different speeds. One is fast and generally destined to fail in the short term. The other is much slower and has usually proven successful.

A. The Rapid March
The precommunist movements of the Anabaptists, for example, immediately drew in various fields all or nearly all the consequences of the spirit and tendencies of the Pseudo-Reformation. They were a failure.

B. The Slow March
Slowly, during the course of more than four centuries, the more moderate currents of Protestantism, moving from refinement to refinement through successive stages of dynamism and inertia, have been gradually favoring, in one way or another, the march of the West toward the same extreme point.14

C. How These Speeds Harmonize
The role of each of these speeds in the march of the Revolution should be studied. It might be said that the more rapid movements are useless, but that is not the case The explosion of these extremisms raises a standard and creates a fixed target whose very radicalism fascinates the moderates, who slowly advance toward it. Thus, socialism shuns communism, which it silently admires and tends toward.

Even earlier, the same could be said of the communist Babeuf and his henchmen during the last flare-ups of the French Revolution. They were crushed. Yet, little by little, society treads the path along which they wished to lead it. The failure of the extremists is, then, merely apparent. They collaborate indirectly, but powerfully, in the advance of the Revolution, gradually attracting the countless multitude of the "prudent," the "moderate," and the mediocre toward the realization of their culpable and exacerbated chimeras.

5. Objections Refuted
Having considered these notions, we can now refute some objections that could not have been analyzed adequately before this point.

A. Slow-speed Revolutionaries and "Semi-counterrevolutionaries"
What distinguishes the revolutionary who has followed the rhythm of the fast march from the person who is gradually becoming a revolutionary according to the rhythm of the slow march? When the revolutionary process began in the former, it found little or no resistance. Virtue and truth lived a superficial life in his soul. They were as dry wood that any spark could set afire. On the contrary, when this process takes place slowly, it is because the spark of the Revolution encountered, at least in part, green wood. In other words, it has confronted considerable truth or virtue that remains hostile to the action of the revolutionary spirit. A soul in this situation is divided and lives between two opposing principles, that of the Revolution and that of order. The coexistence of these two principles may give rise to very diverse situations.

a.The slow-speed revolutionary´ allows himself to be carried along by the Revolution, which he opposes only with the resistance of inertia.

b. The slow-speed revolutionary who has counter-revolutionary "clots "also allows himself to be carried along by the Revolution, but on some concrete point he rejects it. Thus, for example, he will be a socialist in every respect except that he retains a liking for aristocratic manners. Depending on the case, he may even go so far as to attack socialist vulgarity. This is undoubtedly a resistance. But it is a resistance on a question of detail, made up of habits and impressions. It does not return to principles. For this very reason it is a resistance without any great importance, one that will die with the individual. If it should occur in a social group, sooner or later, by violence or persuasion, the Revolution inexorably will dismantle it in one or several generations.

c. The semi-Counterrevolutionary15 differs from the preceding only in that the process of "coagulation" was more forceful in him and reverted to basic principles only some principles, of course, and not all of them. In him, the reaction against the Revolution is more pertinacious, more lively. It is an obstacle that is not merely inertia. His conversion to an entirely counter-revolutionary position is easier, at least in thesis. Any excess of the Revolution might cause in him a complete transformation, a crystallization of his good tendencies into an attitude of unshakeable firmness. However, until this felicitous transformation takes place, the semi-Counterrevolutionary cannot be considered a soldier of the Counter-Revolution.

The ease with which both the slow-speed revolutionary and the semi-counterrevolutionary accept the conquests of the Revolution is typical of their conformity.

While affirming, for example, the thesis of the union of Church and State, they live with indifference in a regime of their separation, without any serious effort to make possible an eventual restoration of the union of the two under suitable conditions.

B. Protestant Monarchies and Catholic Republics
An objection could be made to our theses: If the universal republican movement is a fruit of the Protestant spirit, then why is there only one Catholic king in the world today16 while so many Protestant countries continue to be monarchies?

The explanation is simple. England, Holland, and the Nordic nations, for a series of historical, psychological, and other reasons, have a great affinity with monarchy. When the Revolution penetrated them, it could not prevent the monarchical sentiment from "coagulating."

Thus, royalty obstinately continues to survive in those countries, even though the Revolution is penetrating deeper and deeper in other fields. "Surviving" . .. yes, to the extent that dying slowly can be called surviving. The English monarchy, reduced largely to a role of mere display, and the other Protestant monarchies, transformed for most intents and purposes into republics whose heads hold life-long hereditary office, are quietly agonizing. If things continue as they are, these monarchies will die out in silence.

Without denying that other causes contribute to this survival, we wish to stress this very important factor, which falls within the scope of our exposition.

On the contrary, in the Latin nations the love for an external and visible discipline and for a strong and prestigious public authority is, for many reasons, much smaller.

