Saturday, March 10, 2018
Perhaps unlike some of my more purist reactionary friends, I'm not necessarily opposed to everything that went under the banner of the "Enlightenment." As much as I hate the French Revolution, there's a lot that I like about the 19th century (without which my orchestral profession as we know it would be unimaginable), and I tend to mentally extend "19th century" up until 1914. Remember that in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, over a century after the fall of Louis XVI, the French Revolution had apparently failed to spread republicanism outside of French borders--and even France itself remained a more conservative and Catholic society than the Jacobins had envisioned. Europe was at least nominally as monarchical as it had ever been, with many new monarchies having been created. It's when "Progress" starts replacing kings with presidents, not to mention the absurdities of our own time, that I turn against it. I don't believe that every historical development necessarily made every subsequent historical development inevitable. It's not incoherent or illogical to accept what is good and reject what is bad. Everyone does, since absolute chronological consistency is not actually possible.