I hate to quote that old monster Marx, but his famous aphorism about history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce, is a depressing reality. As usual, the second-rate intellect was ripping off his betters (in this case Hegel, who has a lot to answer for), so the observation about historical repetition wasn’t even original. Anyway, when you look at the course of revolution in the modern era, it’s always the same-old same-old:
- Czar Nicky — Kerensky — Lenin
- Kaiser Willie — Weimar Republic — Hitler
- Shah Pahlavi — Mr. Bani Sadr — Khomeini
- Gorbachev — Yeltsin — Putin
In other words, no matter the high intentions and democratic slogans, it always turns out badly in the end, especially in countries with, shall we say, a natural affinity for despotism.
Pace Marx, maybe “farce” isn’t the right word.