Consequently, the Revolution did not find in them such a deep-rooted monarchical sentiment. It easily swept away their thrones. But heretofore, it has not been sufficiently strong to overthrow religion.

C. Protestant Austerity
Another objection to our work could arise from the fact that certain Protestant sects have an austerity verging on exaggeration. How, then, can one explain all of Protestantism as an explosion of the desire to enjoy life?

Even here the objection is not difficult to resolve. When the Revolution penetrated certain environments, it encountered a very strong love for austerity. A "clot" formed. Although the Revolution was entirely successful in the matter of pride, it was not so in the matter of sensuality. In such environments, life is enjoyed by means of the discreet delights of pride and not by the gross pleasures of the flesh. It may even be that austerity, encouraged by an intensified pride, reacted in an exaggerated way against sensuality. But this reaction, however obstinate, is sterile. Sooner or later, through lack of sustenance or by violence, it will be destroyed by the Revolution. The breath of life that will regenerate the earth will not come from a rigid, cold, and mummified puritanism.

D. The Single Front of the Revolution
Such "clots" and crystallizations normally lead to clashes between the forces of the Revolution. Considering them, one might think that the powers of evil are divided against themselves and that our unitary concept of the revolutionary process is false.

Such an idea is an illusion. By a profound instinct that reveals they are harmonic in their essential elements and contradictory only in their accidents, these forces have an astonishing capacity to unite against the Catholic Church whenever they face her.

Sterile in the good elements remaining in them, the revolutionary forces are only truly efficient in evil. Thus, each of them, from its own side, attacks the Church, which becomes like a city besieged by an immense army.

It behooves us not to fail to include among these forces of the Revolution those Catholics who profess the doctrine of the Church but are dominated by the revolutionary spirit. A thousand times more dangerous than her declared enemies, they combat the Holy City from within her walls. They well merit what Pius IX said of them:

Though the children of this world be wiser than the children of light, their snares and their violence would undoubtedly have less success if a great number of those who call themselves Catholics did not extend a friendly hand to them. Yes, unfortunately, there are those who seem to want to walk in agreement with our enemies and try to build an alliance between light and darkness, an accord between justice and iniquity, by means of those so-called liberal Catholic doctrines, which, based on the most pernicious principles, adulate the civil power when it invades things spiritual and urge souls to respect or at least tolerate the most iniquitous laws, as if it had not been written absolutely that no one can serve two masters. They are certainly much more dangerous and more baneful than our declared enemies, not only because they second their efforts, perhaps without realizing it, but also because, by maintaining themselves at the very edge of condemned opinions, they take on an appearance of integrity and irreprehensible doctrine, beguiling the imprudent friends of conciliations and deceiving honest persons, who would revolt against a declared error. In this way, they divide the minds, rend the unity, and weaken the forces that should be assembled against the enemy.17

6. The Agents of the Revolution: Freemasonry and Other Secret Forces
Since we are studying the driving forces of the Revolution, we must say a word about its agents.

We do not believe that the mere dynamism of the passions and errors of men could coordinate such diverse means to achieve a single end, namely, the victory of the Revolution.

The production of a process as consistent and continuous as that of the Revolution amid the thousand vicissitudes of centuries fraught with surprises of every kind seems impossible to us without the action of successive generations of extraordinarily intelligent and powerful conspirators. To think that the Revolution could have reached its present state in the absence of such conspirators is like believing that hundreds of letters thrown out a window could arrange themselves on the ground to spell out a literary piece, Carducci´s "Ode to Satan," for instance.

Heretofore, the driving forces of the Revolution have been manipulated by most sagacious agents, who have used them as means for carrying out the revolutionary process.

Generally speaking, one can classify as agents of the Revolution all the sects - whatever their nature - engendered by it, from its origin to our days, to disseminate its thought or to concatenate its plots. The master sect, however, around which all the others are organized as mere auxiliaries - sometimes consciously and other times not - is Freemasonry, as clearly follows from the pontifical documents, especially Leo XIII´s encyclical Humanum genus, of April 20, 1884.

The success of these conspirators, and particularly Freemasonry, is due not only to their indisputable capacity to organize and conspire, but also to their clear understanding of the Revolution´s profound essence and of the use of natural laws-the laws of politics, sociology, psychology, art, economics, and so forth - to advance the attaining of their goals.

In this way, the agents of chaos and subversion are like a scientist who, instead of merely relying on his own strength, studies and activates natural forces a thousand times more powerful than he.

Besides largely explaining the success of the Revolution, this provides an important indication for the soldiers of the Counter-Revolution.

Introducing Historical Insight on the Contemporary Crisis

Revolution and Counter-Revolution
by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Originally published as Revolução e Contra-Revolução, in Catolicismo, April 1959 (Parts I and II) and January 1977 (Part III)

First Digital Edition
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