But the French Revolution didn't start with the Bastille. It started three weeks earlier with the Tennis Court Oath: The representatives of the commoners, the clergy, and even some nobles demanding the drafting of a constitution. The people arguing for that revolution were very well-educated people - in fact, they were the intellectual and political spearhead of their time, famous figures of the enlightenment. It was, in the true sense of the word, a top-down revolution, not a bottom-up revolution. As I said, the French revolution went down a very dark path. There's no denying that. But it was still a very good thing as it was the first (moderately...) successful democratic and republican movement in modern Europe, inspired by the American Revolution of a decade earlier. In many ways, it defined the framework of a modern Western democracy which respects human rights and considers all citizen equal before the law just as much as the American Revolution did.
Scot, The French revolution was a very mixed bag in terms of how it was accomplished, but it's hard not to see it as the start of a genuine movement towards democracy and human rights in Europe. Had it failed (or at least failed more decisively than it did), Europe might well be governed by absolutist monarchs still.
At the current time, it would probably be challenged in court. However, there's going to be a national referendum on this question, and if it goes the wrong way, we will end up with a ban on the burqa in our constitution. (Never ask about the Swiss constitution. It's a strange and and mysterious thing, changing faster than the laws it is supposed to be the basis for...)
Nestor, Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo. MSF Kunduz. Just to name a few cases where we didn't just target legitimate opponents in legitimate ways but rather went about what we did in the most inhumane way possible, legitimacy of the victims be damned. We may be targeting people who deserve it most of the time, but we definitely don't care enough about reducing collateral damage or only hitting those who really deserve it. Khod and Radda are just two examples where we failed to do due diligence. I'd say the comparison is largely on point, if depressingly so. But people in the West seem all too willing to throw our values under the bus. Torture? Sure, they deserve it. Extrajudicial killings? A-OK as long as the targets are brown or black people. Bombing a hospital? Well, there might be terrorists hiding in there... I admit I have no easy solutions to the mess that is the Middle East. But our unwillingness to apply the principles we so proudly declare to be our values once we act in that region sickens me. And I fear that as long as we're unwilling to take the long and hard look in the mirror and see the monsters we are when acting on that stage, we're not going to be solving any of the problems that region is posing to us.
It's quite hard to not interpret your statements in that way, to be honest. So, how should that Trump/BLM incident have ended in your opinion? Just as it did? Well then, yes, you're an apologist of violence against people exercising their freedom of speech. While opposition to the idea of giving BLM advocates a podium may be understandable (although not my position...), doing so by inciting violence should ruffle your libertarian feathers quite a bit - non-aggression principle, anyone?
Well, prior to 9/11, most airplane abductions were performed to take hostages, not to use the aircraft as bombs. In many ways, AQ destroyed that tactic of hostage-taking by making airplane abductions a matter of life and death, too. It almost seems like that's the goal: weakening the position of concurrents who finance themselves by taking hostages (like the PLO, back in the day...)
Well, that example at least shows that the Illinois judiciary still works. I don't think Scott Walker could be regarded as less corrupt just because he had the state legislature craft an immunity bill for him. Quite the opposite, even...
TN, You're assuming though that the current Republican party base is about as rational as it was 10 years ago (that is, not very rational, but at least still guided by self-interest). I don't know if that's still the case; call me a pessimist, but the current rise of Trump and Carson has me a tad bit worried.
MSJ: But what should be done? Communism didn't falter because Saint Ronnie had a speech in Berlin, it faltered because it delegitimized itself and failed to adapt to changing economic times. Similarly, I expect Salafism to hold on until its corrupt core has been made absolutely obvious. But that won't happen unless they actually are in power and fail, and even then it won't happen as long as they have a scapegoat available - and the West is doing its very best to once again be typecast into that role. Doing the wrong thing means that we might well be entrenching that ideology by being seen as oppressive, cruel, and hypocritical.