Fire in the Minds of Men: How the Spark of Revolutionary Faith Becomes an Inferno

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From flickr.com/photos/33113752@N03/3103391566/: Russian Revolution: Bolsheviks in Moscow. Red Guard. Guardia Roja * revolucion sovietica * bolcheviques * milicia * miliciana *
Russian Revolution: Bolsheviks in Moscow. Red Guard. Guardia Roja * revolucion sovietica * bolcheviques * milicia * miliciana *
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The revolutionary faith was shaped not so much by the critical rationalism of the French Enlightenment (as is generally believed) as by the occultism and proto-romanticism of Germany. This faith was incubated in France during the revolutionary era within a small subculture of literary intellectuals who were immersed in journalism, fascinated by secret societies, and subsequently infatuated with “ideologies” as a secular surrogate for religious belief.  The professional revolutionaries who first appeared during the French Revolution sought, above all, radical simplicity. Their deepest conflicts revolved around the simple words of their key slogan: libertyequalityfraternity.  The words nationalism and communism were first invented in the 1790s to define the simpler, more sublime, seemingly less selfish ideals of fraternity and equality, respectively. 

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