The Opposition of the Banal

April 14, 2022


D. The Opposition of the Banal

Others, instead of using foresight, will simply do what banal and timid souls have been doing throughout the centuries. Smiling, they will term such transformations impossible. Why? Because they clash with their mental habits; these transformations violate common sense, and for banal men, history normally follows the path of common sense.

Painting of Pope Leo X by Peter Paul Rubens.

So, in face of these perspectives, they will incredulously and optimistically smile, just as Leo X smiled about the trivial “quarrel of friars,” which was all he saw in the nascent First Revolution. Or they will smile like the “Fenelonian” Louis XVI smiled when he saw the first ferments of the Second Revolution in splendid palace salons, lulled at times by the silvery sound of the harpsichord, or glittering discreetly in bucolic ambiences and scenes like his wife’s Hameau. His smile was no different from that of many high — and some of the highest — dignitaries of the Church and of Western temporal society before the manipulations of smiling post-Stalinist communism or the upheavals announcing the Fourth Revolution.

Lenin and Stalin in Gorky.

If one day the Third or Fourth Revolution, aided by ecumenical progressivism in the spiritual realm, takes over the temporal life of humanity, it will be due more to the carelessness and collaboration of these smiling optimistic prophets of common sense than to all the fury of the revolutionary hosts and their propaganda.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Part III, Chapter III, pg. 161-162.



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