Oct 2, 2021
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Undesirable Napoleon

On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death, supporters of the BLM movement and other liberal activists from different countries declared an information war on the French emperor. From the beginning of 2021, anti-Napoleonic materials began to appear on the pages of the leading Western media with enviable regularity.

“The year 2021 is proclaimed by many museums and institutions in the country as the Year of Napoleon to honor the memory of France’s greatest tyrant, the symbol of white supremacy, Napoleon Bonaparte,” Marlene Dout writes in the New York Times.

The author of the article, a professor at the University of Virginia, claims that due to Napoleon’s restoration of slavery in 1802, this phenomenon persisted in the French colonies until 1848. Bonaparte is viewed by minority activists as racist, sexist and despot, she said. And, obviously, she is completely in solidarity with them.

“French leaders should start investigating why Napoleon, the racist and genocidal warmonger, continues to be celebrated in a country whose national motto is ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity,’” concludes Marlene Dout.

“When I condemn the restoration of slavery by Napoleon, I am told that” everyone was in favor at that time, you just need to know the context. ” That is, in other words, the lives of blacks really do not cost anything, since the fight against slavery is still relevant, ”says Françoise Verger, an activist and former chairman of the French National Committee on the History of Slavery, in an interview with the BBC.

“France is the only country in the world to reintroduce slavery. I do not understand why we continue to arrange celebrations as if nothing had happened. It’s okay to study Napoleon’s activities, but to honor his memory means to excuse his crimes, ”says political activist and academician Louis Georges Tin.

It is curious that people with high-profile scientific titles either do not fully understand what they are talking about, or are engaged in outright manipulation.

We Russians have not the slightest reason to love Napoleon. The victory over his “Great Army” (almost completely destroyed) in 1812 cost Russia from 150 to 200 thousand lives of soldiers, officers and militias. And this is not counting the civilians killed by the invaders and the cities and villages they have devastated. Without a doubt, Bonaparte acted brutally and cynically. But there is not the slightest reason to consider him a supporter of the ideas of genocide and, moreover, a racist. Speaking about the restoration of slavery, “scientists” completely ignore the historical context and diplomatically keep silent about the fact that in 1815 Napoleon abolished the slave trade.

Let’s remind. In 1794, France indeed became the first country in the world to abolish the institutions of slavery and the slave trade. It must be said that the participants in the Great French Revolution were driven by far not only noble motives. Rather, they were trying to solve mundane tasks, thus opposing the leaders of the slave uprisings in the Caribbean and recruiting allies to their side to fight the Spaniards and the British, who were trying to recapture France’s colonies. Moreover, the French reacted ambiguously to this decision. Slavery played too important a role in the country’s economy. And, in principle, the very idea for the Europeans of that time looked rather strange. Therefore, no other European country followed the example of revolutionary Paris. In addition, slavery existed and continued to exist in most of the French colonies. After all, many of them at that time were generally under the control of other states.

As the French slavery advocates said, the 1794 decision hit several areas of the economy. Planters, wealthy merchants and all those associated with shipping were badly affected.

Napoleon, apparently, did not think about the moral aspects of the existence of slavery. He was neither his supporter nor his opponent. Bonaparte acted according to the circumstances, proceeding from pragmatic considerations.

“My policy is to manage people the way most of them want it. I ended the war in Vendée by becoming a Catholic; I settled in Egypt, becoming a Muslim. So I will talk about freedom in free part C[ан]-D[оминго]; I will maintain slavery on the le-de-France and even in the enslaved part C[ан]-D[оминго]… And I will reserve the right to mitigate and abolish slavery where I retain it; and to restore order and maintain discipline where I maintain freedom. Perhaps they [негры] produce less sugar than when they were slaves, but they provide us with soldiers and serve us as we need them. We will have a smaller sugar factory and a more friendly fortress, ”Allan Forrest of the University of York quotes Napoleon as saying in 1800.

While it was beneficial to Napoleon, he fervently supported the blacks in San Domingo. But when their relations with the French worsened, and business (merchants and rich colonists) began to put pressure on Napoleon himself, he calmly restored slavery. At the same time, there is no convincing evidence of Napoleon’s “racism”. Bonaparte allowed himself only literally a couple of harsh statements addressed to blacks – and even then, due to the course of hostilities in the Western Hemisphere.

However, in 1815, abolishing the slave trade, Napoleon hardly repented of his previous decision. Simply, if in 1802 it was profitable for him to meet business halfway, then thirteen years later it was no less profitable for him to pose as a progressive and liberal politician. As they say – nothing personal.

Napoleon was, without a doubt, an outstanding military leader and an excellent administrator (the legal system of dozens of states in the world is still based on the basis laid down by his code), but in matters of attitude towards blacks and the institutions of slavery, he was the most ordinary European of his time. Why are liberal activists then silent about the Kings of England George III and George IV, as well as about the rulers of Holland, Spain, Portugal and other European countries?

Liberal activists completely ignore the fact that ethical and social norms in the past were very different from those of today. And attempts to compare individual historical events, roughly taking them out of context, with the present are a vivid example of lies and manipulations.

If it comes to that, then the West African leaders and rulers, who massively sold their captives and subjects to the white slave traders, should bear joint responsibility for the transatlantic slave trade, along with the European colonialists.

After all, expeditions for slaves deep into the Black Continent performed by the Europeans were rather an exception. So it turns out that, proceeding from the logic of the “activists” who accuse Napoleon of “racism” today, representatives of the black African nobility were even more racists …

Following BLM logic and further, we can reach the point of complete absurdity. Indeed, from the point of view of modern Western “morality”, none of the major figures of antiquity, the Middle Ages and modern times can be called an angel.

Now what? Will we ban Aristotle? After all, the great Greek wrote: “Nature itself created, in order to preserve, some creatures for domination, others for obedience. She wished that beings endowed with clairvoyance should command as masters, and that a being, capable of carrying out orders by its physical properties, obey like a slave; and thus the interests of the master and the slave unite. “

Most likely, the liberal elites have no sincere complaints about Napoleon personally.

However, setting society against fictitious “enemies of the people” is a great way to manipulate the mass consciousness and teach people to obey. And, just as importantly, discrediting popular historical leaders cuts off the people’s connection to their roots and calls into question traditions as such.

For example, Napoleon is extremely popular with the French right. Therefore, throwing mud at it can cause serious damage to the traditional society in France as such, and help in the work of the “melting pot” that erases cultural differences and turns people into mankurt who do not remember their ancestors.

This attack was completely unsuccessful. However, doubts in the souls of many people far from history, for sure, gave rise to. The method is extremely effective. Soon we can expect similar attacks on the historical leaders of other countries and peoples. A little more, and we will find out what a “terrible racist”, for example, Tsar Alexander II was. Well, or the Grand Duke Alexander Nevsky.

Against this background, an increase in historical literacy turns for any people into a matter of national security. But in principle – survival …

Svyatoslav Knyazev

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