3.19 revolutions, cont. (76)

Wed, 10 May 89 22:38:55 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 19. Wednesday, 10 May 1989.

(1) Date: Wed, 10 May 89 12:20:00 EDT (22 lines)
From: Martin Ryle <RYLE@urvax.urich.edu>
Subject: RE: 3.12 revolutions, cont. (91)

(2) Date: Wed, 10 May 89 09:16:21 PLT (34 lines)
From: "Guy L. Pace" <PACE@WSUVM1>
Subject: Revolutions

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 10 May 89 12:20:00 EDT
From: Martin Ryle <RYLE@urvax.urich.edu>
Subject: RE: 3.12 revolutions, cont. (91)

T. Kuhn's _Structure of Scientific Revolution_ offers a good model for looking
at all sorts of revs., and not merely scientific (he borrowed the concept from
Lefebvre and others). The model suggests that the revolution, per se, is a
change of paradigm or perception or ideology that gradually permeates the social
group in question (whether physicists or citizen/subjects). Subsequently, the
change in perception by a significant percentage of the group meets determined
opposition from the unpersuaded, and civil war or its equivalent follows. In
the scientific community, we may be witnessing such a paradigm shift in the
heated controversy over cold fusion. In the political arena, the paradigm shift
in the American revolution might be thought virtually complete by the
appearance of the correspondence committees or the Boston Tea Party. In the
French revolution, Sieyes' What is the Third Estate may have marked the
coalescence of the new paradigm--or at least the Tennis Court Oath. In the
Russian Rev. a handy point of reference for the shift could be Miliukov's
"Is it stupidity or is it treason" speech in the Duma late in 1916. In all
these events, the civil war that followed was more nearly a fight between
competing ideologies than the revolution itself.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------38----
Date: Wed, 10 May 89 09:16:21 PLT
From: "Guy L. Pace" <PACE@WSUVM1>
Subject: Revolutions

The attempt of my last message (and I did oversimplify) was to separate the
political, social and economic views of the American Revolution from the
physical act of war. More often than not, the individual colonial militiaman
sighted down the barrel of his squirrel gun and fired at a Tory militiaman.
The major actions of the war, and those we read of most in history books,
deal with the British military campaign to enforce British economic and
political policy. However, little is discussed in standard history texts
of the actions which did not directly involve British troops (those carried
out by the respective militia). It is from these militia actions (colonial Ame
rican against colonial American) that define the war as a civil war.

However, this does not preclude the importance of the intellectual,
political or economic issues (and I didn't mean to imply that it did).
D. J. Mabry's note points out that the cultural revolution (evolution)
took place before the actual political involvement. If other social
and politial reforms are studied in detail (including the Reformation,
Richmond!), I'm sure you will find that the foundations for the reform
were established in the culture well before the political act.

The Americans, as revolutionaries, as Altman points out, attempted to
maintain a status quo--in other words they conducted a conservative
revolution, if you will. From a strictly intellectual, political aspect,
though, can there be such a thing as a conservative revolution? Where,
if anywhere, *is* the revolution? Does the revolution reside, as Mabry
suggests, in the cultural evolution? Or does it reside in Jefferson's
D of I (which effectively provided official endorsement of a specific
humanist philosophy)? Or, are we still struggling to bring the idealism
of 1776 into reality?

Guy L. Pace