Thursday, 1 January 2015


Jean Valjean: drowning in Liberal tears?

by General Beardcastle

You’ll have heard by now of “dindus” and the “gentle giant” who wishes to “turn his life around.” Although now almost always Black, the origin of this archetypal object of liberal leftist sympathies was the character of Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s famous novel, Les Misérables, which has also been made into one of the longest-running musicals of all time as well as a movie or two.

Valjean is described as a stout, hardy man of great muscular strength, whom we are made to feel has been unjustly imprisoned for merely stealing a loaf of bread and then only because he was starving. Our hearts are supposed to bleed for him and then burn with a sense of outrage at the terrible injustices of the world.

But, just how true is any of this?

Published in 1862, the story starts in the Winter of 1795, when Valjean commits his first crime, breaking and entering to steal some bread. The only problem is that while Post-Revolutionary France had many serious economic problems, such as inflation, famine and starvation were not among them, but Hugo does his best to make us feel that Valjean had no alternative but to act the way he did.

This view is rather reminiscent of today’s SJWs, who fervently believe that millions of people in the United States are currently starving and being oppressed. But when you drill down, it turns out that “starvation” actually means “food insecurity,” which is another code word meaning that someone has a below-average income, even though that income is many times more than people who live in the Third World, who somehow manage not to starve most of the time. But I digress.

Jean Valjean, driven mad by the specter of food insecurity, breaks into a shop to steal a loaf of bread. He is caught and sent to prison. Let’s be clear, he is not imprisoned for stealing the bread, he is imprisoned for breaking into the shop. Today no western country incarcerates people for shoplifting, but we do for B&E. So does everyone. This is a pretty good law.

After his imprisonment, Valjean attempts to escape several times, which adds more years onto his sentence. When he is finally released, he immediately violates the terms of his parole by adopting an alias and hiding from the police—who, naturally, are looking for him. It is therefore hard to find fault with the authorities, but this is exactly what Hugo wishes us to do.

Liberal logic: a major cause of
suicide among French policemen?
Valjean’s primary antagonist is the police officer Javert, who is presented as a cold automaton with a lack of generosity and humanity:
"He would have arrested his own father if he escaped from prison and turned in his own mother for breaking parole. And he would have done it with that sort of interior satisfaction that springs from virtue.”
The clear implication is that policing should be a matter of personal preferences, with the policeman consulting his feelings, rather than adhering to actual laws.

The suicide of Javert, after he is saved by Valjean during the 1832 Rebellion, is also one of the great liberal wank fantasies of all time. Unable to reconcile his image of Valjean the brutal ex-convict with Valjean’s act of kindness, Javert is driven mad by the realization that Valjean was simultaneously a criminal and a good person! The only way out of this dilemma apparently is to throw himself in the Seine.

Then there is Fantine. Poor retarded Fantine. Fantine gets knocked up by her boyfriend, who then ditches her. So far, not so bad. Anyone can make a mistake.

She decides to have the baby and not give it up for adoption even though she is single and working-class. Ballsy move on her part. I admire it. Then when she realizes she can’t take care of Cosette on her own, she gives her daughter to complete strangers living in another town.

Wait, what?

Wouldn’t an orphanage or a relative be better? Or, in the very unlikely circumstance that one has no friends or relatives, couldn’t one at least send one’s daughter to live with complete strangers who live nearby?

But no. Fantine gives her daughter to the Thenardiers, who make up imaginary illnesses for Cosette and shake her down for every centime she’s got. Of course she doesn’t rush out to visit her allegedly sick daughter. She just sends the strangers the cash. Like you do. When she runs short of cash she sells her hair, sells her teeth, and starts hooking. Because being bald and toothless are great assets for someone aspiring to make money in the sex industry.

So familiar. Who hasn't been there, right? Boy I could tell you some stories…

Code for "remove our agency."
All of this is meant to show the reader just how unjust and uncaring society is. As Victor Hugo says himself in the prologue, “so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, stories like this must be told.” Though it seems to me that it’s really the story of people who are misérable because they make breathtakingly poor decisions.

And the whole story is really quite unbelievable. In the real world people this stupid would not be able to live independently. But then the story isn’t meant to be accurate, it’s meant to elicit an emotional response. Every exaggeration and narrative construction in the story is to this end. Hugo wants you to be very, very upset.

Like many of his contemporaries Hugo is drawing on a tradition that runs deep in Western European culture—the Protestant Jeremiad.

One of the great changes that came about in Western culture as a result of the Protestant Reformation was a shift in focus. Traditionally Christianity taught that this world is fallen and corrupt, and perfection was to be found only in the outer spheres. One should tolerate this life and prepare to meet God at which point everything will be better. Or for the Second Coming, whichever comes first.

The Protestants said nuts to that, we need to establish the Kingdom of God here on Earth – right here, right now! The 16th-century was when you started to hear a lot about “New Jerusalems” and “Cities on Hills.” The Kingdom of God on Earth is, by definition, perfect, and needless to say the attainment of perfection is no small task.

Calvinist Geneva - even then looking strikingly Marxist.
There were many social experiments along these lines, such as Calvinist Geneva and the Massachusetts Bay Colony in America—each Protestant sect doing its utmost to attain its own version of perfection. Some of their initiatives (the penitentiary system, public education) were good. Others (rooting out witches, killing Catholics, banning Christmas) were less good.

All this activity requires a great deal of energy, and it also requires that everyone be committed and involved. Needless to say, this can be exhausting, which is where sermons come in.

Protestant sermons come in two main varieties: the fire and brimstone speech (“as the spider dangles over the candle so does Jesus dangle your soul over the pits of hell”) and the Jeremiad.

The Jeremiad is named for the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who seems never to have had anything nice to say about anybody. In the Jeremiad, the speaker bitterly laments the state of society and its morals, and its primary purpose is to bolster the enthusiasm and commitment of Protestants whose commitment might be flagging. And since Protestants of the day were not allowed to sing, drink, or show ankle, their commitment needed frequent bolstering.

The point being is that when the Protestant movement morphed into the socialist movement and then finally into the SJW movement, it dropped God, who was peripheral to their Perfection Project anyway. But they kept the Jeremiad, which is central.

The Protestant-cum-SJW chain of logic, never articulated but always active, goes something like this:

  • This world is imperfect. 
  • These imperfections must not be tolerated.
  • Correcting these imperfections requires passion and commitment.
  • Anything that inflames the passions and increases commitment is a good thing even, and sometimes especially, if it’s not true.

We see then that Les Misérables falls into this category as a proto-SJW work. So do Uncle Tom’s Cabin and several novels by Charles Dickens. Which isn’t to say that they are bad books, just that they grossly exaggerate the social conditions they describe in order to manipulate people.

In fact Uncle Tom’s Cabin was so motivational that many people list it as one of the primary causes of the American Civil War. What might have been resolved peacefully, instead cost millions of American lives, all because a fictionalized account, written by an abolitionist minister’s daughter, whipped emotionally naive Northerners into a blood frenzy.

This is true of SJWs now, as anyone who reads the mainstream media can attest. SJWs, as the linear cultural descendants of the Protestants, are committed to their version of what a perfect world is. The purpose of journalism (and media in general) is not to inform but to motivate. Information that motivates people in the proper direction is reported, and information that does not, is not.

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