Wednesday, September 24, 2008

See? I'm not such an intimidating, far-right-wing crazy conservative -uh, am I? (And only mildly authoritarian, probably because I answered "strongly agree" to the query about spankings being a legitimate form of discipline.) Anyway, I'm not afraid to admit it: I'm a passionate guy -and at least I'm not way up there in the corner like Hitler. Those are my results from The Political Compass. Take the test yourself and see where you land on the grid. I admit I had to think a bit about some of those questions -they don't let you off easy with an "undecided" or a "don't know". It got me all fiery pensive, however, and I thought about it all day at work, went home and took it again, and got nearly the same score -so it must be fairly accurate, as far as these things go. I find it somewhat refreshing that they added two whole quadrants to the right/left thing.

Did you know that the political terms "right" and "left" came from the seating arrangements of the French National Assembly of 1789? Fascinating. Later, heads would roll. Also, I have the key to the Bastille on my fireplace mantle!

Okay, so it's a replica. I bought it at Mt. Vernon a couple years ago. The original key to the Bastille was presented to George Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette, who had served under Washington in the Revolutionary War. I think it cost me twenty-five dollars and my wife rolled her eyes when I bought it. I love the thing. People come over to my house and ask me what it is. "It's the key to the Bastille!" I say. Cracks me up.

Funny thing about the keys to the Bastille: the rioters were there all day, and they demanded all the gunpowder and arms and release of the prisoners. They took the keys off the wall and paraded them through the streets, and when they finally got around to actually storming the place later that night, they found that they didn't have the keys with them, so they had to break down the doors by hand and foot. Turns out there were only seven prisoners inside, as it had been previously decided by the French governors to move the prisoners and close the place down (it cost too much to maintain.) The revolutionaries must have been disappointed that they didn't have more freed inmates to show off, but all the same they paraded them through the streets of Paris as heroes, and so fell history upon them and the storming of the Bastille was the beginning of the French Revolution. The French National Assembly then became the effective government of France, they had assigned seating, and today it's all right and left, red state and blue state, and I have the key to the Bastille on my mantle. How about that?